Water Drops for Santos Energy

Water Drops for Santos Energy

Several months ago I ran across a nerd-toy called the Time Machine. It is an external dedicated intervalometer and sensory input triggering device. In other words, it is a box which plugs into a camera and triggers a picture to be taken at set intervals and/or when a sensor (e.g. laser, motion, noise) is triggered. Seeing some of the possibilities on the Time Machine website my interest was immediately piqued. Then several weeks ago I ran across the work of Martin Waugh who uses a similar system to take pictures of splashes from water drops.

I loved the images so much that I bought a Time Machine and made my own water-drip setup. That attempt failed miserably, mainly because I tried to setup a water drip reservoir, so that drops would fall at regular intervals without intervention. For my second attempt I replaced the reservoir with a water dropper and got some decent results. Finally, I was able to setup a water dropper system that was sufficiently repeatable that I could focus on lighting and image design.

When using a water dropper to produce a single drop, water splashes are only a few millimeters across. This size creates two problems. First you need a macro lens that can focus REALLY close. Second, with a macro lens focused that closely the depth of field is often less than the width of a splash, which means precise focusing is critical. After all the effort required to perfect a water drip I wanted to make sure to capture the result in the highest practical quality. Therefore I used my Mamiya 645 Manual Focus camera with one of my favorite lenses, the Mamiya 120mm Macro. If you are so inclined, you can experiment with the numbers using an online depth of field calculator.

As it happened, just as I was perfecting the water-drop technique, my university received an invitation to submit images to a corporate client. The client had blue/white corporate colors and wanted generic images that showed energy and fit with the feel of their current website. Water drops seemed to fit the image request quite well. Shown below are the images I submitted to the client, which they accepted for a hefty sum. The return from this investment will cover the cost of a scuba diving trip around the Great Barrier Reef that I will be going on this coming week.

Use of my photos:
As a professional photographer my photographs are my life’s work.
In this case Santos Energy bought the rights to these images by paid contract, and are used here under the Portfolio Use terms of that contract. The images may not be reproduced in any form.
Leave a comment if you wish to discuss the creation of similar images

UPDATE: My submission to Santos Corporation was used on the front page of the annual Sustainability Report (an addendum to the financially-focused Annual Report). I was particularly pleased that they repeated the predominate color of the image throughout the report.

Further Details after the jump


Above: The final images were shot on film, but, being in college, I could not afford Polaroids to preview and fine tune. Therefore I took the viewfinder off of the Mamiya 645 Pro TL body and used a digital camera set on bulb mode to preview the focus, composition, and timing of the water drop as the Mamiya 645 body.


Above: A quick preview using a point and shoot digital camera.


Above: a shot showing the setup of the system. The Mamiya 645 Pro TTL body with 120mm Macro Lens, and old Flash unit.


Above: Two different frames considered during the shoot.