Photographing water in its many shapes, forms, and personalities
Snowflake: water in
Water photos? Uhmmm, doesn't that sound kinda dull? On the contrary: Photographing water is one of the coolest
types of macro photography...no pun intended, of course!
after all, changes shape and goes through different forms depending on
temperature. Light bounces around and inside water droplets and ice
With a little "out-of-the-box" thinking, a clever
photographer can add a host
of interesting photography subjects to his/her collection.
Water is all around us, and is essential for life. It can,
miraculously, inhabit four different states: liquid, solid (ice), as a
crystal (snow), and gas (water vapor, steam, or fog). On this
page, we'll discuss strategies for photographing water, and generate
some ideas for new approaches to water photos in macro mode.
Before we move on, here are the other pages in this Macro
Photography Subjects section:
Photographing water in its liquid form
Most water that we
see and feel is as a liquid. Water photos can feature water as the main
subject of the photograph, or it can play a supporting
role, adding sparkle to another primary macro photography
Water as the main character
droplets on a window. On the left, shallow depth of field, on the
right, greater depth of field reveals the landscape features outside
Water in a supporting role
|Water drop on a pine needle
|Air bubbles on a soda straw
Pictures of ice: photographing water as a solid
Frozen water photos, anyone? Seen up close in macro photography mode,
we see that ice is full of
imperfections. That's a good thing: they add visual interest and
sparkle. And as it melts, ice carves itself into fascinating patterns
that will never be seen again. No two pictures of ice are the same!
When making ice photos, I prefer natural lighting
or side light
brings out sparkle from bubbles and other
imperfections trapped within the ice.
|Ice patterns on a car window
|A melting icicle
Snowflake photos: photographing water as a crystal
The keys to making snowflake photos are
- Capturing intact and pristine snowflakes, and
- Preventing them from melting before they're finished
you live in an area without snow, you're probably out of luck in this
category. Those of us who put up with winter have to have some rewards,
and photographing snowflakes is one of them!
snowflake photos, you have to capture them as they fall from the sky.
Snowflakes gathered up from the ground won't be as pretty as the fresh
Here's my set-up for snowflake photography: Set up a macro camera on a
tripod in a protected outdoor
area during a snowfall. I capture snowflakes on a clear
cover, then clamp the plastic in front of the lens (you could also
place the plastic on a glass-topped table, if you have one).
Experiment with different light sources. The most interesting lighting
for snowflake photos is back-light
or, in this case, "underneath light". Try shining a flash light at the
snowflake at an angle. You could also place the light source right
behind the snowflake, shining directly into the lens. Make sure it's
not a very bright light (to prevent lens flare), and place it a few
feet away (to blur out any details in the light source).
In the examples below, the light source was behind the snowflakes, at
roughly a 45 degree angle.
snowflakes is a challenge, but no two snowflake photos will ever be the
How do you
approach water as a macro photography subject?
Have Some Cool Macro Water Photos?
Do you have some great Water Photography? Other macro photography where water plays a starring role? Share it!
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