Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Last month I decided to try my hand at making one of those neat shots of dye droplets diffusing into water. I set up a wine glass of water in front of a piece of printer paper and used a straw to drop small quantities of blue curacao into it. It didn't really work out, though--I couldn't get the timing quite right, plus the lighting just didn't look good. After about forty-five minutes, six or seven changes of water, and two shots' worth of curacao, I gave up. But I snuck in this little setup shot before I cleaned up.

Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 18-55mm DX lens, in manual exposure mode. Focal length 18mm, aperture f/16, shutter 1/125 sec, ISO 200. Nikon SB-400 flash at camera left, set to EV -1. Post-processing in Aperture 3: bumped vibrancy, added edge sharpening, and used a curve to darken shadows, pull in highlights, and add contrast.

Thoughts for improvement: Technically, this is not a very good photo. There's no particular thought behind the arrangement of the elements, the countertop is too busy and the wrong color to make the elements (and splashed liqueur) stand out, and that little blue lens cloth in the background is completely out of place. If I were going to do this on purpose, I would definitely have preferred to have a white or light-gray surface, and I would have arranged the wine glass, shot glass, and paper to have a more evenly triangular arrangement across the frame. The lighting is kind of cool, though.



Honestly, I like the random arrangement and the subtle splashes. If it were more composed, it wouldn't be as good or a spontaneous and it would lose something with that.

Mike Sakasegawa:

There's definitely something to it. I mean, I was struck by it enough to want to post it. I'm just saying, this isn't one that I'd ever be able to sell prints of or put in a portfolio.