|A short flash duration is required to |
freeze the drops
|Lime juice is so sticky!|
One important element is studio flash equipment that has a short flash duration. Flash duration is the amount of time it takes from when the flash first fires to when the light completely dies away. This is important because a long flash duration will cause the liquid droplets to be blurred and indistinct in the photograph, but a short flash duration will make them sharp and frozen in mid-air.
While older style flash generators have a flash of 1/300 to 1/600 of a second, some of the more expensive new flash systems such as ProFoto have generators that have flash durations as low as 1/8500 of a second or shorter.
The second piece of equipment required is a laser or sound trigger, linked to a delay device. The device I used for these photographs can be seen at http://www.kapturegroup.com/main_htmls/toolbox.html . A laser is placed on a light stand, and a laser receiver is placed on a second stand across the table from it. When something passes through the laser beam, the light is interrupted, and a signal is sent to the receiving device. This device sends a signal to a delay timer, which triggers the flash at the specified delay.
The process is a real mess, but lots of fun! We put a tarp and several children's inflatable swimming pools on the studio floor to catch most of the mess. We put a piece of clear Plexiglas on our background, and then poured margarita mix or a martini into a glass. We lined up the laser beam directly over the glass, then turned out all the lights in the studio. The camera was on a tripod, and the shutter set for 4 seconds. I would count to three, trip the camera shutter, and then my assistant would throw an olive or slice of lime into the cocktail, breaking the beam of light and triggering the flash after a delay of a few milliseconds. We captured some amazing splashes, and it was like looking at a fireworks display as we viewed them on the computer screen.
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