Drip, Drip, Drip

Drip, Drip, Drip
Drip, Drip, Drip
CameraSony DSC-F828
Exposure Modeauto
Focal Length7.1mm
Exposure1/800 sec.
ISO Speed64
As most of you will know the last week or so has seen rather cold weather in the UK. As well as seeing lots and lots and lots of snow our house seems to provide the ideal environment for growing icicles. We have had quite a lot of icicles hanging from the guttering, some around five feet in length. Most of the icicles have, however, grown in places not ideal to photography.

When I went into my study on Monday though I found that an icicle had grown right outside my study window. It wasn't the prettiest icicle but it was dripping quite regularly and an idea for a photo formed in my mind. I wanted to catch a perfectly spherical drop of water falling from the bottom of the icicle. The only question; could I manage to persuade my camera into catching the photo I wanted?

Related to the autobracketing option, that featured in last week's post, my camera also has a burst mode. When set to burst mode a single press (and hold) of the shutter button results in 7 photos with identical settings being taken in quick succession. According to the manual there is about 0.38 of second between successive photos captured in this way. My hope was that given how quick the icicle was dripping combined with the burst mode would mean that I wouldn't have to rely entirely on my reaction times to capture a drip before it fell too far. Of course to capture a falling water droplet I'd also need a fairly fast exposure time. So I set the camera to manual and started playing with shutter speeds and the burst mode. I quickly realised that to get the effect I was after I'd have to get really close to the icicle and use the macro mode on the camera. Even so, after about 10 minutes and 64 photos I gave up as I'd got rather cold and disheartened. About 20 minutes and a cup of coffee later I decided to try again and took a further 71 photos

Just The DripWhen I sorted through this second batch I was amazed to discover that I'd captured the image I was after on the first attempt -- I'd even forgotten to turn on the burst mode! What I really like about this photo is the way in which only the icicle and drop are in focus yet you can still see the garden as the drop acts as a lens, giving a detailed, albeit, upside down view of the back of the garden (see the blown up section in the image just to the left).

The original photo was okay but I did do a little cleaning up using Paint Shop Pro. Firstly as I hadn't held the camera perfectly straight I corrected the image so that the drop was falling vertically downwards. I then corrected the white balance and adjusted the colours slightly to remove the blue tint from the image (for the curious I used the colour balance dialog to adjust the white balance and then the smart photo fix with the suggested settings to correct the colours). The final step was a quick noise removal to soften the background a little. It may have taken about 40 minutes and 134 wasted photos but I'm pretty happy with the result.


Scriptor Senex said...

Nice one, Mark. The strange thing is that despite all the snow and thick ice (3 inches in the ponds) we've had very few icicles.

GB said...

Amazing. And superb.

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