Liquid Splash Photography
There's no doubt about it. Throwing water around is as much fun now as it was when I was a kid! The main difference is that the reckless abandon of youth has subsided (almost) and instead of running around our neighbourhood like a water laden ninja, hell-bent on total saturation; my aqueous activities are now firmly confined to the grey box that is my studio and admittedly, transpire at a rather more leisurely pace. Liquid splash photography is an insane amount of fun and despite what the casual observer might think, it really doesn't require a huge amount of equipment. My shot above, of the eye, was done with just two speed lights, a Nikon SB 24 & an SB 26 which, can be picked up used on Ebay for between £25-£50 each; but pretty much any speed light that you can put in manual mode will work. In fact to freeze liquid the only logical choice for most people will be speed lights, studio strobes just don't have a short enough flash duration, unless your lucky enough to have a massive budget or you live in the US and can get hold of Einsteins (impossible to get at a reasonable price in the UK!). Incidentally if your interested in flash durations I found a great article by Andy Glock which is worth checking out.
Back to my splashy eye; it's a composite shot of course, the eye was shot on its own first using a single light, then the splashes were captured hitting the eye using one speed light bounced of a white background and the second direct from the front just to add some highlights on the liquid. It takes a bit of patience and time to get the splashes just right, it's really a bit of a numbers game, I think I took probably 70-80 shots in total to get the three used in the final shot.
Then comes the mopping up..............
..........before going in to Photoshop and using masks to bring it all together. I've heard it said that masking by hand can be a bit tedious but I have to confess I find it strangely relaxing and quite therapeutic and I'm adding it to my list of fun hobbies along with, watching paint dry and clothes shopping with my wife. Am I joking about the masking or not? You decide ;)
If your interested in liquid splash photography then I highly recommend checking out the work of Alex Koloskov and his YouTube channel as well as Photigy.com, both fantastic resources and full of free tutorials to get you started.
Cheers Darren :)