Thursday, July 1, 2010

Liquid Sculpture

Martin Waugh explains how he goes about making his amazing work: "I craft the liquid shapes by carefully controlling the physical properties and positions of drops. I use high-speed photography to capture the resulting figures."

Juggling Red and Blue


Fire Pool

Midsummer's Night

Big Wet One Red

Bead Chain

Mr. Waugh gave tips in Amateur Photographer magazine for people who want to give drop photography a try:

"There are two main issues: stopping the motion and timing when the image is captured. The classic means of stopping motion is to use a short-duration flash. Most modern “speedlite” type flashes allow for a manual setting of 1/64th power or so... Timing is a bit more complicated. The common method is to use an electronic timer circuit triggered by a photo-interrupter. Building one is a good hobby project (Make magazine has a kit, and has some plans). And there are a few retail units available ( and

One other issue is getting the correct focus...I solve this by positioning a dummy of some kind right where the drops land, and focus on it. Once the focus is right, the stand-in is removed and I’m ready for a splash. A macro focusing rail is still a handy tool have for fine tuning.

It was fascinating (and a bit humbling) for me to read about the work of A. M. Worthington (“A Study of Splashes”). He spent years exploring drops and splashes in the late 1800’s using nothing more than an open-air spark gap for light and a falling iron ball for timing."

A Discovery Time Warp video showing Martin Waugh filming (as opposed to taking stills of) drops of water.

1 comment:

Harry said...

These are magnificent!

And the level of difficulty in producing them is staggering.

Wonderfully imaginative, too. The image of the Earth in the drops in Bead Chain, for example.