I know Corrie White for about 2 years, and during that time she continues to be an authority and an inspiration on everything related to water drop photography. She has written numerous guides for DIYP (including one of our most viewed posts ever: The Comprehensive Water Drop Photography Guide) and has a thriving Flickr stream of drops of all kinds. This is why I was excited when she put a book together – The Ultimate Guide to Water Drop Photography.
A few weeks back Corrie asked me to read a book she was putting together about water drop photography, and I thought that it was a great opportunity for anyone who likes this kind of imagery to learn a bit more about it.
Before I go into an in depth review, here are my two big takeaways from the book:
- Corrie makes it look easy, like anyone can do it. She breaks everything up in almost a fool proof way, although there is a lot of tech involved.
- Corrie’s approach is semi-artistic-semi-scientific as you would probably expect form a water drop tutorial book. Each factor is measured and compared, so if you are not getting this book for the beautiful photography or for the in depth tutorials, you may want to get it to satisfy your scientific curiosity.
Full review after the jump.
And now, we dig in deeper, here is a quick overview of the book laid out flat. Of course you can’t really read anything like this but it is a great way to get the feel of the book.
Covering The Basics
The book has 3 Chapters covering the very basics: Equipment, Focusing Aids and Liquids & Additives.
According to Corrie it takes some gear to shoot drops, but not a lot of gear and if you’ve been shooting for a while, chances are you already have whatever it takes, namely – a camera capable of long exposures, a strobe (or more) and a tripod.
If you want to get fancy with electronics, triggers, gates and valves, Corrie covers using the time machine and drip kit, but she also provides two fully manual methods that do not require any electronics at all and can be rigged up with a trip to the hardware store and a free afternoon.
Lighting is crucial for this kind of photography. If you recall, those kind of shots are done in darkness with the only light coming from the strobe for a brief moment to freeze the action. This is covered in a long and thorough Lighting chapter. In this chapter Corrie covers motion blur (either from ambient or from having too much strobe power), creative backdrops, gels, and how to deal with milk which is white and harder to shoot.
Understanding The Flow
There are two great chapters explaining the mechanics of water drops in the book: one covers the route a drop takes from beginning to end and one covers the stages that form a splash. This is exactly the scientific approach I was talking about as Corrie breaks down each step of the process and gives examples with varying parameter (time shifts between multiple drops, tests on splash height and other interesting examples). Most will give you the understanding needed for achieving a specific look you want to shoot, but some are only there to satisfy your curiosity, like how high can you make a splash go.
Getting On The Creative Side
The book is filled with wonderful examples and set-ups, Including double and triple drop splashes, splashes in a soap bubble, bokeh immersed splashes and a few others. Here are some of the photographs that Corrie wonderfully breaks up and explains.
The imagery on the book can serve as for educational purpose (which they do), but also on an inspiration / motivation level. It got me to hook up my kit and play around (reviews on that gear soon).
Finally here are the dry (pun completely intended) techy details on the book:
The Ultimate Guide to Water Drop Photography by Corrie White, 111 pages, PDF format.
The book sells for $20 and worth every penny. It is a great primer if you are just starting out on water drop photography and has a few interesting tricks if you are looking for something more advanced.
Good chance you will stop reading and go shooting after spending some time with the book, so it gets a 95/100 score here in DIYP. you can get the book here.