12 Tips to Capture High-Speed Images of Colliding Water Drops with the Cognisys Water Drop Photography Kit
High-speed photography attracts the interest of many photographers, especially those who also enjoy the wonders of science because many scientific phenomena cannot be seen with the naked eye. One of these is the collision of water drops. Not only is the way nature acts and reacts interesting and revealing, but also images of colliding water drops can be photographic works of art.
Traditionally, you needed an expensive high-speed camera and a considerable amount of scientific and/or engineering know-how to create these images. That all changed when two guys, bored with designing electronics for the automotive/heavy-duty diesel industry, decided to start their own company and bring StopShot to the market. StopShot is an electronic timing system that is affordable and does most of the work for you.
This is particularly important for water drop collision images because these collisions only occur for approximately 4 to 5 thousandths of a second. You simply couldn’t trip your camera’s shutter fast enough to capture the perfect photo.
Cognisys has made it very easy with its Water Drop Photography Kit. The only equipment you need is a camera, flash unit and an extra tripod on which to mount the water valve and mini-beam sensor in the kit. Otherwise, the kit provides all the hardware and accessories. The only other equipment detail is that your flash unit must have a pc sync connector to interface with the StopShot device. For those flashes without such a connector, you’ll need a hot shoe adapter.
If you’re new to taking pictures of colliding water drops, then the guys at Cognisys recommend that your first experience should be in a dark room. To provide some ambient light, their trick is to place a small lamp with a 60-watt bulb under the table on which you set the kit equipment.
The Cognisys Water Drop Photograph Kit includes:
High-Precision water valve with matching nozzle.
Mini-Beam sensor and mounting hardware.
Tripod mountable bracket to hold the siphon and water valve.
Power supplies for both the StopShot module and water valve.
PC to RCA cable.
6-foot RCA cable.
Once you attach the water valve and mini-beam sensor to the extra tripod (as shown in the kit manual), connect the StopShot timing module to your camera and flash.
The module’s power cord is plugged into a standard AC electrical wall socket.
The mini-beam sensor is connected to the sensor terminal on the module.
The electronic water valve is connected to the Trigger #1 terminal on the module.
Your camera is connected to the Trigger #2 terminal on the module.
Your flash unit is connected to the Trigger #3 terminal on the module.
With all the equipment positioned and connected correctly, the StopShot module is then configured. The first step is to make sure the module is set for sequential operation, which simply means that each channel, as designated by the three triggers, must fire before the next one in the sequence. Then, each channel is individually configured according to the instructions in the kit manual.
It’s always a good idea to double-check all the connections and configurations.
The guys at Cognisys also recommend that you start by manually controlling your camera. Once you gain a bit of understanding of the process and produce good results, you can choose the StopShot module to operate your camera automatically. This option requires a camera-specific shutter release cable.
You can learn more about photographing colliding water drops with information on the Cognisys Web site at http://www.cognisys-inc.com/HowTo/water_drops.php?osCsid=2076266f7be31649f39e3eb541f59154.
The complete Cognisys Water Drop Photograph Kit is only $400, and can be purchased directly from the Cognisys Web site.
All the mounting hardware for this kit is made from flat black, anodized aluminum. The main bracket is 12" (305mm) long and has three tapped holes for a 1/4-20 tripod mount.
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Water drop photo © Jim Kramer
Cognisys Water Drop Photography Kit Photo © Cognisys Inc.