How to do High Speed Photography with Water

Have you ever wanted to stop time? Or perhaps record a mischievous deed right at the moment of impact? The following video from Jay P. Morgan will show you how:

Stop action photography (as opposed to stop motion photography in movie-making) is the art of capturing a moment of action in time and space in your photo. In particular, the term is used for freezing moments of action that are normally too fast for the eye to see. For example, capturing debris as it expands out from an explosion, or breaking glass. In this case we’re capturing the moment water hits the model’s face (just a little sadistic?).

Miops Trigger Frozen Splash

Morgan’s setup requires a few pieces of specific gear, including strobes that can fire in a short duration, a laser pointer, and a MIOPS Smart Trigger set to laser mode. The premise is that the water will hit the laser, interrupt its beam, and trigger the Miops, which in turn triggers the PocketWizard Trigger that causes the strobes to fire. (Each strobe has a pocket wizard on it.) His camera is on ‘bulb mode’ and he’s using a TC80N3 Trigger to control the shutter. (Bulb mode allows the camera to keep taking the picture as long as the shutter’s open.) It’s the flash that stops the water, not the shutter. The shorter the flash duration, the more it’s going to freeze the motion of the water

Gear List

Splash action lighting set-up

Lighting Setup

using a trigger for stop action photography

While the MIOPS trigger and Dynalites might seem a bit pricey, they’re well worth the investment if you’re looking to get some great stop action shots in the studio. There’s a whole range of options and effects available on the Miops, and you’ve got to admit, using a laser as the trigger is just downright cool.

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