Interesting Photo of the Day: Water Droplet Umbrella Effect

An endless fascination among many photographers is the pursuit of that elusive perfect water droplet shot. With liquids being so fickle and a drop being so small, it’s a difficult image to capture, but one that, when done right, can be packed so full of simple, natural elegance. Today’s interesting photo of the day is actually the product of TWO water droplets – one, which was dropped first, hit the pool’s surface and jumped upwards where it collided with a second, perfectly timed drop. This interception broke the surface tension and created a billowing umbrella shape:

water drop photography

Two drops of water collide to create this mushroom-like shape. (Click to view full size, imgur)

The photographer behind this image shared widely through imgur is believed to be Heinz Maier. The image appears to be completely natural, unmanipulated by any photo editing program. When making a picture such as this, the timing of the droplets is definitely the trickiest part. The colouring, reflections, and background are actually quite straightforward. If you’d like to try it yourself, all you’ll need is a wide bowl full of water, a pipette (or a thick, watertight plastic bag), a strong light, and some coloured gels.

  1. Set up the bowl on a sturdy table, with a blank wall behind it. If the bowl is coloured, the hue will reflect throughout the water.
  2. Place your light to one side of the bowl and cover it with a coloured gel. The water will refract the tones of the objects which surround it. You can use more than one light, as well as objects such as plants and fabric. This image appears to use two lights – one on the right covered with a cyan gel, and one on the left, covered in magenta.
  3. Fill the pipette with water, and drip it into the bowl, taking an exposure with every drop. It will take some practice to get the timing right. Alternatively, you could fill that thick plastic bag with water and suspend it over the bowl, poking it with a needle to let it drip slowly while you focus on making your exposures.

Experiment with moving the lights and objects, to see how the effect changes. Remember that this method is not new, so kick your imagination into gear in order to make that final shot stand out, and make it yours.

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5 responses to “Interesting Photo of the Day: Water Droplet Umbrella Effect”

  1. Bill says:

    Having spent 2 days doing water drops with Corrie I am 99.9% sure this is her image. She has an excellent ebook out that explains just about everything to get images like this. It is only $20 and is at

  2. Byrnsy says:

    You may want to check out Markus Reugels’ gallery of spectacular work

  3. Avola says:

    Superb shot. The author deserves a prize for it.

  4. Corrie says:

    Thank you very much for the mention. I have done a lot of water drops that look like this, however, the credit must go to Heinz Maier, whose work is brilliant. Heinz doesn’t do water drops any longer, but his work will always be admired.

  5. Tracy says:

    You can actually see his name in the stem of the drop. Nice shot!!

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