The first things you’re probably wondering is, “What exactly is a water wig?” To best answer that question, ask photographer Tim Tadder about his latest high-speed photography project. Tadder’s images are based on a simple idea, yet a very technically challenging process. His goal is to photograph his subjects as a water balloon bursts on top of their head, making it look like a kind of abstract hairdoo. The technical hurdles Tadder faces are many, but when done correctly, his results are stunning:
Tadder certainly creates some unique and incredible images, but it’s not all easy. Timing is crucial to Tadder’s photography. Each image is lit solely with high-speed strobes. This means that the studio has to be completely dark when the shot takes place. The flashes are triggered by a microphone that pick up the pop of the balloon as it begins to burst. The balloons are typically popped by a thumbtack or sometimes simply dropping them on the model’s head. Needless to say, all of this must go perfectly in order to get a suitable shot.
However, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the flash doesn’t go off. Sometimes the water balloon pops before it ever gets to the model. But when everything comes together, the resulting images are beautiful. Persistence is critical to achieve great results in a project as complex as this.
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