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Anatomy Of A Water Drop - The Fall

By CoreyEacret
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Anatomy Of A Water Drop - The Fall

drop or droplet is a small column of liquid, bounded completely or almost completely by free surfaces. A drop may form when liquid accumulates at the lower end of a tube or other surface boundary, producing a hanging drop called a pendant drop. Drops may also be formed by the condensation of a vapor or by atomization of a larger mass of liquid. ~ Wikipedia

I am captivated by the world of the small, and the world of the fast; things that are either too small for us to see, or look completely different up close, and things that happen so fast they normally go unnoticed by our eyes. Water drops combine both of these into one beautiful image, the intricate way the water drop interacts with whatever surface it falls on, and the tiny little details present in the scene. There is a reason I myself have taken tons of these types of photos, and many others have as well.

But even having seen this fast and tiny world myself in my images, and tons of other photos and slow motion videos online, I myself didn't realize the amazing dance that occurs as one little drop of water collides with another body of water. The physics involved are utterly breathtaking, and show a nature to our world that we don't normally see. Each step of the dance is a beautiful moment that has been seen in tons of photos in the past, but with some luck and a bit of set up, I have captured a nice little series of water drops that show each individual step of the dance, each motion and movement, as one little sphere of water joins with a larger body.

Welcome to Anatomy of a Water Drop, and I hope you enjoy each image over the next four days, as much as I have in taking and editing them. And as an added little bonus, once all 4 images are up, I will also put up a wallpaper pack, containing my normal amount of wallpaper sizes of each of the four photos for you to use on your desktop. As each image is posted, the old ones will be updated with descriptions from the new ones, and links to each one in the series.

The Fall

The genesis of the whole event, the fall; as water falls from one place to the next, gravity giving it the speed it needs, air pushing back slowing its decent. While the rest of the series shows single drops interacting with the water surface, this one shows a bit of chaos that can occur when many drops fall at one time. We see bits and pieces of what is to come, along with the individual drops heading towards the surface. Not only is this the genesis of the future images, but also of the idea for the series.

The Splash

As the drop comes into contact with the surface of the water, things start off almost how we think they would; the water drop forms a splash as a result of its impact. This seems fairly normal, one falling body with some force hits the surface of the water, even if its water also it should create a splash. But this is where we usually think things are close to an end; after the splash we expect a bit more commotion on the surface because of the disturbance, but we view the water as having merged, and that being that. But in truth only half of the drop has merged with the main body of water, the other half is about get moving, in the next photo of the series.

The Crescendo

This phase is one I myself, and probably millions of others have photographed, it is such a beautiful and captivating part that it even has a scientific name: The Back-Jet. This is a column of water that shoots up right after the splash, with a spherical portion on top. That sphere? That is the water drop itself. As stated in "The Splash", only half of the drop merges, the other half bounce back up as part of the back-jet. This phenomenon is so captivating and from a physics standpoint, interesting, that research labs around the world have used high speed cameras to study this, and all phases of a water drop.

The Finale

After the fast moving and beautiful back-jet, things don't settle back into our little picture of reality, instead the water drop goes through more of these bounce back moves just like the back-jet we see in the last photo, each time losing half its mass, until so little is left that it fully merges with the body of water. This is called the coalescence cascade; a phrase almost as beautiful as the show it puts on. This can happen multiple times, with the drop slowly shrinking with each. Capturing with a camera that final tiny little drop is such a challenge, that this is the first and only time I have ever pulled it off. The whole event has taken a fraction of a second, and to our eyes was over as quickly as it started, but it goes to show, the world slowed down, is a strange world indeed.

Enjoy :D

Want an amazing wallpaper of this, and the other 3 photos in the series? Check out the "Anatomy Of A Water Drop" Wallpaper Pack, just click the thumb below, or this link: [link]
Image size
900x600px 519.46 KB
Shutter Speed
1/320 second
Focal Length
47 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Nov 30, 2012, 4:20:14 AM
Sensor Size
anonymous's avatar
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torivarn's avatar
:star::star::star::star: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Impact


You wanted me to write you a critique for this one. As I tell everone, don't mind the star-ratings, they aren't informative.

As you know it takes hundreds of shots to get that one watersplash-shot.
In the end this is all a numbers game, so the most important factors would be focus, focus and shutterspeed.
You're focus is decent, but not entirely spot on. These shots require extreme attention to details to make it in a world flooding with drops.
I like the overall framing here, it would be very good hadn't it been for the 2 drops at the bottom centre (the blurred ones), they are blocking the action.

Personally I like the drama in the dark colors, but I think they are just a little bit to dark, I would consider upping the overall exposure by 0,5ish.
There is some noise in the image, I would adjust this slightly, also adding some sharpness to the action would be nice.

The things I mention are details, but I think you can agree on that it's the little things that make or break and image in the end.

I hope this was helpful <img src="…" width="15" height="15" alt=":)" title=":) (Smile)"/> Have a nice weekend <img src="…" width="15" height="15" alt=":)" title=":) (Smile)"/>
Danman87's avatar
Breathtaking picture! Really love the composition, focus and overall color! :)
The-New-Mafia's avatar
Love your work! We are producing a video entitled "A Time to Heal" and would love permission to include some of your pieces."The Anatomy of A Water Drop" would look AMAZING! We will have both an English version and a Spanish version. Full credit on the video of course and we have already completed a half dozen successful projects with amazing artists like yourself : )
Thank you so much for your consideration.
Nat-photography's avatar
I really love this photograph!
CoreyEacret's avatar
Thank you very much :)
awesome43's avatar
This a very special water drop. I love how you did this and the colors are stunning. Fantastic.
CoreyEacret's avatar
awesome43's avatar
You are welcome.
Xilarae's avatar
Very awesome shot. I love the way it's lit.
CoreyEacret's avatar
Thank you :) Can't wait to try these with my new flash ;)
CarmineDevian's avatar
I love rain, raindrops and everything that has to do with that. And this picture has a perfect effect between back- and foregroundcolours, very very nice
CarmineDevian's avatar
maXXie15's avatar
The water drop shots are just amazing! o:
I wish I could do that, too :)
Maybe someday... :)
CoreyEacret's avatar
They are not that hard, I promise. If you need help/advice, simply ask :) I was doing them back with a point and shoot when I was still very new ;)
maXXie15's avatar
Okay. I think that i don't have the equipment to do this ;)
Thank you :)
CoreyEacret's avatar
No, you do. There is no special equipment, no magical device, no amazing little piece of expensive tech. I used my fairly old DSLR, the Canon Digital Rebel XTi, a seriously old Sunpak 266D flash (fairly certain its older than me). And that is it. No really, just those two items. And I've even pulled it off using an on camera flash as well.

It just takes the will to do it, a bit of water, and something to drop it into another thing of water, or onto a nice flat surface. I use a disposable dixie cup, with a simple tiny hold punched in the bottom.

The photo you are commenting on right now, was taken with a silver baking dish, a random peice of reflective blue cardboard for the background, an old tripod and monopod duct taped together to hold the dixie cup with hole in its bottom, my XTi, the old flash on top of said camera, and a diffuser made out of wax paper to soften the shadows.

Thats. It. No special timer, no amazing auto trigger, no remote flash, nothing.
maXXie15's avatar
Does not sound to be as hard as I first thought :D
I'll try it sometime. :)
Thank you very much for the information and the effort! :glomp:
CoreyEacret's avatar
I had an old guide on shooting water drops with either a DSLR or point and shoot, but plan on redoing it here soon as a series of videos, so watch out for that ;) I promise its quite easy no matter what camera gear you have.
maXXie15's avatar
Okay, I'll do. :)
Thanks! :glomp:
Rozenkraft's avatar
Nice photo but oh my god so much description :/
CoreyEacret's avatar
Lol I agree, but I though it appropriate for what I was doing at the time :P
anonymous's avatar
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