Canon 5D Mark iv
Sigma 35mm Art Series 1.8
Westcott FJ 400
Earlier, I posted a cool link to some high speed flash photography. I encouraged people to give it a try, and promised to do so myself. So, I‘m going to share what I discovered through the process. If your’re thinking this is a food photographer’s blog why would you possibly need high speed photography for food? Well, it might be a stretch but I am using fruit as my subject matter -- we’ll let it slide.
First off, I’ve always loved macro photography; insects, tiny flowers, pretty much anything that looks cool under magnification. I think I was drawn to the amazing detail. Similarly, you can achieve brilliant detail with an object in motion (a tad trickier with several moving parts).
Let me share with you one of the images from today. Disclaimer: this was my first go so be gentle.
Ok so it was super cool to try. I will say it can be a little tricky without an assistant, but its possible. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a fish tank handy so I had to settle for a tall beer glass. I put the glass on a tray with a towel, and it worked fine for catching spill. I set up one of my Westcott strobes with a small modifier at roughly a 45 degree angle, and positioned on the side slightly to the rear of my subject (which in this case, was the glass). Additionally, I set up a black cardboard mini V-fold To minimize ambient light. Then, I set my Canon 5D Mark iv on a tripod to align focus.
I had a little difficulty finding focus through the glass but eventually I was able to lock on with auto-focus — after this I switched my camera to Manual Focus (MF). This does two things: first, it speeds up the shutter so you are more likely to time the splash moment. Second, it ensures that I will hit my focus. You’d be amazed at how many times auto focus will catch a scratch on the glass or something in the background.
This was my setup:
So as you can see you can get some pretty cool results with a fairly basic setup. Now, in terms of timing...well that’s where it might take you some time. I basically took a few test shots (i’m dropping the strawberry with one hand, and the other is on the shutter. You may find (as I did) that your first few might not even have the strawberry in frame :) don’t be discouraged, you’ll get it. Below is a series so you can see slightly different settings, and edits:
If you should happen to give it a try please share them on my Twitter page, I’d love to see them!! Also, i’m here to answer any questions I can. Thanks for reading!
Free tip of the day: If you find you are stagnant in your craft, learn a new technique, compose differently than you normally would, if you shoot dark, then shoot light. My point is, our brains are built to devour new information, and go into autopilot when they feel there is nothing worth getting out of bed for — I run into this a lot, and it can be crushing to creativity. Mix it up, and you might be surprised by the effect it can have on a creative rut!