Elevating Wonder

I haven’t done many vertical water droplet images, so here’s my latest – strongly vertical, following the gap between two leaves of the same plant. These edges of this particular plant work extremely well for creating round droplets, and their close proximity makes for an interesting composition.

Handheld focus-stacked from 27 frames, this one was a bit of a challenge (aren’t they all?). I needed the flash to fall more heavily on the background and in the seam between the leaves, and provide a darker surface on the front of the leaves. Holding the flash in various positions, angles and distances from the subject, I finally arrived at the “look” I was after. It took about 15 minutes of experimenting with the light angle to find the best position.

During those 15 minutes, the water droplets began to evaporate. Pulling the flower away from the composition, I “refreshed” the leaves and quickly set up again for another shoot. Further adjustments to the magnification were needed to get as close as I could to the composition without cropping, and I was off to the races.

For photographs like this, just like with my snowflakes, I drastically overshoot. I’ll create hundreds of frames and combine only a fraction of that, because shooting these handheld means I have no assurance that every “focus slice” has been captured. A fun way to spend a few hours yesterday, both with the shooting and editing. These images are time-intensive!

And if you’re curious about the editing process, it’s nearly identical to the one described in my book Sky Crystals: //www.skycrystals.ca/

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