Water Drops: High Speed Sync

I spent my hour at the studio this Sunday working on high speed flash sync on the water drop experiment.  I meant to revisit this test with water and flashes, and woke up motivated to try it.

My camera can sync with a flash at 1/250 second. My quest was to see if the flash would sync at speeds faster than 1/250. I set the camera at various speeds from 1/200 to 1/2000 and the results were very similar on the drops – the flash itself stops the motion well. But at least I know how to set HSS mode now, which will be valuable outside this summer!

This time around I captured some interesting images. Of the 270 images I captured, here are the 10 or 15 best. I can say that high speed sync is not required, but a close focus on the splash spot is mandatory. For most of these shots, I had a flash at 90 degrees left, providing strong side light. I used the “live view” magnification and manual focus on a tripod to lock in a tight focus on the point of drop impact, and varied the f-stop to control depth of field.

What I learned today:

  • Prefocus on an item close to the splash zone to get good focus
  • Side flash will nicely highlight the splash
  • Shallow dish will create more dramatic vertical drops
  • A close up adapter would be needed to isolate the water, but it may get the lens to close and it would be splashed
  • Green dish causes green photos. Need neutral dish and colorful background.


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