Bob Belas Photography Blog

Descending Drops No.1

Descending Drops Trio No1, color

Descending Drops No.1

We had a couple of cloudy, rainy, cold days recent, a perfect occasion to get into my "studio" (aka my basement) to experiment. I have been interested in capturing paint drops as they descend through a column of water for quite some time. There images can be extraordinarily beautiful and mesmerizing.

My setup was quite simple. I used a large spectrophotometer cuvette, ca. 1.5 x 3 x0 .75 inches, that I picked up years ago as the water column. This was filled with pure water at ambient temperature, as I didn't want any turbulence caused by a difference in water and room temperature, and wanted to avoid any dissolved gases that could produce air bubbles that cling to the sides of the cuvette. I dilute the acrylic paint approx. 1 to 4, paint to water, and applied 3 to 6 ul droplets just under the surface, letting the droplets fall naturally. They took ~40 seconds to reach the bottom. A single speedlight with grid was placed to the right of the cuvette as the souce of light. A 100mm macro lens with two extension tubes was focused on the center of the cuvette.

I captured well over 200 photos and processed six in Lightroom and Photoshop. I spent the most time removing spots caused by dust and debris floating in the water and on the side of the glass, and in future will pay more attention to beign more meticulous with cleaning ahead of image capture. Lesson learned.

Here are the first three photos. The second set will be posted in a subsequent blog.

I think they turned out rather well, and I hope you agree. Please feel free to leave your opinions and thoughts about these photographs. Your questions are also welcomed.

Best wishes,


Hi! I'm a retired university professor,  an avid photographer, musician, orchid grower, and a pretty good fisherman.

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