Floating Petal: Canon 7D, Canon 100L-Macro made from 19 exposures
Creativity is all about having fun and showing your own personal vision with the photo subjects you choose. You don’t even have to leave home to use this liquid glycerin drop photo reflection technique. Just set up your own home studio and follow these 5 easy steps to making some eye-catching macro images.
Focus stacking is a technique that can be used to keep every detail of a subject reflected in a drop of glycerin in focus from front to back by taking multiple images and later merging them with an image editing program.
Your imagination – photo subjects
Remote Shutter Release
Love Injection: Canon 7D, Canon 100L-Macro made from 10 exposures
Step 1: Find Interesting Subjects
Put on your thinking cap and use your imagination. On what can you place the glycerin drop or drops and what can you use as a background or subject to create the reflection inside the drop? See if you can make a visual story or come up with a theme so the viewer will enjoy your final result.
Time Keeps Ticking, Ticking…: Canon 7D, Canon 100L-Macro made from 12 exposures
Step 2: Scene Arrangement & Setting up the Equipment
The scene must be void of any surrounding objects that are not intended to be reflected inside the drop, such as furniture, lamps, windows, etc. You may want to make a free-standing, 3-sided box to block out these sundry objects. Just be sure it is not reflected within the drop.
Set up your tripod. Attach the focusing rail to the tripod and attach your camera to the focusing rail.
Place the object on whatever you want and position it as needed. Now place the object used for the reflection beside the main object and be sure it also has a clean background. You may need to do a slight repositioning of the object used for reflection once the drop is placed on your main object.
Tip: Have your tripod and camera set in position as best you can before you place the drop of glycerin on the main object.
Flag of Israel: Canon 7D, Canon 100L-Macro made from 29 exposures
Carefully place the drop/s of glycerin on the tip of the main object using an eye dropper. If it falls down, just keep trying again and again.
Note: I’m using liquid glycerin because it’s more stable and makes nice, rounded drops.
Now you can readjust the position of the reflected object so it’s exactly where you want it inside the drop of glycerin.
Step 3: The Process
You’re going to take multiple macro images by moving the focusing rail forwards or backwards in minute increments, while at the same time keeping the focus the same – only the focus point will change as you go deeper and deeper into the reflection. Typically your aperture will be set within a range of f/8 to f/16. Use your shutter speed to determine the correct exposure.
You must start from the first forward focus point on the object in the reflection and work your way back until you’ve finished on the last focus point – usually between 10-30 photos will be made. Be sure you take the photos in order. This will insure that every possible part of the reflected object is in focus! (You can also do this in reverse: backwards to forwards).
Snow Globe: Canon 7D, Canon 100L-Macro made from 27 exposures
Try carefully not to jump too fast/deep or you will lose some focus details in some areas – you may be only moving the focusing rail 1/16th of an inch.
Be sure not to touch or change the focus with the focus ring on your lens. If you do so the objects perspective will change.
Don’t use “special” lights or your will have light spots reflecting in the image. Instead, use long exposures – slow shutter speeds.
A Drop of Color: Canon 7D, Canon 100L-Macro made from 25 exposures
Step 4: Edit Your Photos
After you have finished making the necessary number of images, use Photoshop’s Photomerge to blend all of your photos together (check the internet for other Focus-Stacking software programs). As with many photos, your may need to make some minor adjustment with the color levels or remove spots, etc. in order to get a nice clean final product.
Living in a Fish Bowl: Canon 7D, Canon 100L-Macro made from 22 exposures
Step 5: Think about your next unique macro dew drop reflection project 🙂
by Yuval Vaknin
All text & photos: © 2013 Yuval Vaknin. All rights reserved.