Photography Perspectives: The Weird, Wonderful World of Droplets with Corrie White

From the first moment we saw Corrie White’s incredible, alien macro images we were floored. A lot goes on under our very noses, including the strange and beautiful shapes created by droplets of water. Corrie taught herself how to photograph these teeny, fleeting sculptures and found so much success, she’s written an eBook teaching others how to do the same. We asked her a few behind-the-scenes questions about her experience in a small, small world, and she’s giving away a copy of her eBook below. Keep reading to see how to enter!

Photos by Liquid Drop Art

What inspired you to start capturing liquid drops? Were you a photographer before trying drop photography?

Years ago, I stumbled upon the Liquid Sculptures of Martin Waugh. I was fascinated with them and kept going back to marvel at his beautiful works. In early 2009, I had some free time and decided to give these a try for myself. I found I had a knack for doing these manually and the rest is history. I have always had a love for macro photography and started on this with a Sony DSC-H1 point and shoot camera many years ago. I found this very limiting and got an entry level DSLR. In 2008, I acquired a Canon EF f2.8 100mm macro lens, which was essential for my water drop photography. So basically, I was more of a “snap-shot” type of photographer before the water drops.

How much experience did you have with strobes before you started photographing droplets?

I had never used any external flashes before I did water drop photography. Indeed, for the first half year I used my camera pop-up flash for my water drops. I knew nothing about Flash Exposure Compensation and soon learned why I was getting those cool, but annoying light trails on my drops ;)

How exciting was it to discover The Three Drop Splash – a new drop structure? Will it be
named in your honour?

I was so ecstatic when I saw the Three Drop Splash appear on my little screen. I did a little dance! Something entirely new which had never been done before. I was really very excited. Will it be named in my honour? I can’t say, but I really don’t think so. Martin Waugh has the distinction of taking water drops to a new level with his two drop collisions. I personally think anything after this is after-the-fact and secondary. What you see currently in the water drop world are extensions of his creations. I’m just happy to have discovered some new shapes in a world where it’s hard to come up with something totally unique.

What type of publications and sites tend to purchase your work?

The interest in my water drop art is very diverse, anywhere from photography magazines to children’s magazines. There is a lot of interest from the science world, especially in the field of Fluid Dynamics. One of the most memorable compliments came from a Professor at MIT who said they brought a tear of joy to his eye and shared the work with his students.

Have you ever been commissioned to shoot a specific drop image?

Not for any monetary value. I have been asked to do certain abstract images, but they are very difficult, especially when I need equipment I don’t have available to me. Right now I am trying to find time to create an Amanita mushroom which will be a difficult, but fun project. I much prefer to work in an uncontrolled atmosphere with colours and shapes that I like.

What kind of droplet images are on the horizon for you to try? Any tantalizing new equipment or materials you want to experiment with?

I really don’t know what the future holds for me with respect to my water drops. Is there more undiscovered territory with them? I will certainly see what’s possible and test the limits. I may try multiple valves, but that is becoming commonplace and I prefer to find the unique. The possibilities are endless and I would like to find more surprises in the liquids.

Say someone had only $200 to invest into trying this kind of photography. How would you
recommend they do it?

I always suggest that before people go out and spend lots of money on electronics, to first try
out a manual set-up to see if you like this type of photography. You only need to spend a small amount of cash on a flow regulator from an aquarium supply store, or an IV drip contraption, to start out. Use your DSLR with manual controls, a regular lens with zoom, your pop-up flash, and see if this is what you want before you take it to the next level. It’s a great hobby, especially in the cold winter months. Be careful, though – you can get hooked!

Buying a macro lens is a good investment if you like macro photography in general. Buying an electronic timing device can be useful for much more than water drop photography. I am familiar only with Mumford’s Time Machine, but it will do time lapse photography, ballistics, and many other types of photography. I would like very much to do some time lapse experiments in the near future.

What have you learned from droplet photography?

I have learned that within each of us is a creative spirit. I have found mine in liquid art photography. It is an exhilarating, relaxing and very rewarding experience. I find a great satisfaction that so many people have been inspired by my water drop work and the techniques I use. They have expressed gratitude that I have shared my experiences with them and although some say I should keep some of my methods secret, I find the opposite to be a richer experience. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” rings true for me and I am honoured to see others experimenting with my methods.

Win the Ultimate Guide to Water Drop Photography eBook!

Corrie has generously donated a copy of her eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Water Drop Photography, to one lucky person. In it you learn step by step what you need to take arresting droplet images, as well as basic flash and camera principles to help you stop motion – essential for any photographer who is looking to freeze a moment in time.

To enter, simply post a comment below with a winning caption for this image:

What does this photo say to you? Post your entries below and we’ll announce a winner in this space on April 29th, 2013.

Get creative, get learning, and set your curiosity free!

UPDATE: The winner has been chosen! Congrats to Holly Gordon with the caption “Bobble Head Water Drop.” We’ll be in touch with Holly with the prize, and thanks to everyone who entered!

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I'm a writer based in San Francisco who loves travel, rangefinders, medium format film photography, and everything in-between.

35 thoughts on “Photography Perspectives: The Weird, Wonderful World of Droplets with Corrie White”

  1. As ironic as it sounds, I don’t think there’s been a greater or more important learning experience for me as a sports shooter than what I learned doing water/milk drop photography.

  2. This photo is beautiful. I didn’t know you could do that with water drops. It tells me there is a whole world of photography out there that I didn’t know existed! I would love to win Win the Ultimate Guide to Water Drop Photography eBook and take my first water drop photo.

  3. Looks like B.O.B. (Monsters vs. Aliens) has a new girlfriend, and she’s wearing a tiny hat.

  4. Fantastic shots. I’ll go with The Mad Hatter. In deference to Yellow Submarine, You Don’t Look Bluish!

  5. I see Life, rising from the sea and finding its way to where we each are today, and then beyond to the unknown.

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