Bull's eye

I want to capture some more high speed photographs of exploding water balloons. They’re relatively simple to make and good fun. And the way something simple and everyday like water turns into a piece of art fascinates me.

These shots are from last year and as low-tech as they come. The baloons were hanging from the clothes line in the garden, the flash was covered in a transparent plastic bag (electronics and water = bad idea), and then placed on a stand at 9 o’clock seen from the camera. With the setup complete, I convinced the wife to help me by throwing a dart at the water balloon. I would count one, two, three, throw, and she would… errr…. throw. Six balloons gave  two useable pictures which was a lot better than I had expected, and to actually capture the dart as it was going into the balloon as here was just pure luck.

Terminator VIII

The black background was made simply by chosing an aperture and shutter time that didn’t allow the ambient light to record at all. So only the flash-illuminated water ball is visible.

In the mean time, I’ve bought a fancy electronics controller that can help to fire a flash at just the right moment. The controller came with the ability to trigger based on a light-beam being broken. I want to get the accessory that allows it to also trigger based on sound (such as a balloon popping) and then get back to capturing water.

As well as a chance to have fun playing with water, I also find that these kinds of shots are a good way to practise pre-visualisation. The time spent planning how to set the shot up and trying to think it through in detail is almost as much fun as the photoshoot itself!