Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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Cookie Splash photography, being a motion photography involving liquid splashing off the glass, seems a little tricky. Consider the photograph below:

enter image description here

From the photograph, How the splashes are created in the cup? How to escape the frame while creating the splash? What are various techniques to provoke the splash?

Also any other advise in these type of photography?

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Is there any reason to believe that the splash wasn't created by dropping a cookie into the coffee? – mattdm Aug 11 '12 at 13:19
Is "cookie splash photography" a thing? There are a lot of Flickr trends that pass me by, but I've never heard of this one! – Matt Grum Aug 11 '12 at 15:27
@MattGrum - Clearly you're getting old... ;) – John Cavan Aug 12 '12 at 2:22
One cant know for sure of course, but often in food type photography, other substances are substituted that look like the real thing, but are somehow more photogenic. – BBischof Aug 14 '12 at 5:36
up vote 11 down vote accepted

In this particular case, I'd probably tackle it with lots of cold coffee, a big roll of paper towels, and a very big box of those cookies. Couple that with some real patience, a partner or long cable release, very fast shutter speeds (given it is outdoors, it'll be the shutter that freezes the moment), and several exposures in sequence.

Putting those ingredients together, I would set up the cup and cookies as needed. Position the camera back a bit, on a tripod and focus. Drop the cookie and then hold down the shutter button on the cable release letting the camera take several shots in sequence. Ideally you'd have a camera that can do 6 or more frames a second, the more the better.

If you didn't get the shot you wanted, clean up, refill the cup, and repeat the sequence. Messy, but also fun. From there you can have a bunch of variants on the theme, such as berries into milk, milk drops into coffee, etc. I love splash photography, myself, it's fun to do.

Now, you could use laser or sound triggers, which takes a bit more setup (and cost), but probably gives you a better chance of getting a shot. I don't find that as much fun, oddly enough, I kind of prefer to have my finger on the shutter and be a part of that process.

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It is my understanding that the more experienced photographers in this area use sound triggers such as the Nero Trigger, TriggerTrap, or PhotoTrigger. They typically are just simple microcontrollers that can be triggered by a variety of different things, such as sound. They also allow you to setup a delay typically so you can capture the perfect moment that you wish.

As for the other pieces such as how/when to drop the item into the liquid - that is pretty easy if you have the microcontroller setup to take the image for you. Just drop it outside of frame and the camera/controller will do the rest for you.

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As John Cavan said, however I would substitute the cookie being dropped with a small stone, that way you dont waste them and get coffee full of bits.

I dont think you would get a splash that size, from biscuits the size of the ones in the photo either.

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Something heavy with a flat surface falling into the fluid will provide 'maximum splash' as opposed to something more aerodynamic like a rounded stone – user9817 Aug 13 '12 at 11:45

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