Normally my interests are Wildlife, Landscape and Night Cityscapes. This year I decided I wanted a winter project and my daughter had done some photo’s for school using an old fish tank so I decided to give it a go.
My set up for this is two speedlites on lighting stands that are remotely triggered. I use a cheap Yongnuo flashes and triggers for this that can be purchased quite cheaply from Amazon, for around £100 for the set.
I normally use a macro lens (Sigma 105 f2.8) for these shots, but to be honest you can do it with an 18-55mm kit lens so no special lens is required. I use the following setting F/16 ISO 200 1/160 sec shutter speed. This means the object will be sharp throughout, also I shoot in RAW. I place one flash either side of the fish tank and a black backdrop behind the fish tank. Before I fill the tank, I place an object in the tank (normally another lens) and use this to focus.
Once I have it in focus I then switch the lens to manual focus and don’t touch it again unless I decide to move the camera. The tank is filled with warm water to stop condensation. As I drop the object into the water I use the remote trigger to fire the shutter and trigger the flashes. You never get it right first time, it will take a few attempts to get your timing right.
Once you have your shots its over to Lightroom. At first your shots might look bad as the Speedlite will pick up every imperfection and mark on the glass.
First I normally increase the contrast a little and sometimes use the dehaze option in Lightroom 6 and then I select the Adjustment brush. I slide exposure and blacks all the way to the left so anywhere I paint with the brush will be completely under exposed. With a large brush I do all the larger areas.
By shrinking the brush and zooming in I work around the edges of the object and the splash, cleaning up any marks until you end up with the finished product.
Just over two years ago I got my first Nikon DSLR. I had done some very basic film photography when I was a teenager but had not picked up a SLR for over 25 years. As my children grew up and I found I had more time on my hands I decided to give photography another go. Everything I knew when I was a teenager was a distant memory and I had to learn it all from scratch. The last 2 years have been a wonderful journey of discovered success and failure all mixed up with the urge to learn more. I now run a Thames Valley UK based Photography group whose main focus is meeting other photographers and encouraging each other to try new things as well as having fun with our hobby.
If you live in the Thames valley area within the UK and would like to find out more about our photography group you can find us here.