In Coleridge’s epic poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, one verse goes…
- “Water, water, everywhere,
- And all the boards did shrink;
- Water, water, everywhere,
- Nor any drop to drink.”
Well, there is water everywhere, and it’s a great source for creative photography. It can be still, moving slowly, moving rapidly, or frozen solid. It can be creative or destructive, and it’s effect on light is fantastic.
This image is my favourite from a series I took of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. There had been a huge rain shower, and it was just clearing away. The reflection of the dead tree in the newly-formed puddle was broken up by the ripples from the raindrops. To me it summed up the way the Grand Canyon was made, and so the actual canyon didn’t need to be in the shot.
Condensation is another form of still water, and the effect of surface tension on the window has caused these water droplets to stay separate. It’s produced a beautiful pattern image. Each droplet acts as a lens, and each gives their own view of the world outside the window. As with many pattern images it’s hard to get an idea of the scale of the droplets.
Once water starts moving it really comes to life. This is a close up of the famous dandelion fountain by the banks of the river Avon in Christchurch, New Zealand. It looks like an explosion of water, and the highlights off the moving surface are lovely. The 135mm lens has given a bit of perspective compression which adds to the drama.
Longer shutter speeds give a wonderful blur to fast-moving water. This image is of just a small part of a stream waterfall, and was taken at 1/8 of a second. A little pop of flash gave highlights “like the stars of the night sky” off some of the water drops.
We think of watering the garden as a gentle pursuit. As you can see, what happens when water droplets hit a flower head is anything but gentle! The drop has splashed on the poppy head like a small explosion, and you can imagine the pressure the water exerts on its surface. The shutter speed was 1/100th of a second, and the water was moving so fast that it hasn’t stopped the movement at all. The use of a 600mm long telephoto lens has isolated the seed head to make the image nice and simple.
As you can see water is everywhere, vital for life, and great for creative photography.