Macro water droplets – Got ’em!

Contrary to the last time I tried to take a picture of a drop of water, I actually thought about it my approach this time. After spending the morning at the aquarium, my plan was to drive home, feed the dogs and then go north to El Matador beach to try to get more  sunset photos. Nature had other plans for me though and the clouds all moved inland to the mountains. There would be no repeat of Wednesday’s awesome sunset. 

My plan to shoot as much as I could over the weekend was undeterred however, as I immediately started formulating a plan in my head on how I would go about the set up for getting some interesting macro shots.

I had seen a YouTube video with this crazy set up including a macro light kit and a stand holding a dropper in this guy’s kitchen but I wanted to try to make it happen without spending any money and using available lighting. After about an hour of tinkering with various lighting scenarios with a hiking headlamp, a flashlight and a leftover clamp reptile lamp I had finally gotten it right.

A shallow pyrex dish at varying levels of water, half & half and red wine added at various stages. I lit it underneath and made a makeshift hood of tinfoil and/or xmas wrapping paper to get any reflection I could in the water droplet. I also used the beam from the flashlight to go straight across the top and tried to bounce it up off the tinfoil. Whether any of that worked I have no idea, my favorite ones came from simply lighting underneath the bowl with my hiking headlamp.

My two biggest issues: First, the low light and non-flash use made it almost impossible to shoot these at a lower ISO. Secondlyish, action macro shots at this range tend to (I have learned) have super shallow depth of field, and you can’t focus-stack an action shot. :/

Either way, the shapes and colors I ended up getting make me really happy and I can’t wait to apply what I have learned to my next macro project: BUBBLES! Check out the full gallery below and offer any tips you might have.

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6 Responses to Macro water droplets – Got ’em!

  1. Samuel says:

    Hello there !

    Very nice work, I was wondering if it was possible to use your second picture for commercial use ? I’m a graphic designer and currently working on a new visual identity for a Vineyard in Switzerland, and this picture would be just perfect to represent what they do… Let me know if you’re interested !
    Thank you and keep up doing great experimentation with your camera !

  2. Samuel says:

    I’d really need a quick answer as I have a presentation this week, and I would really love to be able to use this incredible picture ! You can contact me at or

    Thank you !

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