Technique: Part 1 – Camera & Lens

Several people have asked about the photographic techniques I use for my Liquid Sculpture images. Here are the basics:

  • Camera & lens
  • Light
  • Control
  • Liquids

Camera & Lens

I have only used digital cameras for this work. I learn from my mistakes, so I take tens of thousands of pictures. Without the immediate feedback of digital photography, my learning curve would left me an old man several times over.

I started with a Nikon 950, but, of course, it doesn’t have the resolution, options, and electronic controllability needed.

I have since used a variety of Canon digital SLRs: D60, 10D, 20D, and now the 5D. In some ways the 20D has been the best for this work. It has decent resolution, and the APS-C sensor gives a little more magnification with better depth of field.

I almost always use mirror lock-up because it makes the shutter lag much more repeatable. It might help with camera shake, but given the short exposure, I doubt it.

For a lens, I have used a 100mm macro, a 70-200mm zoom, and a 180mm macro. I like the 180mm: it gives me good working distance, smooth bokeh, and excellent optics. The camera is about 2-3 feet from the splash zone to get a reasonable field of view. For greater depth of field, I try to shoot at f/16, but I don’t often have enough light for that. I am usually one stop short.

Next: The Light

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One Response to Technique: Part 1 – Camera & Lens

  1. elisaveta Stoilova says:

    Hi Martin,
    I was just looking through your post above and wanted to ask if this is the 180mm lens you are using: Telephoto EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM Autofocus Lens and is this the 70-200mm Zoom you are talking about as well —> Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Autofocus Lens?

    Thank you!

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