Arts

Sculpting Water at the Speed of Light

OPB | March 23, 2011 5 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 12:59 a.m.

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Sharp Shooting

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You might think that trying to capture a detailed image of a single falling drop of water would be a pretty difficult task. Let us assure you that it is.

You might also think that to pull off such a feat, you’d need a camera with a super-fast shutter to stop the action. That’s where you’d be wrong.

Well, at least that’s not how artist Martin Waugh approaches the task. Rather than trying to work with super high-speed shutters, Waugh approaches the situation from a different angle. He has customized his speed-lights to produce ultra high-speed bursts of light timed to coincide with the water droplet’s motion.

As if that weren’t enough, he created a computerized drop controller that manipulates the space between drips of water to the millisecond, allowing him to engineer collisions of drop-against-drop, “sculpting” splash patterns that make up his signature work. What results are images that are so well crafted, they almost seem too good; it’s as if they were created using 3D-rendering software. But there’s no imaging software or photo retouching involved here. Yeah, the sculptures aren’t random; that’s all on purpose.

See Martin Waugh in action:

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