Cosmos 1-18

Just a fun image to make on a cold and rainy day.
This wasn’t entirely my idea, I saw the concept in a video but I refined it somewhat because of setup cost and to reduce time.
The original idea was pretty complex with 3 glass tables, one for the subject, one for the light and one for the waterdrops and all were on mast with the camera.

This was far simpler, I used an 8.5x11 inch sheet of glass from a picture frame resting on four cans of vegetables from the pantry (any brand will work :slight_smile: ), then I found one of my cosmos flower images and uploaded it to my iPad, I set the iPad under the glass and carefully placed the waterdrops on the glass and started shooting with my camera on a tripod at the side of the table. Quick setup and cheap too. :slight_smile:

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

The only thing I don’t care for is the slight halo effect around the waterdrops and one of the waterdrops is too close to the bottom frame.
I am mainly interested in your thoughts on the concept and overall appearance.

Technical Details

A7R IV, 90mm Macro, 1/30s, f16, ISO 5000, iPad, Four cans of vegetables, Lr and Ps for processing.


Very clever and fun image. I like the colors and it’s cool that the flowers are all facing outward except for the middle one. The water drops are also beautifully placed. What a great experiment to try on a rainy day. Thanks for including your process for taking this photo. You say easy, but I think you should give yourself more credit. I would say you have to have the right photo which you took and a good eye for creating the water drops. Love it.

Such a fun shot, Mervin. It has been years since I have tried doing this type of shot. I didn’t (still don’t) have an I-Pad to use a photo of a flower, so I always used flowers (even artificial ones). I love the placement of the droplets, they seem to be pretty well placed except for the maybe the one on the bottom being a bit close to the edge. If you cropped this maybe you still have some room you can give it. The one in the center is perfectly placed. I don’t know what to do for the halo around each bubble, maybe someone else has a suggestion. I love the color of the flower too. A nice image. Appreciate you sharing your setup too.

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Hi Donna,

Yes, you’re right, I thought that one of my ladybug images would have been great but it didn’t do very well, I could see the red body with the black spots but not the head so it looked a little odd, maybe I didn’t do it right.
The placement of the water drops weren’t as easy as I had thought they’d be, they don’t appear to be that close but it took several tries to finally get them in place without them merging with each other.
The image of the cosmos was the best of the bunch, I’ll try different flowers with contrasting colors when I get the chance.
It was still a lot of fun :slight_smile:

I’m glad that you liked it and I really appreciate your comment and the kind words! :slight_smile:

Hi Shirley,

That sounds like a lot of fun, too! :slight_smile:
I only used the iPad because I have one, if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t have too hard to setup the glass high enough to place a flower under it and light the flower from the side. and I still may try it that way just for the fun of it. :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for the comment and the kind words. :slight_smile:

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What a cool shot Mervin. I like the feeling of forward motion the reflections have. It’s as if they are being launched from the ground. You could try using luminosity masks to select the dark halos and depending on if there is sufficient data in the shadows bringing up the exposure and maybe adding a bit of colour. You could use the TK panel for this or a select option in PS.

Hi Andre,

I hadn’t thought of it that way but you’re right, they do look like they’re being shot from a flower cannon or rocket launcher :slight_smile: Cool! Thanks for that!

I think I made mistake by not being more specific about the halos around the waterdrops, the halos are tiny slivers of an almost green color at the outside edge of the black circles, there’s only a couple of them and I think they were caused by the coating solution I used to make the waterdrops stand up in a ball shape rather than slump into a flattened blob.
The more sphere shaped that the waterdrops are, the more they make the flower look like they’re in motion.

The black circles were created by the black background of the flower image on the iPad.

I mentioned to Donna Callais that I would like to do some with a flower with a contrasting color like maybe a yellow flower with a bright green background, there are many possibilities :slight_smile:

However, I just tried your suggestion and wow, there are some very interesting color possibilities for those black circles, it will take some time playing around with it in order to get some pleasing color combinations.

Thank you so much for suggesting a solution!!
I really appreciate it, Andre! :slight_smile:

And I really appreciate the comment and the kind words ! :slight_smile:

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Fantastic image. Reminds me to play with water drops again. Beautifully seen, photographed and processed.

Mervin: Refractions in water drops are one of my favorite subjects and I’m always looking for them in the wild. Had not thought about a studio setup like this. Wonderfully conceived and superbly executed. :+1: :+1:>=))>

Hi Fritz,

One of the reasons I posted this was to inspire others to give it a try. I have a feeling that you could be much more creative than myself.
Yes, that is a challenge :slight_smile: (should you feel inclined to accept)
I’d love to see what you and others come up with while we patiently wait for better nature photo ops that spring always brings us :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for the comment and the kind words!! :slight_smile:

BTW, I still drop in now and again to look at your “After the Fall” image, it is still a pleasure to view for me!

Hi Bill,

Yes, same here!
I used to go out after a rain specifically looking for waterdrops hanging off twigs, stems, ends of leaves, etc. I reviewed some of those images a few days ago and wow, 4 (four) MP resolution sure looks much…different… than modern camera resolutions. :open_mouth:
That is one of my goals for this spring, I would like to get a nice series of waterdrop images with a modern sensor and macro lens along with some nice, colorful subjects to refract in them.

You should give this a try, they are lots of fun to do and there’s not much setup time or cost… and I’d love to see what you and others come up with! :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for the comment and the kind words, Bill! :slight_smile:

I tried this technique during a workshop a few years back. It is a lot of fun, and the possibilities are truly endless.
Really like what you came up with. The water droplets are perfectly placed/spaced, the reflections spot-on.
As for waiting for spring, well, living in Arizona, we never really have to wait for it, although it has been unusually cold for us thin-blooded desert rats :slight_smile:
Thank you again for the reminder to play with different techniques, and I am really glad you like “After the Fall” :slight_smile:

Wow, I love this, Merv. I’ll have to try your method sometime. Thanks for the info on how you achieved this.


Completely totally wonderful!! Congrats of the EP – very well-deserved!

Hi David,

I guess for me, sharing how an image was created is as important as sharing the results. :slight_smile:
Thank you so much for the kind words, David!

HI Diane,

Thank you so very much for the kind words! :slight_smile:

Hi Bill,

Thank you so very much for the kind words, and a special thank you for the EP, I really appreciate that! :smiley:
And my sincere apologies for taking so long to thank you personally.

All of the comments, including the the suggestions for improvement are very much appreciated! :slight_smile:

Have a wonderful day :slight_smile:

I am late to the party here, but I think this is a really cool image. In addition to the curiosity the image evoke that make me want to explore and examine to try to understand what is going on I also like the colors and that you have chosen to blur the flower at the bottom.

I have to try this technique myself: I participate in a weekly 52 assignments, the present topic is “Trying this odd style!”.

Hi Ola,

Sounds like a great subject for the assignment, the concept here is odd, so it should qualify.
The technique for creating it has changed but only because of modern technology (ie, iPads :slight_smile: )

I just realized that I didn’t include one of the most important parts of the technique.
Normally, you would coat the glass with a few coats of “Rain X” to make the water drops stand up in a sphere shape, without the Rain X, the surface tension of the glass will cause the waterdrops to slump to almost flat and they undesirably merge together very easily.
While Rain X works, I have discovered that wiping a thin layer of thin machine oil like “3 in 1” for example, works even better in my opinion. It’s best to not leave any streaks in the oil film because they will show up the image.

Another tip for you: If you use a fine point needle like a small sewing needle or similar, you can literally push or slide the waterdrops around on the glass, you can fine tune where the waterdrops are placed, but be careful not to touch the glass with the needle, try to only push the waterdrop itself. For me, I had to use my jeweler’s glasses to see it close enough, my eyes aren’t as good as they once were :frowning: (You may not need jeweler’s glasses).

Edit: See, I forget to write some things down :frowning: What I forgot to include was this; if you use a needle to push the waterdrops around, remember to coat the needle with light or thin oil as well so the waterdrop doesn’t stick to the needle.

I hope this helps and I wish I had of included this part of the process when I posted the image, I forget to write things down sometimes, I guess my mind is too busy thinking of more than one thing at a time :frowning:

I’d love to see what you create if you’re willing to share! :slight_smile:

And thank you so much for the kind words! :slight_smile:

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Love it!! How fun :-). Very creative, Mervin. I, too, am always doing work-around set-ups, lacking a studio, fancy lights, etc. And YES to using the iPad this way! I’ve done something similar, balancing a flat-bottomed glass container with oil and water over the iPad playing a fractal video :laughing:

Also grateful that your explanation of the set-up inspired others to share what they’ve tried. Super helpful, very inspiring.

Wonderful image, I look forward to seeing more of your work.

Hi Beth,

Thank you so much for such a thoughtful response! Much appreciated! :slight_smile:

Part of the fun is figuring out ways to do things without spending money, especially for one or two short projects.

I would love to see what you were able to produce using the subject matter and method you described.
Confession: I had to look up what a fractal video is, those are cool and certainly worth exploring, thanks for the idea!! :slight_smile:

The iPad has proven to be a good visual backdrop tool inside in the winter as well as in the shade outdoors for macro (natural shade or created).

I haven’t been shooting much lately but I hope to be back out there again in the coming weeks.

We really appreciate your participation in the comments and critique side of this community! And sharing your images :slight_smile:

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Hi Mervin,

RE: not spending $, I somewhat pride myself on what I’m able to do by being “scrappy”! As a side benefit, I find the limitations to be creatively challenging, and I often learn a lot more by experimenting with hacks than if I had the “proper” equipment.

Happy to share a few results from my water/oil/iPad experiments. I’m fairly new to NPN and still getting clear on the etiquette. I don’t know that it’s okay to post my own images on someone else’s thread or if there’s another way to share (these aren’t ones I’d post for critique… totally “practice” images). Please advise… thank you!

Hope you get back out in the field again really soon!!


I certainly appreciate the action of removing the images as a result of “Thinking about it Twice”, and realizing it may be an issue.
While it is best to ask first or post in a new thread if they aren’t related to what I posted but I think it’s OK in this case since they are related to the genre of my own water/iPad image as well as small file sizes and not meant for critique. Those are meant for sharing the idea visually based on my interest in the concept.
So, can you put them back please so I can finish looking at them? They disappeared while I was viewing them, I thought something just happened to my computer (for a second). :smiley: