by Christopher Algar Published 01/04/2017
The collision on the left used methyl cellulose to increase the viscosity of the drops, whereas that on the right used plain water drops.
Adjusting the water viscosity
I found that using plain tap water for drops did not give very satisfactory results because the 'mushroom' formations broke up very easily into separate drops. The shape of the formations also left something to be desired. I now add methyl cellulose to the water in the reservoirs to increase its viscosity. Although I am satisfied with the results, most advice on the internet is to use other compounds and so I would advise doing a bit of research before making a choice. I never add methyl cellulose to the water into which the drops fall but some arrives as 'dropping' takes place and may cause bubbles to form on the surface. It is important to remove these bubbles because they may adversely affect the look of the images.
Camera and lens
I use a Canon EOS 7D and an EF 100mm macro lens mounted on a tripod for water-drop photography. This focal length seems a good compromise between keeping the camera far enough away to avoid water-drops on the lens and minimise the background area, and being so far away that the camera is difficult to reach. Even so, a few tiny drops do occasionally reach the lens and so a protective filter is a good idea. When using a large tray to hold water, I stand a long wood screw on its head where the drops are landing and use it as a focusing point. I place a ruler across the top of smaller receptacles and focus on that.
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