We are a group of photography enthusiasts who are passionate about anything of photography, in particulary, water drop photography, high speed photography, and macro photography.

Our passion about photography does not stop at photographying the world, we are actively inventing, building tools to further ultilize modern technologies to explore and advance photographical techniques.

Focus stacking is a powerful method to extend depth of field by taking a series of images at different focal plane and use computer software to pick the sharpest part of each image for the final result. One way to acquire such series of images is by moving the camera towards or away from the subject (or by moving subject towards or away from the camera) so that different part of the subject will be in focus in each image. Then by applying computer algorithm, these images will be combined into one sharp image.

In order to move the camera (or the subject for that matter) and automate the process of image captures, an automated rail system is preferred method. However, current products on the market are extremely expensive and many macro photographers have to do it manually which is a tedious work to do. Besides expensive rail system, good stacking software are either expensive (but really good) or difficult to use (though free).

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Guaranteed Water Drop Collision

Did you say guaranteed splash with StackRail Waterdrop systems? Yes! This actually works for any other water drop equipment, as long as it has a digital reading, not just limited to StackRail Waterdrop systems. For beginners in water drop photography, getting the first water drop collision is very exciting, as I was, but getting collisions consistently is something many beginners struggle with and it takes some time and patience. But there is a way to do so!

The method described here is very generic and independent of thickness of water solution, independent of water pressure, independent of height of setup, so without further ado, here is how:

Step 1 — Set number of drop to ONE, Flash Delay to some reasonable value. If you like math, you can estimate this value by using this formula: FD (Flash Delay) = Square Root of (0.2041 * H) where H is the height of drop, i.e, from the tip of dropping nozzle to catching basin. If you do not like math, you can find this out by setting Flash Delay to some small value, set your lens to zooming out (shorter focal length) so you capture the whole scene, and gradually increase it.

Step 2 — Finding exact moment when a drop hits water surface. — adjust FD (Flash Delay) and take pictures so that the drop is just about to hit water surface (shown as 1 in above picture). Fine tune it until you get 3 in above picture where the drop is half way in the water surface. Record the Flash Delay, in above picture case, the actual Flash Delay is 345. For your setup, it could be (most likely so) different.

Step 3 — Adjust Flash Delay until you get tallest Worthington jet like the 4th one in above picture. Record the Flash Delay reading, in above picture, it is 485.

Step 4 — Set number of drops to 2. Set the size of second drop to be moderate, in above picture, it is 60, same as the first one.

Step 5 —  Calculate delay between 1st and 2nd drops: 485(peak) – 345 (reaching surface) – 60 (size of second drop) = delay needed between 1st and 2nd drops, which in this case 80. What does it mean? It means if the second drop can reach the water surface while the first one is peaking, there must be a collision (unless the Worthington jet is too thin and not going straight up)

After setting delay between 1st drop and 2nd drop to 80, I got collision splash like those shown as 5 and 6 in above picture.

This is very repeatable, though less interesting than those by pro dropper, nonetheless, it is a start.