Milk Drop Photography

Milk Drop Photography

April 23rd, 2009  |  Published in 4 Photogs, Commercial Photos, Personal Stuff  |  4 Comments

I’ve been experimenting with high speed photography, specifically with liquids such as milk.  Actually I used half and half, since it is more viscous.  I had to actually build a circuit board to ensure the right moment is captured, such as when the milk drop “crowns.”  Check out the results:

milk on milk


add some chocolate milk and you get …


No this is not a marble.  Liquids don’t make a teardrop shape without friction, so the viscous surface retains a spherical shape.


This is the “crowning” I was talking about





And here is the board I built, using a Hi-Viz optical kit.  One gray wire goes to the optical trigger, while the other goes to my strobe.


Now I have to go clean my kitchen before Judy kills me; it has rainbow splashes all over!

Oh yeah, strobist info: 580ex sync’d to the circuitboard at 1/128 power.  camera at iso400, f14, shutter on bulb varying from 2′ to 4′

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  1. Erik Miguel says:

    April 25th, 2009at 8:36 pm(#)

    I’m really impressed with this….you even built a little electrical board! All of these images are really cool.

  2. Stephen Cannoy says:

    April 26th, 2009at 6:26 am(#)

    You got some great results.

    Did you fabricate the optical sensor or purchase the sensor and hook up the wire from the board to the camera?

    I have done some very similar shoots. Although, it was a lot more trial and error with capturing the drop at that instant.

  3. Gavin says:

    April 26th, 2009at 7:49 am(#)

    The optical sensor is part of a kit by Hi-Viz that is a Schmitt trigger photogate. The interrupter gets tripped by the passing drop. The second to the last image in this gallery has that configuration. From there the camera is actually just in bulb mode in a dark room and is independent of the trigger. The photogate sends a pulse to the delay circuit, of which has a variable resistor that determines the delay from the photogate to the surface of the water. This then sends a pulse to the 580ex, which freezes the drop at the right time. Most of the exposures are around 2-3 seconds.
    Because of the timing, I had a high rate of accuracy (around 50% where usable images). That let me focus on the other details, such as focusing, timing the right stage in the drop (such as crowning), and more importantly being artistic and creative.

  4. Karyl says:

    October 16th, 2009at 6:38 am(#)

    Fabulous! Thanks for the lovely images!!

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