You probably wouldn’t consider tipping a vase and spilling water onto a glass-topped table a photo opportunity, but for Petr Brodík, who’d just gotten his first D-SLR and was searching for subject matter, the tiny reflections in the water drops were fascinating possibilities.
He first set a glass bowl on the table, stretched plastic wrap over its top and dripped water on the wrap. “Not very interesting,” he says. “I didn’t have a final image in mind, but I knew I had to do more.”
He replaced the plastic wrap with the glass top of an aquarium tank. A slice of lemon in the bottom of the bowl didn’t work out; neither did placing the lemon under the bowl. But when he put the lemon slice in a very small second bowl, and then balanced the larger bowl on top of the small one, he was almost there.
“I spread water on the aquarium top, drop by drop from a glass, then from my fingers, but the bubbles weren’t tiny enough.” A spray bottle was the answer,
and as the smaller bubbles merged on the glass to form larger ones, he got the variety of reflections he wanted.
His D5100 was on a tripod above the setup, his AF Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8D fitted with a Nikon 6T close-up diopter. Petr took the photo at 1/10 second, f/38 and ISO 100 with the camera set to aperture priority and Matrix metering. The distance from the front of the lens to the top of the aquarium glass was three-and-one-half inches. Lighting came from two table lamps, their shades removed. One lamp was placed at camera left below the glass-topped table, the other at camera right, level with the larger bowl.
The photo op came to an abrupt end when the water Petr was spraying hit the socket of the right-side lamp and shorted out not only Petr’s apartment but the entire building. He was able to quickly reset the circuit breaker. “It was very late at night,” he says, “and no one seemed to notice.”