November 2016 Submissions Night – Shadows

Shadowy figures emerged — as winners of this month’s event. Congrats to all! See the photos here (go to Galleries to view):

Open Print

1st place Barry Ryziuk
2nd place Brent Bromilow
3rd place Brent Bromilow
3rd place Barry Ryziuk

Theme Print

1st place Catherine Page
2nd place Barry Ryziuk
3rd place Catherine Page

Open Digital

1st place Al Popil
2nd place (tie) Al Popil
2nd place (tie) Sylvia Labelle
3rd place (tie) Doug Petry
3rd place (tie) Sylvia Labelle
3rd place (tie) Hedy Bach
3rd place (tie) Jeff Wallace

Theme Digital

1st place Gordon Michon
2nd place John Vanveen
3rd place Steve Pedersen




October 2016 Submissions Night: Cityscapes

Well, submissions were up so we got to choose between many great photos. Thanks again to the always-enjoyable Ray Watkins for leading the discussion, even if we don’t agree on the definition of a cityscape. Here are our favorites of the night (go to Galleries to view):

Open Print

1st place (tie) Doug Petry
1st place (tie) Laurice Block
2nd place Doug Petry
3rd place Brent Bromilow

Theme Print

1st place Brent Bromilow
2nd place Catherine Page
3rd place Barry Ryziuk

Open Digital

1st place (tie) Al Popil
1st place (tie) Kelly Rombough
2nd place (tie) Al Popil
2nd place (tie) Barry Ryziuk
3rd place (tie) Brent Bromilow
3rd place (tie) Sylvia Labelle

Theme Digital

1st place Jill Routhier
2nd place (tie) Steve Pedersen
2nd place (tie) Barry Ryziuk
3rd place Jill Routhier

September 2016 Submissions Night – “Panning”

It was an interesting first submissions night of the 2016-17 season with excellent discussions as usual, and great photos, making voting challenging. The club has implemented some new guidelines for the evening, which seemed to roll out smoothly for the most part (see the changes here).  Take a look at the gallery of winning shots here!

Open Digital
1st place Al Popil
2nd place Steve Pedersen
3rd place Brent Bromilow

Theme Print
1st place Barry Ryziuk
2nd place Catherine Page
3rd place Catherine Page

Open Print
There were many winners in this category, but the record form went missing so we will have to rely on people to indicate which place they received. This is what is known so far:
1st place Barry Ryziuk
2nd place Brent Bromilow
2nd place Doug Petry
2nd place Laurice Block
2nd place Catherine Page
2nd place Catherine Page (again!)
3rd place? Steve Pedersen

Theme Digital
1st place Al Popil
2nd place Catherine Page
3rd place Steve Pedersen
3rd place Ken Collett


Photo Club Camping Trip 2016

Dinosaur Provincial Park is about 5 hours from Edmonton by car but it’s about a million years away from the lush green fields and valleys of the Edmonton area.

As you drive south the landscape gets gradually drier and flatter the closer you are to the park until suddenly there it is, just past the “watch for snakes on the road sign” the grassland drops away into the wide valley of the Red Deer River.

It just so happened that for my Thursday evening arrival, nature had arranged a spectacular welcome display consisting of a magnificent rainbow that seemed to emanate from the valley floor directly below me. It appeared to soar up out of the badlands, arch across the sky and return again to earth miles away. And for the first time ever, as I drove along in wonder, towing my little old trailer behind, I could clearly see far below me, the end of the rainbow.

I wish I could show you a picture but alone in the vehicle on a steep hill with signs very boldly declaring “ABSOLUTELY NO STOPPING ON HILL!” I was unable to get a shot of the magical moment.

The trip appeared to be starting out well and I was excited to get parked as quickly as possible because I had 2 tickets to the “Sunset Tour” through the restricted access area of the park.

Of course backing a trailer into a particular spot usually goes well if no-one is around but in this case 15 or so of my fellow photo club members were sitting around the camp fire with nothing better to do than watch the show.


The Group Campsite at Dinosaur Provincial Park

Don tried to help out but it still took a few embarrassing tries before I finally got it parked and then it was time to head for the meeting place and catch the bus for the tour. Don, Steve and his family and some people from Ontario joined me for my first of three tours.

For a moment it looked like we weren’t going to go because of rain but we waited it out and I’m glad we did, the tour was great and we all loved it, the photographic opportunities were amazing and because of the fact that paid tours are the only way to access the restricted areas unless you are on an official dig, we were able to see things that many visitors to the park never get a chance to see.


The Valley of the Castles

After two glorious hours chasing amazing vistas illuminated by a setting sun and spiced up with far off rain showers, we finally made our way back to the group campsite to join the rest of the club members around the campfire.

I was up early the next day to catch the sun illuminated ridgeline directly behind our campsite and to begin a daily quest to locate and photograph the small herd of mule deer that inhabit the valley. On this first morning I spotted several deer too far away to get any good shots with the kit lens that happened to be on my camera.


Sunrise and Moon-set right behind the group site

Later that morning a bunch of us drove into Brooks to visit the famous “Brooks Aqueduct” and somehow even though I really didn’t want to, I ended up leading a procession of vehicles into town.

Of course the route I took (which looked like a nice paved road on the map) turned into a barely paved, extremely rough country road before degenerating to gravel. Gordon, who was traveling with me, gamely accepted the map and thereby the blame for our chosen route, giving me the chance to accurately proclaim, “Gordon had the map!” when anyone later mentioned the rough roads we took.

Gordon and Barry and a few others had been to the aqueduct on a previous club trip so they knew the spots to get the best images of the graffiti and junk inside the giant concrete pipe that had once enabled the railways to entice settlers to an area that otherwise would have been too dry to farm.


Some local colour at the far end of the Aqueduct

Down at the other end of the pipe the repeating lines and patterns of the support piers and iron rails across the top made for some great images, especially as the piers are not all the same length. I think we all enjoyed photographing the historically significant local landmark.


Love the line receding into the distance

That night we enjoyed a communal supper shopped for with much gusto by Hedy who related to us the hilarious story of her adventure purchasing our dinner at Costco.

Getting a little carried away, she accidentally purchased way more sausages then there were going to be group members for super. It was decided during a consultation with her husband Steve, that no-one was likely to want 6 sausages and so she packed up half of them to return to the store.

Apparently returning extra sausages is not something that happens every day and at first the woman was adamant, “sorry but no way”.

She didn’t know who she was dealing with however and unsurprisingly, by the time she was done, Hedy had convinced her that this was a special case and yes, she could in fact return the extra sausages.

Since returned food can’t be resold in the store they make a policy of donating it to homeless shelters, so in the end, “unbridled shopping enthusiasm leads to extra food for the homeless” could be the headline for this little story!

Strangely enough, Hedy’s kind offer to drop off the food at the homeless shelter was politely refused, although perhaps with a few exaggerated eye rolls after it was all over.

After supper, 14 of us met at the bus for the sunset tour and even though it was the same tour as the previous evening, we had a different driver and the weather was a little different and we stopped at one or two different places and I enjoyed it just as much as the night before. In fact, because we were all together and interested in photography, the driver let us have a little more input into when and where we stopped.

Bill (another Sony guy) offered to loan me a lovely 10mm Voigtlander Heliar-Hyper wide angle lens and using it on my Sony A7 ii (full frame mirrorless) over the next two days I fell in love with this lens! It is extremely wide but since it is a rectilinear design there is a lot less distortion then you might expect. I had the lens for 2 days and it was fantastic to have in addition to my regular cheap kit lens.


Beautiful eroded rock formations taken with a 10 mm lens

The next morning I was up early again and when I went up the hill I bumped into Gordon ahead of me with his tripod, trying to get those elusive sunrise shots of the ridgeline and the valley floor.

I was on a mission though to check out the Southwest part of the valley and locate the deer that I had seen the day before. While I was still making my way there, I heard a coyote yelping and howling and I hurried up to a vantage point and peered over the edge.

I was astonished to see a mule deer doe running across the meadow below, chasing…….a lone coyote. I snapped a few shots with my second camera, a Sony A77 APS-C body with a 70-300mm lens and managed to catch a few images showing both the coyote on the run and the angry doe that was chasing it off.


A Mule Deer doe chases a Coyote away from her fawn

After she was sure it was gone the doe returned to the spotted fawn she had been protecting and I watched as they jumped the creek and moved off across the hillside across from me.

Cool! And I even got a few shots of the action.

That night was our second go at a communal supper and everyone pitched in to cook up a mess of pasta along with garlic toast and Saskatoon pie for dessert. After that it was another night around the camp fire interspersed with trips up the dark mountain looking for cell phone coverage to call or text my wife. I got plenty of brownie points allocated to me when I told her what lengths I had to go through to get a signal.

Climbing the pitch black giant mountain and braving the packs of giant coyotes (would you believe one skinny coyote with weird glowing eyes?) and the swarms of giant mosquitoes to balance precariously on the cliff edge waving a cell phone around just to say good night tends to rack up a lot of valuable points!


Right above the campground I found this same pair of Mule Deer that was involved in the Coyote chase the day before

One thing that surprised me about this year’s trip was that people didn’t seem to be that interested in doing any night shooting. I imagine some people still went off on their own but as far as I know there was no organized attempt to go out as a group.

Sunday was scorching hot and it ended up being a pretty laid back day with the big excitement being when Bill came back from a visit to Brooks with 2 big tubs of ice cream along with 2, count em, 2 types of sauce!

Monday morning turned into an unofficial race to bug out and move on. It almost seemed like the last one out of there was going to get stuck with the bill!

All in all it was a very successful and worthwhile trip and I enjoyed it immensely. Anyone I talked to seemed to feel the same way so thanks Barry and Don and Hedy and Ralph and all of the board members and anyone else who pitched in to make this years camping trip such a success, it was great and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Creating Emotion in Photography

Lot’s to think about for club members who came out to see Daniel Sundahl Wednesday night at The Inn. Dan is a Leduc paramedic/firefighter who has blended his love of photography with his need to process through and purge his mind of some of the more difficult and traumatic calls that he experiences as a paramedic.
As he works to re-create these calls, he stages the scene, staffed with actual co-workers and equipment that is similar to what was actually used during the call and through this process he can “get the call out of my head.”
He says his other purpose is to help other first responders deal with what they’ve experienced on the job, “exposing the emotional underbelly of emergency services” so that people can see that they’re not alone.

His Dansun Photos Facebook page has 59,563 likes so obviously what he is doing with his photography is striking a cord with his viewers. These days he’s doing a lot of traveling and speaking to groups of emergency services personnel around the world and his work is recognized by many to be helpful and therapeutic for those in the industry.
Even though the purposely eerie, heavily processed look of most of Dan’s photographs is very far from the “purist” sort of lightly processed, let’s capture it in the camera sort of work that most of the club is used to; for the sort of effect that Dan is going for he’s obviously been very successful.

In fact, as strange as it is to find myself saying so, his images even at their most phantasmal have a strange sort of reality that many ordinary, unprocessed, mundane images lack. Re-created as they are from very real, dramatic, emotional and often tragic actual occurrences they speak volumes about life and death and the situations that first responders face daily.


Often as you look at his images you miss at first the spectral presence that may be hovering to one side, and your eye does a double take as you re-interpret the image as a whole. Dan has been working in these situations for a long time and though I can’t remember his exact words, he believes that there are unseen things happening around those people as they struggle for life.

I learned a lot Wednesday night and although I will probably never use most of the processing techniques that Dan graciously shared with us, it was really interesting to hear how these photographs have helped so many people deal with their experiences.

Dan had some valuable advice for us as photographers, regardless of the type of images we make and it went something like this, “focus on something that you are emotional about, something you have a connection with and share that emotional connection.”
Good advice.
Whatever our style, whatever we’re shooting, if there is no emotional reaction, no connection to our work, unfortunately the viewer is unlikely to linger long or care much.

You can see more of Dan’s work here,

Written by Doug Petry

May 2016 Submissions Night: Signs of Change

With spring in full swing, it seems more members were out taking photos rather than submitting them! With a smaller set to discuss, we were able to take time to work on our critiquing skills and discuss our process and purpose. Thanks to all who participated. We look forward to more discussion about Submissions Night at our upcoming Banquet and AGM on Wed June 15, at 6:30 at the St. Albert Inn.

Theme Print

1st (tie) Doug Petry, Catherine Page
2nd David Oman
3rd Barry Ryziuk

Open Print

1st (tie) Barry Ryziuk, Catherine Page
2nd (tie) Doug Petry, David Oman
3rd no winner due to lack of submissions (total of 4 submissions)

Theme Digital

1st Steve Pedersen – Title: “New School”
2nd Brent Bromilow – Title: “Nip in the Air”
3rd Doug Petry – Title: “Changes Ahead”

Open Digital

1st Catherine Page – Title: “Over the Water”
2nd Steve Pedersen – Title: “Old Jalapa”
3rd Barry Ryziuk – Title: “Busy Day at the Market”

Storytelling: an evening with aAron Munson

We had an interesting visit from film-maker/cinematographer aAron Munson Wednesday evening at the monthly speaker night for the St. Albert Photo Club.

You could be forgiven for thinking, “….what! Still photographers and a film-maker in the same room, what’s going to happen?”

Well not a lot of drama, as it turns out, just a lot of very fascinated photographers and one film-maker walking a bit of a tightrope between the two genres.

I’m not sure how the stars aligned to bring aAron to us, but it was a very fortuitous circumstance indeed. Thank you very much Don and whoever or whatever else was responsible, it was great. And thanks to aAron for coming out and sharing his work with us!

Looking beforehand at aAron’s website,  I was intrigued but also wondering how a presentation from someone who’s primary interest is film-making would be received by club members. It turns out that from my own reaction and also what I gathered talking to others, that it was overwhelmingly positive.


aAron poses on a calm day at Isachsen

Like most members, my primary interest has been landscape photography and I still love it, but (and it’s a very big but) I’m finding that there is an element of boredom that is setting in. Over the last year or so, I’m finding that the club has taken a subtle shift (tilt/shift?) away from landscape/nature/static types of photography and it seems to be moving towards more dynamic, people based photographs and I for one am excited about it.

Through the influence of our resident street photographer: Hedy Bach, and our recent critique guy: Larry Louie and now cinematographer aAron Munson and other speakers and club members, my own work and probably the work of other members, is changing.

It’s a little disconcerting at first because we like to settle into a comfortable place, but the challenge of pushing ourselves into producing work that is more interesting, current and dynamic is good for our art in the long run. After all, if people are more engaged and interested and challenged by viewing our work, that’s great for them and for us.

What I learned from aAron’s work is the concept of telling a story. Yes, I know that it isn’t a new concept, photographs are meant to tell a story, but it’s time to go a little deeper than that.


Preparing to land at Isachsen

When you look at it through the eyes of a film-maker who goes through the agonizing process of raising money, researching the history of an area, booking a charter aircraft and a professional guide and then travelling thousands of km. across Canada’s north to a remote, desolate and abandoned weather station, you learn a little something about story telling.

Isachsen is the remote weather station on Ellef Ringnes Island, abandoned in 1978 that is the subject of aAron’s latest project that he is working on with the plan to turn the film clips and images into an art installation at a gallery in Edmonton. It’s a fascinating story of how his father at the tender age of 19, spent a difficult year there in 1974-1975. We got a bit of an idea through the photos and clips, of the difficulties that those stationed there must have gone through dealing with the darkness, the isolation, the cold and the wind over a period of months and as long as a year.


The guide poses in aAron’s dad’s old parka and mittens



Today, long abandoned, the station buildings fill with snow in the winter months as the ferocious wind blows through any little hole, creating strange contorted sculptures and drifts, clinging to frozen chairs, wires and equipment left behind when the site was abandoned.


Reading his father’s diary and seeing his old photographs of the station piqued aAron’s interest and drove him to raise the money and execute his plan to spend a week camping out in the desolate ruins of one of the loneliest spots on earth.


For a film-maker maybe that’s business as usual, but for me and I would imagine for most of the club members as well, that might be a bit much! Yes, I will get up early and go for a canoe ride in the mist (with a nice cup of coffee) or lug along with me and set up a tripod to capture some fuzzy water shots of a waterfall, but a week on some remote island in the arctic? No thanks!

aAron also showed us a great film of the behind the scenes making of one segment of “The Great Human Odyssey” for “The Nature of Things” on CBC. It sounded like another mindbogglingly difficult quest to tell a story, that included two trips over two years to film the local Russian indigenous people harvesting eggs from the remote “Bird Island”.

Beautiful, fascinating and rewarding, but a little beyond what the average photographer would go through to get the shot. A project involving researchers, dialogue, costumes, actors and other crew members, locals and deep pockets bankrolling weeks of shooting can tell a compelling story it seems.

And aAron’s Isachsen project, that may eventually include an entire art installation with wind machines and a refrigerated room and artifacts to go along with the film clips and photographs, has the potential to tell a much more complete story than a single photograph can on its own.


But we as photographers needn’t worry about competing with these kinds of genres, we just need to look a little deeper and think more about the story and what it is exactly that we want to share with the viewer of our images. At least, that’s what I need to do.

A few weeks ago, one of my images was critiqued on submission night and it was suggested that what would make it a much better photograph would be if the mirror (of the public restroom) was cracked….excuse me!

I’m sure not going to go around breaking mirrors in public restrooms to get a more dramatic shot. But what I took away from the critique was that I could have upped the ante a little and had a better shot by adding drama in other ways. Some human artifact added to the scene, maybe something poignant written on the mirror with soap or lipstick (and carefully scraped off afterwards). You get the idea. Tell a more complete story, even if we need to embellish it a little to make it interesting.

But I digress.

aAron also showed us some dramatic images taken at a remote, half abandoned town in Siberia that featured buildings, factories and vehicles quickly falling into decay since the workers just walked away when the Soviet Union collapsed. Today it resembles a post-apocalyptic wasteland and when he was stuck there for a week waiting to return from Siberia, aAron took advantage of his time there and returned day after day to photograph the abandoned ruins.

He mentioned one particular scene where he stumbled upon a young couple sitting at a little table, having a romantic date among the ruins. It just goes to show you how things have changed for me that that particular image was the one that I really wanted to see!

But unfortunately, he felt weird about taking a photograph of them and of course now he wishes that he had. He ended up with many pictures of the ruins, but few photos of people.

For me, Wednesday night was one more great evening learning what other people are doing and now I’m enjoying imagining how I can apply that knowledge to push my own photography in a new direction. I hope to see aAron’s influence creep into my own work and also into the work of other club members, looking forward to seeing what we come up with!


The wing of a plane that crashed in the 1940’s



Amberlea Meadows Photo Field Trip

On Saturday, April 30 about ten members of the Club went on a photo field trip to the Amberlea Meadows horse show. The weather was good and we were able to experience a new photo challenge since none of us had any previous experience photographing this type of event.


photo by Ralph Fuchs


photo by Ralph Fuchs


photo by Don Durand

The photo directly above shows some of the members on the field trip.  Second from the left is Fred Tyrrell, Show Medic.  On the extreme right is Lynda Finstad, Event Photographer, and second from the right is Madison Ricard, one of the senior riders.  Prior to turning us loose with our cameras Fred, Linda and Madison gave us a short orientation covering things like safety around horses, things to watch for during the rides and some tips on photographing horses and horse shows – valuable information for a bunch of city types.

-submitted by Ralph Fuchs

April 2016 Submissions Night: Long Exposure

Once again we had the privilege of having Larry Louie out to help with the critiquing process for our Submissions Night. Additionally, as a way to provide balance, Larry shared some of his latest prints for us to provide some feedback. He departed from his usual black and white to introduce a hint of colour! See more of his work here:

Here are the club’s choices for the month:

Theme Print
1st Barry Ryziuk
2nd David Oman
3rd (2-way tie) Bryce Schmode, Catherine Page

Open Print
1st Catherine Page
2nd David Oman
3rd Cindy Barnes

Theme Digital
1st Catherine Page – Title: “The Shot”
2nd Brent Bromilow – Title: “On Time”
3rd Jeff Wallace – Title: “21 Minutes #1”

Open Digital
1st (tie) Steve Pedersen – Title: “Touched By The Light”
1st (tie) Catherine Page – Title: “Misty Morning”
2nd Bryce Schmode – Title: “Per Aspera Ad Astra”
3rd Barry Ryziuk

Liquid Art Photography with Darlene Young

Wednesday April 13, SAPC was fortunate to have Darlene Young do a presentation on her particular interest (obsession?), Liquid Art Photography.

It’s always fun and interesting to see someone who is passionate about a topic that also holds some interest for the rest of us and this was one of those times. It didn’t seem like very many, if any, of the club members had tried out this type of photography before, but I’m guessing that might change soon.

Armed with all of the tips and tricks that Darlene shared with us, I don’t doubt that soon the club members will be seen wheeling out of area thrift stores carrying armloads of cheap glasses, towels and tarps as they prepare to have fun smashing things in the interests of art!

But I’m getting ahead of Darlene’s story.

She advises us that we can start with an easier project like “simple” water drops with not much more than a little imagination, a deep dish, a water dropper and something for a colourful background.

November Slide-4

Here are a few tips from Darlene for this type of photography.

  • The set up can be as simple as filling the dish so that the water is even with the edge of the dish. Pre-focus on the area the water will drop to. You can use a pencil or straw across the top of the dish. Put something in the water that will stand up. 
  • Use your auto focus or do it manually. Remember to not shoot with auto focus on. It will not be fast enough to catch the drop. Always turn IS off on your lens. When your camera is on a tripod it can cause a very minor shake causing your focus to be off. 
  • So find your favourite piece of paper, tinfoil etc. and prop it up behind your dish. You can also position flowers behind the dish and catch the reflection of the flower in the water drop. 
  • Use a plastic water dropper suspended above the dish. It can be as easy as stacking some books on each side and placing a piece of wood on top. Tape the water dropper to the middle of the wood. This gives you more stability and the drop will hit in the same spot each time. 
  • For a beginner you can use your on camera flash to stop the action. Off camera flash gives you more flexibility. 
  • For water photography you should use an f stop between f11 and f16. You want as much of the drop in focus as possible. Start at ISO 100, F11 and the shutter speed will be around 1/250th of a second. 
  • If using off camera flash your shutter speed is always dictated by the flash sync speed. Most are 1/250th of second, some are 1/200th of a second. If you aren’t freezing the motion up your ISO. I start with a single flash set at 1/32. If I need a touch more light I bring in a piece of reflective material such as white foam core board. Light from the flash will reflect off the white surface giving you more light on your water drop. 
  • Another set up idea is using a piece of translucent paper and put your flashes behind it. This will diffuse and spread the light. Add food colouring to the water to give you a different look. 
  • Now water drops don’t always have to be done with dishes. You can use the kitchen tap set to drip. Tape a piece of colourful paper behind the tap so that you get some great patterns in the drop. Still using the same type of set up as before. Tripod and camera set up in front of the sink. Off camera flash to the left, leaving room on the right for a reflector if you need it. 
  • Be creative. Use a photo of the earth behind the water drip. It looks like a small globe in the water drop. Use a piece of scrap booking paper with little maple leaves all over it and catch the reflections in the drop. November Slide-8
  • One tip for you is that if you want the maple leaf or some symbol to be upright in the drop, tape the piece of paper upside down behind the drip. Refraction will make the maple leaf appear in the drop upside down. So you have to flip the paper so that the reflection is right side up. 
  • A quick note about liquids. You don’t always have to use just water. You can add glycerin to the water which will make the water drop have a bit of an oily look but can be cool with an abstract pattern. You can use milk or cream. If I am after collision drops, where one drop hits another I like to add Guar Gum. Guar Gum is a simple thickener that you can find prepackaged at the Bulk Barn or online. Changing the viscosity or thickness of the water can give you better drops.

Once you’ve been successful with some of the simple drops and collision shots and you’ve created some cool “crown” photos from splashes colliding with drops you can move on to some of the more elaborate setups with fish tanks and fruit amazing underwater shots. Below are more tips from Darlene.

November Slide-33

Fish Tank Photography:

  • Everyone has seen shots of fruit with splashes. Fruit underwater, flowers underwater, etc. A 10 gallon fish tank is a cheap, fun way to get these shots. You will need off camera flash for this. On camera will only reflect on the front glass panel and ruin the shot. 
  • Set up is simple. Put your tank somewhere that can take the weight of the fish tank filled with water. Remember there will be splash! Cover surfaces you don’t want to get wet. Cheap tarps, old towels and blankets are great surface protectors. 
  • Now fill the tank in place because you do not want to carry a filled 10 gallon fish tank. If you are not using distilled water you need to let the tank sit for a while so that all the bubbles you create pouring in the water have time to go away. Distilled water will speed up your start time but is also more expensive than tap water. 
  • An essential tool for a fish tank session is a squeegee. As you toss fruit and veggies into the tank you introduce air. This makes fine bubbles on the inside of the glass. It is next to impossible to remove these in post and they don’t add to the photo. 
  • Set up a piece of foam core behind the fish tank. If you place the foam core close to the back of the tank your background will be a nice bright white. If you want a darker background, move the foam core further back. 
  • I place a flash beside the fish tank and one above it. F11-16, ISO 100, Shutter dictated by sync speed. 
  • Place something in the tank and set your focus before you start. 
  • Using a remote allows you to drop your fruit or vegetables into the tank while taking the photo at the same time. Timing will be an issue at first yet the more you practice the easier it is.

Even more advanced and by the sounds of it a little bit tricky to get right but well worth the effort is the;

November Slide-47

Skateboard /Glass Splash:

  • So if you are setting up for a sliding splash session you can use the same lighting set up with a few tweaks for throwing glasses. You can start by just putting the swimming pool on the table you are going to work with. 
  • Place a towel or something soft inside the pool. This will save you many, many glasses. If the glasses have a soft place to land you will have much less breakage. 
  • Glass splash is so easy and fun. Make sure to put something in place to pre-focus. So I don’t use anything to mark the spot but you might want to consider some sort of marker so that you know where you want to toss. It can be as easy as placing a long piece of doweling level with where you want to hold the glass to start the toss. Shot wide so that you catch the splash as it flies through the air. 
  • I began with a skateboard on a ramp. It is really messy and a whole lot of fun. Using a skateboard is more advanced only because you have to do some DIY. You can’t just go out and buy a set up for this. 
  • Essential tools for Glass Splash are your set up but a small kiddie pool from Walmart is the cheapest best thing you can have. The small pool helps to catch most of the water that goes flying around. Also towels or rags to help wipe down the background and the area you are working in. Put tarps on the floor. 
  • One rule with glass splash is to make sure you don’t use anything you want to use again. Like Grandma’s crystal wine glasses. Whether just tossing glasses to catch the splash in mid-air or sliding it to catch the splash at the end things can and do go wrong on occasion. That’s why buying glasses from thrift shops and garage sales are perfect for this. You get variety and you don’t care if they break. 
  • No matter what the set up, you need to use a really good glue to glue the glasses on to your surface of choice. I have used shelves from the as is section in Ikea, glass from photo frames, mirrors and my favourite is plexiglass. 
  • I use GOOP glue which seems to be able to glue anything to anything and I let it set over night. I buy it at the hardware store. Find one that says extra strength. 
  • With a ramp set up you have to make sure you have something to stop it. Something solid. 
  • The key to doing this if you use a ramp is that your camera has to be on an angle. So set your camera on an angle so that the line of glasses is straight in your viewfinder. 
  • I now use a slider table which is easier. It is simply constructed and you start with everything level.  
  • I use a wipe able background that is translucent. I position two or three flashes behind the background and one on each side in the front. The background flashes are set at about 1/16 usually. The fronts are generally 1/32.
  • The background flashes are brighter to help create a white background. The front one helps to freeze the water. 
  • A few things to keep in mind when shooting is something you all learned as children. If you place your glasses all in a row which is pleasing to the eye, the colours will mix. If you don’t want the lighter colours to get ugly don’t put them in the front glass. Green and Yellow don’t make blue. They make an ugly lime green which is not pleasing to the eye. The only time I put a really light colour in the front is if I am willing to dump the glasses between each shot. 
  • Use water coloured with food colouring and splash away.

Purple Plunge2

Thanks Darlene for taking the time to come out and share your hard earned lessons, tips and tricks for getting those amazing liquid action shots. It was fun and inspirational.

We are certain to see over the coming months more examples of this kind of photographic art entered in the clubs monthly submissions nights. I’m looking forward to trying it out myself and seeing the work of other club members.

Photographs courtesy of Darlene Young, Copyright Darlene Young.