It seems unconventional to use such a powerful set up on such a small subject, but that was the challenge we were looking for. For this shoot, the goal was to utilize the Move Outdoor 2 Kit for macro plant photography. While macro photos already provide a look into a tiny world, the assistance of the Move Outdoor 2 would be the tool to make it otherworldly.
Freezing water drops can be difficult, and without a fast shutter speed and perfect timing, it’s nearly impossible. The first challenge was composing the shot, then it was all about building the light around it. With the RFS 2.2c trigger, we were able to sync with a 1/8000 sec shutter speed, using one MobiLED. For the modifier, we chose the Beauty Box 65. It was the perfect size for a subject so small. To achieve a cinematic look, we found the best results were when the modifier was placed low, angled up towards the falling drop. This created a nice balance and almost felt as if it were natural light. In order to freeze the drop without pushing the ISO too high, this was the most effective way. To get it as controlled as possible, we also used a spray bottle to create the rain.
We then moved the scenes to inside, adding some extra elements into the photos like a subtle fog. Our subject was a succulent, a very common houseplant. We created drops with the spray bottle on its alien looking stems, then feathered the light with a model lamp from the right side to illuminate the drops. We decided to only use a model lamp for this scene as we were focusing on a shallow depth to really bring the focus in on the water drops. By using the model lamp, we were able to direct the light easier as it allowed the majority of the light to catch on the drops without spilling out too much onto the plants.
We used these same techniques on a couple of other scenes inside. It took a bit of trial and error to get right, but it was most successfully achieved by making it as controlled as possible. Each plant was a different challenge to photograph, as too much light tended to drown out details and color. Our best results came from casting the light from the side, angled slightly upwards. We switched back and forth between the Beauty Box 65 and the MobiLED model lamp when we weren’t shooting motion.
It’s a fun challenge to create out of small, everyday subjects. Sometimes it’s just something simple around the house or yard that you overlook each day. As photographers, it’s a great exercise to utilize your gear in situations you may not think you need it for. You may be surprised and inspired by the results.
Dylan Furst was born and raised in Bellingham, Washington USA, and the rainy Pacific Northwest has heavily influenced his style as a photographer. Specializing in outdoor, adventure, and travel photography, he’s grateful to have had the opportunities to experience a variety of landscapes, countries, and cultures through the portal of camera. Follow him @fursty and dylanfurstphoto.com.