Bursting Out by Corrie White
Every day we see stunning photos from our peers in the 500px community, but not often do we turn the lens back upon the photographer. The Portrait series focuses on remarkable 500px users who may have something to teach us about their field of photography. This week's feature is Corrie White.
Tell us a little about yourself, Corrie.
I am a 62 year old female, pretty much retired and enjoying my recent move to the very small community of Wardsville. I was born in The Netherlands but have lived in the Goderich area of Ontario for most of my life.
How did you get into photography, and specifically liquid drop art?
I have always been interested in photography, but most of what I did earlier on was family pics. Now with the digital age and an empty nest, I have been able to learn more about photography. For my 60th birthday, my family gave me a macro lens to go with my Rebel XTi. Shortly after that I was part of a large downsizing in a company I had been employed with for a number of years. With this unexpected time on my hands, I decided to try the water drops and quickly fell in love with them. I discovered a knack for these and never looked back.
Spiderman by Corrie White
What gear do you shoot with, and what other materials do you need? What’s your setup like for taking these pictures?
The first (and current) camera I used was a Rebel XTi, then I upgraded to a Canon 50D. I wore out the 50D, so now I am in the market for another upgrade. I use a Canon 100mm Macro lens. A sturdy tripod is necessary, and I use three flash guns right now—a Speedlite 430EX and two Speedlite 580EX's. I use food dye to colour the drops as well as coloured gels for the flash guns.
My set-up is quite simple with the Time Machine, which also includes the control box for the drip kit and reservoir. The reservoir is attached to a tripod which is centered over the water tray. Behind the water tray, I use frosted glass which diffuses the light from the flash guns situated at various angles behind the glass. The camera is on a tripod a short distance in front of the water tray.
I have a lengthy tutorial
on DIY Photography which may be of interest for people who want to try liquid drop art.
In your opinion, what makes your work different from anyone else’s?
There are a lot of good water drop artists around now. I was fortunate to first develop the three-drop splash which I had never seen before. I was able to create some unique forms and techniques. I try to be creative and artistic with my drops. It gets more difficult now to come up with something unique. Usually, it's all been done before, so I try to keep changing and finding something new.
Three Flash Splash by Corrie White
Do you often have to leave the water drop shapes up to chance, or do you have a predetermined way of creating specific shapes like mushrooms, planets, and spinning tops?
I usually calculate the settings for certain shapes I want. I don't do the basic shapes much anymore. I don't like repetition. I go to a certain stage and keep pushing the limits until something new happens. It's getting harder now to find new shapes. I try to concentrate more on the artistic side or try for something with a different technique such as the multiple flash splashes or the splashes with the second flash showing the effects under the water surface.
Above and Below by Corrie White
How many shots do you take before you find the right one? How much post-processing do you do after, and with which program(s)?
The number of shots varies greatly. I can't give you a number, but if I'm going for perfection, it may take quite a few. If the focus isn't right or the result is off balance, etc., I keep trying until I get it right. I use Photoshop CS4 for post-processing. I lighten the image if it's too dark, I might use a small colour boost, I clean up unsightly little bubbles or stray drops, etc., and then I sharpen a bit. The shape of the drop itself is never altered.
Which photographers or artists inspire you the most?
His Liquid Sculptures were the first I ever saw a few years ago. I was spellbound by them and kept going back many times to look at them. I never thought such a thing was possible. Little did I know I would be doing some years later.
What advice do you have for photographers who might want to try liquid drop photography?
Use patience, persistence and perseverance! You don't find the sweet spots right away. Find the tutorials on the web—there are many ways to do water drops. Choose the one that works for you and stick with it.
Lady in White by Corrie White
For more of Corrie's photography, check out her 500px page and her website.