Drip Kit15 for High Speed Drop Photography

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    30-Nov-2015

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Everything you need to know for High Speed Drop Photography.

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<ul><li><p>Drip Kitfor the Time Machine</p><p>Mumford Micro Systems3933 Antone Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110</p><p>(805) 687-5116info@bmumford.com</p><p>www.MumfordMicro.com</p><p>Parasol LaunchCopyright 2013 by Corrie White</p></li><li><p>Page 2</p><p>Table of Contents</p><p>Drip Kit Introduction ............................................................................... 3Hardware setup ...................................................................................... 3Different types of support stands ............................................................ 4Cable diagram ........................................................................................ 7Care of the water valve........................................................................... 6Camera setup ......................................................................................... 8Time Machine Drops Mode .................................................................... 8Multiple drops ....................................................................................... 10Optical sensor........................................................................................11Getting started with drop photography ................................................. 12Quick start ............................................................................................ 12Detailed procedure ............................................................................... 14</p><p>Arrangement.................................................................................. 14Aperture and ISO .......................................................................... 14Exposure time ............................................................................... 15The sequence of events ................................................................ 15Focus............................................................................................. 15First shots ...................................................................................... 15The spout ...................................................................................... 16Fluid level ...................................................................................... 16Drop size ....................................................................................... 17Valve height ................................................................................... 18Keep notes .................................................................................... 18Two drop collisions ........................................................................ 18Three drops ................................................................................... 19Alignment ...................................................................................... 19Fluids ............................................................................................. 20Additives ........................................................................................ 20Color .............................................................................................. 21</p><p>A little history ........................................................................................ 21Troubleshooting .................................................................................... 21Good advice ......................................................................................... 22</p><p>Time Machine Group On FlickrThere is a user Group for the Time Machine and Drip Kit on Flickr. Its a forum for people to share ideas and images. Join the Group and share your pictures and ideas about drip photography.</p><p>http://www.flickr.com/groups/timemachine/</p></li><li><p>Page 3</p><p>Drip KitThe Drip Kit is used to photograph single or multiple water drops with the Time Machine and an electric water valve accessory. It allows you easily photograph single drops and splashes or more complex drop collisions. The Time Machines Drop Mode allows you to define the parameters of drop size and spacing, and then triggers the camera shutter and an off camera flash to capture the precise instant you want. The Drip Kit was designed to be the easiest way to set up water drop photography and shoot spectacular images.</p><p>To use the Drop Mode you must first set up the Drip Kit, which contains the following items:</p><p>A water reservoir and valve A mounting plate or barA threaded rodA control boxA push button to trigger a drop sequenceA cable to connect the water valve to the control boxA cable to connect the push button to the Time MachineAn add-on spout to emit larger dropsA short plastic rod with which to clear a stuck water valve</p><p>Youll also need:A Time MachineA support from which to hang the water reservoir (more on this shortly)A camera and shutter cable for the Time MachineA tripod for the cameraAn off-camera flash (or two) and cable(s) for the Time MachineA drop tank filled with water for the drops to fall into</p><p>Hardware SetupThere are several easy ways to support the drop bottle. One may be more convenient for you than the others. All of these are easy to set up, and will take just a couple of minutes to assemble if you already have the parts. Here are the basic types:</p><p>You can use a standard tripod to support the water valve. (We have included all the parts you need to use this method.)You can use a standard photographic copy stand to support the bottle.You can make a simple support from 1/2 iron plumbing pipe.You can build a support structure from wood. This is considerably more work.</p></li><li><p>Page 4</p><p>The water valve is available joined to the drop bottle or separate from it. The joined arrangement is the easiest to use, because you only need one support for both. Just slip the bottle over the threaded rod and youre ready to go.</p><p>If you got the valve and bottle as separate components, thread the valve bracket onto the threaded rod and tighten the wing nut to hold it in place. You will need to find a separate location for the drop bottle. If you are building your own wooden structure to hold the valve and bottle, you can mount the valve with a wood screw through the hold in the bracket. The advantage of the separate bottle is that you can raise or lower it relative to the valve, and change the pressure of the water coming through the valve.</p><p>Using a standard tripodSet a small tripod on a work table. Thread the stainless steel rod that came with your Drip Kit into the threaded hole in one end of the included mounting plate or bar. Screw the plate onto the top of your tripod with the 1/4-20 threaded hole at the other end. Slip the water reservoir over the end of the threaded rod, with the water valve on the outside. Plug one end of the power cable into the top of the water valve.</p><p>Valve attached to the bottle Valve separate from the bottle</p></li><li><p>Page 5</p><p>Using a copy standIf you have a copy stand thats about 18 tall, it makes a handy valve support. At the time of this writing, you can buy a 12 x 19 desktop copy stand from B&amp;H Photo for $58. </p><p>Screw the threaded rod into the side of the plastic mounting block at one end. Fasten the block to the copy stand with the hole at the other end of the plastic block. Hang the drop bottle from the threaded rod.</p><p>Using 1/2 plumbing pipeThese parts should all cost less than $35. Purchase the following at a hardware store:</p><p>An 1/2 iron pipe nipple, 18 long.An 1/2 iron pipe nipple, 6 long.A 1/2 iron pipe union.Two floor flanges to match the pipe.A board to mount this to. For example, </p><p>a melamine covered shelf board.Four 3/4 inch pan head sheet metal </p><p>screws to hold the flange to the board.</p><p>Four large diameter fender washers for the screws, big enough to cover the holes in the flange.</p><p>Mount the flange near one edge of the board with the screws and fender washers. </p><p>Drill a 1/4 hole through the middle of the 1/2 union. Or, if youre able, drill a #7 hole and tap it 1/4-20.</p></li><li><p>Page 6</p><p>Join the two pipes with the union.Screw the long pipe into the flange. Cut a section of the shelf board for the top shelf.Screw the other floor flange to this.Screw the top shelf onto the short pipe.</p><p>Screw the valve bracket onto the threaded rod, and slide the threaded rod into the hole in the pipe. Put the drop bottle on the top shelf. If you dont have a separate valve, just slide the drop bottle onto the threaded rod.</p><p>After you have hung the drop bottle...Place your drop tank (a baking disk, bowl, or coffee cup) under the water valve and fill it with water. Fill the water reservoir with colored water.</p><p>Place the Time Machine and Drip Kit control box in a convenient location near the drop tank.</p><p>Note: There is a 9-volt battery inside the control box. This battery powers the water valve. You will not need to change it very often, because the water valve is only on for small fractions of a second. But dont forget that the battery is needed and is inside the control box. To change the battery, remove the two screws in the bottom of the control box. If you dont use the control box for a month or more, you may want to remove the battery to prevent it from leaking.</p><p>The following diagram illustrates how the various components are connected.</p><p>1) Plug the cable from the control box into the Shutter Jack of the Time Machine. 2) Plug the extension cord from the push button into the Time Machine Sensor Jack. 3) Plug the power cable from the water valve into the control box.4) Plug the shutter cable for your camera into the control box. 5) Plug your off-camera flash into the Time Machine Flash Jack.</p><p>To test your setup, turn on the Time Machine or hit RESET. Water should stream out of the valve for about one second. Hit reset a time or two to confirm its working and the valve is ready to drip.</p><p>This completes the setup of the hardware.</p><p>Care of the water valveThe water valve in the Drip Kit is very durable and weve been using them for several years. But its easy to imagine that hard water will leave a residue that will eventually cause the valve to fail. Theres no way around this. If at all possible, use deionized water, like you would use in a clothes iron for the same reasons. And be sure to rinse out drip fluids (like milk) that will leave a residue. </p><p>To clean the valve at the end of a session, rinse the drop bottle with clean water, then fill it with warm water and put it on your stand. Press the MODE button on the Time Machine </p></li><li><p>Page 7</p><p>until the LCD screen says Bulb Flash.... Press BEGIN four times, and the valve should open. Let the water drain out of the drop bottle. Hit MODE to stop the flow. Refill the drop bottle with clean water, and press BEGIN again to flush the valve a second time.</p><p>If the water valve sits idle for some time it may stick and not open. If this happens, you can press a thin object into the bottom opening and free up the valve. We have included a short length of thin nylon rod for this purpose. </p><p>If the valve fails we can replace it. But it would be prudent to consider preventive care. </p></li><li><p>Page 8</p><p>Camera SetupThe camera will be placed on a tripod in front of the drop tank and focused on the spot where the drops will fall. To focus, place a bolt or other small object where the drops land. Then manually focus the camera on this bolt. Keep the camera in manual focus. </p><p>Set the camera to an exposure time thats a little bit longer than the time it takes a drop to fall. You can probably start with an exposure time of 1/2 second, assuming the water valve is about 18 inches above the drop tank. This is the typical arrangement. When the Drip Kit is triggered, the shutter will open for half a second, giving time for the drops to fall and the flash to fire. Then the shutter will close automatically.</p><p>The best lens to use for water drops is a macro lens. A typical lens for Canon users is the 100mm macro. But you can use what you have, as long as the drop nearly fills the frame, and your camera is not so close that it gets splashes on it.</p><p>LightingThe arrangement of the lighting is where you will express your artistic vision. This is a very rich field that cannot be covered briefly. Many people on the internet describe their lighting arrangements, and you can get some good ideas there. To help you get started, one common arrangement is to put a couple of flashes on each side of the drop tank pointed at the drop. Or, you can put a white (or colored) card behind the drop tank and bounce your flashes off of that. Or you may put a sheet of translucent glass or plastic behind the drop tank and put the lights behind it, pointed towards the drop. Or you may use a combination of these. You can also put colored filters over the flashes. This is an area ripe for experimentation and developing your vision. Start with a setup and try to imagine how your image might be improved by moving the lights around.</p><p>The Time Machine Drops ModeYoure now ready to use the Time Machine. First, be sure the Output Mode of the Time Machine is set to Shutter. This is one of the Configuration settings described at the beginning of the Time Machine instruction book. Also be sure Force Flash is set to OFF. This is also done with the Configuration mode of the Time Machine. These settings will already be correct unless you have changed them. </p><p>Press the MODE button on the Time Machine until the LCD screen says:Drops...</p><p>Press BEGIN. The LCD screen will say something similar to:Drop count: 1</p><p>This allows you to choose the number of drops that will fall for each picture. To increase the value, press the PLUS key. To decrease the value, press the MINUS key. Use 1 for single drops or 2 for drop collisions. You can enter as many as 255 drops, but youll probably never use more than 2, or maybe 3. In the beginning use Drop count: 1.</p><p>The LCD screen will say something similar to:Drop size: 0.050</p></li><li><p>Page 9</p><p>The Drop size is the time (in seconds) that the electric water valve will be open. The longer it is open, the larger the drop will be. Typical values are from 0.04 to 0.080 seconds. You may wish to experiment with different values. To increase the value, press the PLUS key. To decrease the value, press the MINUS key. Also make these changes in small increments to judge the effect.</p><p>If the value is too big, youll get a messy drop. If the value is too small, youll get no drop at all. The larger the drop, the faster it will fall. The value will also need to be changed for different fluids. Thick fluids will need a larger value.</p><p>Though the setting is called Drop Size, this is not entirely accurate. The actual size of the drop is determined by physics. When the drop has enough weight to overcome the surface tension that holds it up, the drop will fall. If the valve is open longer than this, additional droplets will form and fall too. These additional droplets are very useful.</p><p>The drop size is affected by the nozzle on the water valve. I have experimented extensively with different nozzles, and the brass tip supplied with your Drip Kit is the best I have found. But you can take it off, and the smaller nozzle will make smaller drops.</p><p>When the LCD screen shows the value you wish...</p></li></ul>