Photographing Water Drops

  • Hack Details: Water drops have a fascinating if short life. Photographing them is difficult, but not impossible: I’d like to build a simple hardware setup to make this kind of photography available to all. This will require a simple valve mechanism to generate a drip-on-demand, a sensor to detect the drip falling, and a trigger mechanism for a digital SLR, using an Arduino + simple electronics. I have the camera, trigger cable, Arduino and tons of electronics & wood. I also have some fluroscene and UV LEDs to add some fun if it actually works.
  • What you need to make it happen? Need to build a simple frame, work out the drip sensor (IR sensor?) write a bit of software on the Arduino to fire the camera trigger. And maybe a UV LED array “flash”.
  • Name: Mike
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One comment on “Photographing Water Drops
  1. Brian Nitz says:

    I might be able to help with this. I’ve done the electronics and coding part of it in the past. You’ll need:

    Arduino or similar microcontroller (could even be a bare AVR ATiny85 if you want to keep the cost down to around a Euro)

    A phototransistor or photodiode (I think the photodiode is faster but the phototransistor is more sensitive. A photoresistor (CdS/Cadmium Sulfide) is much too slow)

    Bright LEDs – I used a pocket torch but it struck me that those Ikea gooseneck solar LED lams might be ideal

    Some kind of current amplifier because the Arduino pins can’t put out enough current to drive much more than a single small LED. I used transistors I found buried in a football pitch but someone suggested high current inverter chips. uln2803 with 8 channels, 500mA per channel.

    I didn’t do the mechanical bit, for the drip maker I used an ordinary tap.

    It’s called a flow cyclometer and if the drip rate is steady, you can stop or reverse the drops. It’s very cool looking:

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