Thursday, June 23, 2022
Art Discovery Entertainment & Culture Photography Visuals

Norwegian Photographer Makes Droplets Of Liquid Look Like Blown Glass Sculptures

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When we think about sculptures, we usually tend to associate these with objects of art made out of modelling clay, malleable metals such as bronze or copper alloys, and glass materials. As well, wood carvings, ice sculptures and marble or stone statues come to one’s mind. Basically, we just think of any solid sculpting materials that can be transformed into an artwork. But, have you ever watched raindrops hit the ground or splash in a puddle of water, and wondered what it would be like to see these drops in slow motion? Or just, maybe, frozen in time?

This one photographer has perfected a particular technique of manipulating liquids and has been taking photos to make each droplet appear like a masterpiece. What can we say, he has a way with water! Norwegian photographer Ronny Tertnes has literally created liquid sculptures by using ultra high speed photography, flash rigs, smoke and different types of liquids with various consistencies.

Although his camera is pretty basic (Canon EOS 7D + 100mm f/2.8L macro lens), Tertnes, a full time IT administrator by day, captures the images of these droplets as if they were some malleable solid material and makes them seem like blown glass figurines. A bit of Photoshop is used in the process, but most of the photos are done in camera with the combination of the Splash art drip kit, a back-poster technique and water additives to obtain the different consistencies and “popping” structure.

Having acquired a vast knowledge of manipulating liquids, Tertnes has demonstrated his expertise and precision in just when and how the camera should be clicked to capture the liquids in their full momentum, just at the right moment the drop hits the surface. By mixing water with various substances, this alters the texture, color and movement, which allows the photographer to freeze his image and create these phenomenal ‘dancing’ abstract water artworks. However, this whole process requires much patience and experimentation, with lots of trials and errors involved to obtain the desired shapes.

“When using water, I usually have some food dye in it and about 1/4 teaspoon of “guar gum” mixed with two cups of warm water that is going to be the actual droplets… (then let the water cool),” mentions Tertnes on his Facebook account.

Some of the images will even make one “see” or associate identifiable objects or shapes that one encounters in their daily life; in the same way as laying on the grass, watching the clouds pass by and seeing specific shapes in them.

The gear used and settings for the drop photography:
(as specified by Ronny Tertnes on his facebook account)


  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D
  • Lens: Canon ef 100mm f/2.8L macro is usm
  • Flash: Canon EX 580 II & Canon EX 430 (on most of the images only the 580 flash is used)
  • To make the splash: Splash art drip kit mk II
  • A Sturdy Giottos Tripod

Settings M(manual):

  • Manual focus – image stabilizer off
  • ISO: 100 or 200 depending on the liquid and background used
  • f/16
  • 1/250 (max sync speed when using flash)

See more of Ronny Tertnes’ awesome photography on his facebook and 500px page.

Visit his webshop for prints available for sale.

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