Splash Photography Arduino Timing Rig

splash photography arduino timed dice in water

Have you ever wondered how a picture like the splashing dice above was taken? Maybe you assumed the photographer had excellent timing (which is possible), but with this howto article from Make, you don’t have to rely on timing or luck, you can actually predict when the splashdown will happen and trigger the camera appropriately.

If you remember back to high school physics class, distance (d) traveled by a falling object is predicted by: d = 1/2gt^2 or you can just guess, as they do in the howto. The Make setup shown below starts a falling object with a solenoid, meaning that there will be a set time until the object hits the water. Whether you guess or calculate, things should be consistent once calibrated. Quite clever.

splash photography arduino rig setup diagram

When I saw this splash photography rig, I thought that they were going to use a sensor to predict when the falling object was about to hit the water. If you could find an appropriate sensor for this, I think that would be a good way to do it. On the other hand, those kind of sensors can be expensive, and there would still need to be some guesswork, since you might have to offset it to not get in the way of the shot…

I’ll add this to the list of projects that I probably won’t get to. Anyone try something like this? Let me know in the comments!

GoPro Hockey Puck Mount for Steady Shots

GoPro hockey puck mount

You can stick the GoPro mounts on nearly anything, but, according to this Reddit post, it’s a great way to hold a GoPro for long periods of time without being as conspicuous or bulky as a tripod. Pucks won’t mar the surface they’re placed on either, so that can be helpful. More details and pictures of this build can be found here.

I keep having the thought that this “GoPro hockey puck” could be adapted to work with a larger camera, like a DSLR, if a puck had a 1/4-20 screw sticking up towards the back. I don’t live in an area where hockey pucks are common, so I may have to order one from Amazon if I want to try it… Two-day shipping is good, but it’s still not as convenient as having an old one laying around!

A New Ring light for Macro Photography

salt robot ring light

salt robot ring light (more info). Note LED ring reflection in eyes.

I’ve experimented with macro photography before, but the lighting can be quite difficult to get right since the lens is generally in the way. Fortunately, there is an alternative called a “ring light.” I bought this model for around $30 on Amazon, and I’ve put my results in a gallery after the “read more” link.

You can also use it as a flash-alternative for relatively close-up shots, like the below photo of a dog toy.  It also works for video lighting.  For photography, I found it best to turn the light on continuous instead of flash, as it won’t adjust your exposure settings for you in this mode (at least I haven’t figured it out yet), and you’d have to compensate for it manually.


Dog Toy – ring light on continuously

washed out ring flash

Overexposed with ring flash

One thing that was a challenge using this was getting my macro adapter (Amazon), which has two male threads, to fit onto the male-threaded adapter for the light. This was easily accomplished by Continue reading