Earlier this week I saw an image that I couldn’t get out of my head until I tried it
… can you see why!?
Fun, right?! … and perfect for summer. So, let’s talk about how I got the shot.
1. Find an Assistant. I quickly volunteered my Wild Thing, who was enthralled with his Legos at that moment and completely refused to help. His daddy laughed when I resorted to, “You WILL play with water balloons with me or you’ll go to your ROOM!”. And taadaa!, I had an assistant.
2. Fill the Water Balloons. I filled a dozen water balloons for this mission. I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but I filled them completely – no air bubble at the top. And I was picky about my colors. I wanted to make sure I had a summery feel so I picked yellow, blue, and orange balloons. As my assistant griped about putting on his shoes, I put the balloons in a plastic bag and we headed outside.
3. Find a Good Backdrop. There are some hedges that line our parking lot, nice and green. So, finding my spot was easy.
4. Focus and Settings. I used my 50mm lens. The original image had the following settings: f/1.4, 1/8000, ISO 800 (he mentioned it was overcast). I started there and quickly realized I needed to make adjustments. You see, my unwilling assistant
whined found the water balloons to be “toooo heeeeavyyyyy” and the balloon swayed back and further in front of me. This made it really hard to get a sharp focus at f/1.4. I adjusted to f/4 and 1/4000 which was still tricky with a moving target but still gave me the creamy background.
5. Finally, Pop the Balloon. Once I got a good focus, I held the camera with one hand and popped the balloon held by my assistant with the other. Make sure you have a good idea of where the balloon is before you start jabbing a pin towards your assistant. It’s tricky to find it from behind the camera. I held down the shutter just as I popped and took about 4-5 shots per balloon. Had I used a tripod, I could have probably got more in because my camera is pretty heavy one-handed so I had to be quick.
6. Find Your Groove. After blowing threw the balloons in about 90 shots & 3 minutes, I wasn’t sure if had anything I could use. My assistant was
whining begging to poke the last balloon, I agreed. Then it dawned on me, if I hold the balloon instead, I can get a better focus and his little hand will still be in the shot but with the pin – BRILLIANT – “here’s the gigantic pin, son, please don’t stick my arm” … Last balloon, hold your breath “GO!” and we got it!
Tip: Make sure to get a shot of the balloon BEFORE the poking starts, the water shot is cool but is even cooler when compared to the before.
Here’s a shot below that didn’t work but I still thought was pretty cool. You can see the focus is on the back half of the balloon because my assistant moved it towards the camera as I started to poke – but we had a TON of fun & lots of giggles. Ended up with a, “okay mom, you were right – that was AWESOME!”. Mission: Accomplished.