This is a rather significant photo to me because it has set my course to
surrealistic and conceptual photography.
1 - The fluid. I have tried numerous kinds of liquid, including honey,
oil, milk and even cough syrup but it is extremely challenging to shoot
all the above liquid. After numerous experiments, I finally settled with
corn syrup. The sticky nature of the syrup was perfect for this
2 - The practice. To obtain the satisfactory thickness I have to keep
trying pouring out the liquid. This is the key element for the setup. Too
thin you would to have superb reflexes to capture the shot, too thick it
would drives you nuts trying to pour it out. I also find that the
practices are best carried out in the kitchen. Imagine having this sticky
stuff spilling all over the place! My preparation started as early as 3am
in the morning. Dad woke up and asked me what the hell was I cooking, and
I replied "Naaah just preparing for the set". He slapped his
forehead and went off. I didn't even take a look at him because I was so
busy preparing the syrup!
3 - The setup. After about 1Kg of corn flour wasted I finally got the
right mixture. I rubbed the surface of a stool with wax and then used
tissue to smoothen the surface gently. The idea was to creat a water
resistant surface so that I could maintain the pearl-shape form when the
syrup falls down. A few drops of water were utilized to complement the
4 - Lighting. The reason I woke up 3.am in the morning was that I wanted
to prepare early, so that I could catch the morning ray. There is a window
in my house where Mr. Sun would shine very nicely on a white wall. I
wanted to use the reflection from the white wall to shoot in backlit.
However, that day, Mr. Sun was very cooperative but Ms. Cloud didn't show
much of interests in my quest for taking better photography. It was an
overcast day. That spoiled my plan. I have to shoot it in my room instead.
I used a 500W sport light and bounced the light off the wall.
5 - Getting the shot. I learned that I couldn't just pour the liquid out.
Doing so was the result of my failure in many attempts. I positioned the
cup on top of the other and use a pencil to guide the 'tail'. Thanks to
the right mixture, it is interesting to see a 'long tail' being drag out
from the syrup.
After 3 days of tireless sessions and 3x36 rolls of film later, I finally
got this shot.