Creating the Photograph: Jose Torres ” A Splash of Flavor”

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Creating the Photograph is an original series where photographers teach you about how they concepted an image, shot it, and edited it. The series has a heavy emphasis on teaching readers how to light. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com.

Jose Torres is an artist & photographer based in Central Texas that started his journey three years ago. He was already and artist, and so he just needed to learn the technical side of photography: which is what he’s been working on. So he went about learning about the settings, lighting etc. He admits that learning how to light drastically improved his imagery.

Inspired by Jason Lanier’s Workshops, Miguel Quiles’ Sony alpha tips, and Joshua Cripps’ professional photography tips, he’s been steadily moving forward with his craft.

In a recent email to the Phoblographer, I found an image of his involving a grapefruit being dropped into the water. Splash photography is always fun, and so I was curious to know how he did this one.

Here’s his story; and be sure to check out his Facebook and Instagram for more.

The Concept

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I wanted to capture & freeze the motion of an object as it hit the surface of the water. It is also inspiration from an old drawing I had made two years ago: “The falling rose”

The Gear

1) Sony a6000
2) Tripod: MeFOTO backpacker
3) 50mm f/1.8 prime lens
4) Sony RM-VPR1 shutter release
5) Two HVL-F32M speedlight flashes & one HVL-F20M external flash.
6) Interfit 28″ s-type foldable softbox with Bowens s-mount bracket.
7) Gary Fong collapsible lightsphere
8) LEDgo LG-B160c
9) 10 gal. fish tank from Petsmart
10) Westcott x-drop 5’x7′ black backdrop

The Shoot

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I ​thought I should make a hand drawn lighting diagram since I am an artist 😉

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The process included using a sliced grape fruit, 2 speedlights on modifiers Left: interfit 28″ s-type foldable softbox & Right: A Gary Fong collapsible lightsphere as well an LEDgo, Center: a small 10 gallon fish tank, Background: Westcott x-drop 5’x7′ black backdrop, Camera: Sony a6000 mounted on MeFOTO tripod.

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I placed my fish tank on a foldable table, filled it half way with water, set up my backdrop 2-3 ft behind it, set 1st flash on a lightstand with softbox: camera left, just a bit above the tank and a Gary Fong lightsphere on the 2nd flash: right side of the tank, as well as an LED for focusing light & to be able to see the action.

Finally I grabbed a grape fruit and sliced it in half, I then auto focused on the grape fruit slice while holding it in the spot that it will land on, once focus was set I switch it to manual focus.

Now the fun part begins.

Everything was done by myself while using a shutter release remote on one hand and dropping the grape fruit slice with the other. It took me about 35 tries to get a drop that I liked about a 1ft drop, the grape fruit had to be in the right position and the splash had to be perfect it’s all about good timing + lots of trial & error.

Post Production

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The post on this photo was really simple. The raw image had basic editing in Lightroom: exposure, contrast, and saturation.

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​Exported to Photoshop: some dodge & burn around the circumference of the grape fruit to avoid overexposing the flash glare on the splash and a bit more of saturation.

Before/ After

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After