The Amazing Water Balloon Shot

Judy Horton's Amazing Water Balloon Shot #1

I was browsing the galleries of photographer Judy Horton (aka fotoeffects) and I came upon this fascinating image.  I wrote to Judy and asked how she made the shot and if she would let us share it with 2 Guys Photo readers.  Judy said “Yes!” and we’re happy to bring her technique to you.  I’m betting you’ll be as impressed as I was, not only with the image but with the ease with which Judy describes the shoot…

Judy explains:

I had seen the results of a photo contest in which the criteria was to take images at 1/1000th second shutter speed.  One of the images was of a water balloon which had been punctured and which showed the water still holding the shape of the balloon.  I was intrigued and suggested to my grandson that we try this.

I had a bunch of old balloons and we did the shooting outside.  We turned the hose on so that the water was not coming out too fast.  I stretched out the neck of the balloon and Spencer inserted the hose into it and we filled the balloon.  We did not fill it too full, as we thought that the weight of too much water would probably burst the balloon before the shooting.  Then Spencer tied the neck of the balloon and carried the balloon to the spot where we wanted to shoot.

I took the photo with my Nikon D300 and 24mm – 70 mm lens.  Spencer held the balloon up and held a pin in his other hand.  I had set the camera to shutter priority and a shutter speed of 1/1000 second.  I also set the camera to capture images in continuous mode (so that when I hold the shutter down, the camera keeps capturing images until I release it).  Spencer punctured the balloon with the pin from behind on the count of three.  I actually depressed the shutter on the count of two.  I took about four frames in the continuous mode before releasing the shutter.  The second of the shots captured the image I featured in my gallery.

Judy Horton's Amazing Water Balloon Shot #2

We repeated this with other balloons three times and each time I got at least one really nice shot.

So here are my takeaways.  You need:

  • A fast shutter speed (1/1000 sec),
  • Continuous shooting mode
  • To burst the balloon on a count of three but start shooting on two, and
  • A grandson willing to get wet!

Thanks Judy.  You make it seem so simple.  If anyone else has an example of a fast shutter speed image, please send it along.

To see more of Judy’s work, please visit her website here.  Watch for a Featured Photographer post with Judy in the near future.  And thanks for visiting 2 Guys Photo.              Posted by Ed

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About Ed Spadoni

www.2GuysPhoto.com "Thoughts and opinions, resources and experiences… for emerging photographers everywhere."
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8 Responses to The Amazing Water Balloon Shot

  1. Hillary says:

    I loved this shot when she posted it on the dailies.. great to see the step by step process.. Not sure my sons would be so agreeable..no grandchildren here yet in our family so I will have to adopt someone else’s or wait awhile as I would really love trying to do that one of these days. Thanks for sharing it! Great fun!!!

  2. I was truly fascinated by the image when I first saw it on the dailies. I’d love to try this with my kids some day. Looks like a fantastic water orb! Well done!

  3. Susan Wilde says:

    A great image. It’s nice to see a method of doing this that doesn’t involve a lot of expensive equipment.

  4. Sharkbayte says:

    Love, it! Glad to see the method used to produce this image! Now if I can only find a willing assistant.

  5. Donna McCommon says:

    I love this shot. I want to give this a try and have an idea to try with it. I will have to see if I can get one of the grandchildren to be my assistant.

    Judy does great work. I always enjoy here photos.

  6. tom reichert says:

    another awesome series by judy ! a great photographer !

  7. Judy Horton says:

    Thanks, Ed, for asking me to contribute to your blog!

  8. Howard says:

    Fascinating image with a great effect! Thanks for sharing the ‘how to,’ Judy!

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