Sitting at the bar down by our lake, drowning my sorrows, lamenting not making it to Utah this year, it dawned on me that I’ve never really taken many toy photos in the lake’s water.

Maybe it’s that thing where you don’t notice things in your own backyard. You know, because you see them all the time, they somehow become humdrum. Or maybe it’s just because I built a bar down by the lake and a beer is more enticing than toys?

Anyway, as I scrolled though the #UTToyPhotoSafari posts and stories, I decided the rectify this. I finished my beer, and trudged up the hill to our home and grabbed all the gear I’d need.

Water: Hungry, hungry hippo

Hungry, hungry hippo

What I grabbed

  • A remote shutter control
  • Tripod
  • Camera
  • LumeCube
  • A can of compressed air
  • Toys
  • Another beer (although this had nothing to do with taking toy photos)

Sure, I could’ve set up a scene and photographed it taking advantage of the reflections, but I wanted movement. And that’s why I grabbed the can of compressed air.

Water: Aqua Ambush

Aqua Ambush

What I learned

  • Set the camera up as far away from the water as possible. I learned this quickly as I sat on the lake edge wiping water from the lens.
  • Set the shutter speed as fast as possible to best capture the splash. I set it at 1/1000 for these photos.
  • Patience. Capturing the precise moment the air hit the water and the splash was just right took quite a few attempts. Setting the camera to shoot images continuously helped get capture the photo I was after.
  • Mistakes are sometimes wonderful surprises.

One photo that I first thought was destined for the scrapheap turned out to be more intriguing than I’d first thought.

water: Oops! Or maybe not...

Oops! Or maybe not…

An overzealous burst of air from can blew the stegosaurus over. It created a tidal wave of water. And it also blew mist as well as a blast of air. As I scrolled though the images on my camera, I also deleted this one. Once I imported it into Lightroom, I’m happy I didn’t.

Do you have any tips to share about photographing toys in water and creating splashes?

– Brett

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