Fancy electronics can make taking great photos easier, but no all of us have the cash to purchase everything we need. However, if you have some time on your hands and a knack for building, you can master "splash" shots, like the one above, with a DIY rig comprised of wood, a solenoid and an Arduino Uno.
The tutorial comes to us via Thomas Burg and Johannes Gottwald over at MAKE and while experimentation is required, they do provide the essential details for shooting strawberries being dropped into cups of water (or spoons of milk).
Firstly, you need to break down each step of the shoot to understand how they come together to form final, dramatic image:
Modern electronic flashes emit light for only a very small fraction of a second (less than 1 millisecond). If the room is otherwise dark, this will freeze the action ... Getting the moment right This is the real trick. Before building this project, we relied on trial and error, somewhat along the lines of: a. Drop object b. Do a mental count of how long it'll take for the object to hit the surface c. Manually release the flash d. Pray for a "hit"
For the more visually-orientated, the pair provide a diagram to show how their rig was configured:
Image by Thomas Burg & Johannes Gottwald
Obviously, humans aren't the best at millisecond accuracy and exacting replication, which is where the Arduino steps in. It controls the timing of the flash and the dropping of the object, so you can worry about the right camera settings and positioning.
More details on the setup, as well as the resulting photos, can be found on MAKE.