Still life with dissolving flowers by Dina Belenko

1 Props

Adding action to your still life is always a good idea. Spilled coffee, falling sprinkles, or rising steam are  wonderful tools to bring your image to life.

How about adding to this toolkit some dissolving flowers or fruits?

This trick is extremely simple and flexible: you can make a picture with vaporising flowers, disintegrated vegetables or „cloud cocktail“ in, say,  martini glass. All you need is your still life items (in my case it’s glass bottles, scissors and sprigs of lavender), a fish tank (avoid fish bowls, their walls may add some distracting reflections), a syringe and some paint. I favor  acrylic paint, it is much denser than water and forms lovely opaque clouds. But ink, food dye or even mix of food dye and milk can produce wonderful results.

The gear you will need is rather simple too: a camera,  a tripod and any light source suitable for shooting splashes (in my case it’s two speedlights, large diffuser and a reflector). Let’s get started!

Prepare the props.

Collect all the props you need and make sure you have means to fix them in place if they aren’t heavy enough to stay underwater. I had to glue my flowers to the bottles to prevent them from floating.

1 Props

Mix the colour tone.

Use some water to make acrylic paint a bit less dense and mix the colour to match the tone of  your main object. It doesn’t have to be 100% correct, just close enough.

2 Mixing


Arrange a simple composition, leaving some space for a cloud of colour, and carefully fill the fish tank with water.

3 Composition


The scene is light, with two speedlights, set on the low power (from 1/8 up to 1/128 power provides a very short pulse that will freeze the motion of liquid), one on the right side of the fish tank, other behind a large diffuser (which also serves as a background). Also there is reflector on the left front side — to soften  shadows.

4 Light


Set your camera on a continuous mode to make several shots in a row. Pour some paint from a  syringe slightly behind your object.  Try make the paint touch it, but not get in front of it. Take a sequence of shots while paint is making beautiful clouds.

5 pour


Choose the best shot and give it a little polish. You can add some details from other shots, adjust colours and contrast and delete all random dust particles and scratches. Voila!

7 Final

Disintegrated broccoli

Disintegrated orange



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