How the magic is done - Drops of water

Juliana Nan is specialized towards exquisite floral motives, where well placed drops of water are in focus. Today she will tell us how they are made.

Nikon D300s, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, 1/13s, f/2.8, ISO200, extension tube.


I had the desire for making the subtle beauty visible. I wanted to express the music I was hearing in my soul with colors and light, with passion and love. I couldn't express it with words, but while creating the images my soul was deeply touched. God is communicating through the unlimited beauty which is around us everywhere in nature. Through my artwork I try to connect to His creation and to express the invisible.

I set an extension tube N-AF UNIPLUS TUBE 12 KENKO. The camera was mounted on a tripod, no flash was used, spot metering was performed. This image was taken in an improvised home studio. I used a small standard lamp and the available room light for illuminating the scene.

The flower is a pink chrysanthemum with the stem cut close to the flower’s head. A water droplet was added on the highest petal using a dropping glass. The reflection in the droplet comes from another flower that what placed in the background behind as well as a glass pane which was misted with an aerosol can to achieve the desired bokeh. The light from the small standard lamp comes from the left side. I took several images using different angles until I managed the best result of the reflection in the droplet. Shooting from straight above the flower is not useful as it produces flat and boring images. Shooting by using a position similar to the level of the flower and varying the angles is how I prefer to work.

This is beyond words, beyond the world we know, but I was deeply satisfied with the result I could achieve in the ‘Song of My Soul’ image.

My tips to others would be - be persistent and don't give up. Be inspired by the beauty all around, be passionate and love what you do. Stay true to your heart and most of all have fun and enjoy it. My images are reflections of my soul.


The post processing was done in PS CS5. The image was in a jpg format. I started using the dodge tool with the settings exposure 5%, hardness 3% to achieve a light, soft effect. I duplicated the layer and the plug-in filter called ‘flood’ was used for enhancing the reflection on the pane. Then I added a black mask and unmasked only the parts I needed. The next step was merging the layers. I made a new layer copy and used the ‘Fractalius’ plug-in filter for achieving a playful, delicate effect on the petals. Black mask was added and only certain parts were unmasked. The droplet was kept in its original form. At the end I flattened the image. When the desired outcome was achieved, the ‘selective color’ tool was used and I worked on each color individually. Working with the colors is a very important part of my workflow. I finished the post-processing with slightly reducing the noise and sharpening the image by using the Noiseware Professional plug-in. 


Juliana Nan is a passionate photographer from Bulgaria. She is an amature photographer with four years of experience. She is much appreciated for her own niche of floral motives.

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