Shooting Challenge: Plunge

Breaking through the surface tension of water. Maybe it's symbolic. Maybe it just looks cool. Either way, for this week's Shooting Challenge, you'll capture plunging into water. But don't worry. You can take a photo just like this lead shot.

The Challenge

Capture a photo of something or someone plunging into water (or other liquid).

The Technique

Today's challenge is actually inspired by this tutorial on Photo Extremist.


They use a 10-gallon fishtank ($12 at Walmart), a few flashes an foam board for the background. Something is dropped into the tank, and high speed photography handles the rest. You can read the full text methodology here, if video isn't your thing.

The Example

Our lead photo is by Evan Sharboneau, from the above tutorial itself. I particularly love the simple illusion of this apparent water wall, created merely by rotating the photo by 90 degrees. And it's also remarkable that the dry part of the frame (the left) actually looks far wetter than the calm waters on the right. It's just a generally neat effect, and I'm excited to see where you go with it. I wonder how different it could look by merely repositioning flash. In this instance, there's a flash directly above the tank (left side of the frame here) to create texture and shadow, while another aims almost from the camera's perspective, to provide general illumination.

The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to contests@gizmodo.com, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

Send your best photo by Monday, Nov 7th at 8AM Eastern to contests@gizmodo.com with "Plunge" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnamePlunge.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnamePlungeWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.