Water Stills

A few weeks ago I found this short article in the New Yorker that introduced a recent series of photographs by artist Kim Keever. The photographs are colorful, mesmerizing, and almost surreal shots of ink clouds in water. Inspired, I decided to try my own series of cool water images. I couldn’t find any ink (and couldn’t figure out how to get ink out of my pens) so I tried the magic of food coloring:


I absolutely love the way the final photos turned out. The images aren’t remotely cloud-like like Keever’s, but I love the crisp wavy lines that the food coloring carves out of the water, and I love the sharp richness of the blue. If you’re looking for a fun way to take still photography, try taking these easy water stills!

All you’ll need is,

  • a sunny spot in your house
  • one of your mom’s tall crystal glasses
  • water
  • and blue food coloring

It’s a little bit hard to focus the camera and shoot with one hand while you drop food coloring with the other, so grab a younger brother if you can and tell him to slowly pump out drops of blue while you shoot.


Some tips to help you out:

  • When composing — shooting against a white wall works especially well because it gives the food coloring a crisp background; remember that the water will be clear, so create a background to your advantage!
  • When editing — focus on playing with exposure, highlights, and contrast; this will make your stills look very precise and focused.


Happy still-photographing!



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