To find out what a water droplet does when it splashes I have taken 42 images of water droplets.
The first image is 85 milliseconds after triggering an IR beam, each subsequent image is 5 milliseconds later. This sequence covers 210 milliseconds during the life of a water droplet.
Using this information allows me to decide what images give the best composition and at what time they occur.
This sequence was taken with a water bottle suspended above the work area and a narrow tube from the underside of the bottle was clamped above a tray containing diluted milk. Directly below the tube was a IR trigger system connected to a time delay system which triggers the camera and two flashguns after the required delay. The pink tone on the milk is from a sheet of coloured paper positioned behind the tray of milk, one flashgun illuminated the background and the second was directed at the droplet.
All of the images were taken at 1/250 second @ f16 iso 100 with a 100mm macro lens on a tripod mounted Canon 40D. In order to freeze the droplets both flash guns were set to 1/128th of full power which gives a flash duration of approximately 1/35,000 of a second.
An AVI animation of the 42 frames (equivalent of 210 frames per second video) – note file is 1.8Mb