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Surface tension

Surface tension
Photo Information
Copyright: Horia Bogdan (horia) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-09-11
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon PowerShot S2 IS
Exposure: f/4, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Your favorites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-01-09 4:59
Viewed: 6314
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 146
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Surface tension is an effect within the surface layer of a liquid that causes that layer to behave as an elastic sheet. This effect allows insects (such as the water strider) to walk on water, allows small metal objects such as needles, razor blades, or foil fragments to float on the surface of water, and causes capillary action.

Surface tension is caused by the attraction between the molecules of the liquid by various intermolecular forces. In the bulk of the liquid each molecule is pulled equally in all directions by neighboring liquid molecules, resulting in a net force of zero. At the surface of the liquid, the molecules are pulled inwards by other molecules deeper inside the liquid but they are not attracted as intensely by the molecules in the neighboring medium (be it vacuum, air or another liquid). Therefore all of the molecules at the surface are subject to an inward force of molecular attraction which can be balanced only by the resistance of the liquid to compression. Thus the liquid squeezes itself together until it has the locally lowest surface area possible.

This phenomenon is actually quite frequent in everyday life (beading of rain water on the surface of a waxed car, formation of drops etc.)

I'm sure you are familiar to this phenomenon when it comes to water striders. What i wanted to create here is a shot from a really low POV, and with a very interesting reflection. For this i laid flat down, zoomed a lot to capture my tiny subject, and after a few failed shots, this one one f the ones i liked. I know it's not exactly super sharp again, bit this time the subject was very small and quite far away, plus my camera doesn’t quite have the AF of a nice SLR lens :)

Anyway, i still hope you'll like it :)
part of the info from Wikipedia

EXIF data:
Camera: Canon S2 IS
Focal Length: 404mm (35mm equiv.)
Shutter Speed: 1/250
Metering Mode: Pattern
Exposure Bias: -1/3
ISO: 100
F-Stop: f/4
Flash: No
Support: Handheld
TOD: about 6PM

I also posted a Workshop with a flash version...fell free to share your opinion on which one is better :)

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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To odin: flash worksophoria 10 01-09 13:14
To loot: thanks Loothoria 2 01-09 06:45
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Critiques [Translate]

hi horia,
nice shot,
lovely colours,
reflection on water looks perfect,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-01-09 5:05]

Magnífica macro, un disparo inteligente y original... saludos Horia,

fantasic shot! perfect!

La photo est superbe. Le point de vue, la lumière rasante et le reflet de l'insecte montrent bien sa position et la tension de la surface de l'eau. Très beau...

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-01-09 5:38]

Hello Horia,
We need to be reminded occasionally about the physical and chemical forces of nature and your note and your natural illustration are excellent to this effect.
The colours, comp. and BG are excellent.
As you say, this is not super-sharp but all TN photo do not have to be, to be appreciated, especially when used in this sort of context.
Well done and thanks for this first rate contribution!

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2007-01-09 5:44]
  • [2] [+]

Hi Horia

This is a lovely shot to show the phenomena of “surface tension” which you so excellently explained in your notes. Great stuff.

I like the simplistic composition and the low POV you achieved. The patterns created on the surface are also very interesting and the reflection of the strider is just as clear and well detailed as the real insect. The colours are stunning; especially the lime-green of the water and you handled the exposure very well.

Good work and TFS.

PS. The S2 is an excellent little camera, but obviously it has its limitations when one wants to photograph such small objects and when the distance to the object is a significant factor. Yet I think you have done exceptionally well with this posting under the circumstances you explained.

Hello Horia !
Another splendid shot from you ! The reflection on the water is perfect, like a mirror ! Wonderful composition and POV, and beautiful colors - this tender green is absolutely awseome. Very interesting note. Thank you !

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-01-09 7:08]

Hi Horia,
An interesting way to show the surface tension effect :o) You're really creative :o)
The composition is plain and beautiful, colors are great. I liked your presentation a lot, and thank you for the informative notes. Good work.

Hi Horia,
That is a really neat shot! With this low POV you show the science of surface tension very well. The colors, detail, and reflection captured, look amazing. The photois excellent, as are the notes to explain the science of it. Very well done my friend!

  • Great 
  • odin Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 177 W: 1 N: 209] (1169)
  • [2007-01-09 7:29]
  • [+]

Nice shot Horia, i loke the composition, nice morror effet, but the picture need more details, Maybee a shot of flash will improve the details and the sharpness on the insect. Well done Sébastien

Hello Horia,
Yup S2 IS has lots of limitations. I have similar one. I had also tried to capture this insect. But these are so busy tha its very difficult to focus on. Also With full zoom (12X) its almost impossible to ge them in frame. Knowing these facts, this shot deserve all credits. Even though its not crystal clear (one more -ve point of [email protected] IS, not so clear with full size photo), it came out with great colors. You got nice composition.Dont know the cause of greenish shade in water but it perfectly suits the picture, Very well done.(I liked the note. It reminded me my school days :D)


Hello Horia,
This is a very difficult shot that you achieved very, very well. I tried once to take a picture of those insects and it is difficult as they move fast and they are very small. I must say that I prefer the one in the WS as we can see more details but this one is really good too. Thanks also for those great explanations about this phenomenon that I have noticed often but for which one I had no explanations. Well done! Thanks,

Hello Horia,

Excllent work, grerat colors Bg POV DOF Perfect details very crisp, nicly composed and capture, photo the water ia really awsome,

TFS Kyle

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-01-09 9:33]

Hi Horia.
You have done greater work. I know, how it is difficult to take such picture especially with the compact camera. Your skill is at the highest level. POV is really fantastic as well as the reproduction of the water surface and the result of action of forces of a surface tension. Such small insect is reproduced very well too. Very interesting picture accompanied by nice note. BRAVO and best regards.

Hello Horia,
Well captured!
This is an image with great educational value, very nice work!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-01-09 9:56]

Hello Horia,
this is fabulous, I tried catching simular water runners without any luck, you did excellent. Love the POV and the details are superp. Very interesting note to accompany your photograph.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-01-09 11:18]

Hello Horia,
Excellent close up.Well caught,framed and composed.I liked lighting and reflections on water a lot.Have a great day!

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  • dkaved Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 260 W: 17 N: 431] (2114)
  • [2007-01-09 11:20]

Hi Horia,
I am all praise for the effort you made to create an original image.The low POV is great as you have given us a 3D view clearly showing the insects imprint on the water surface.The texture of the water has been well captured.As you said not the sharpest but this doesn't matter in my opinion.Well done and TFS.
Regards, David

Magníficos detalles Horia. Buena captura, con un POV genial.
Un saludo, JL.

Ciao Horia,
what a nice pic!
Really simple in composition but excellent to see.
(the best is without flash)

bonjour horia
le POV est assez inhabituel pour ce genre d'insecte, en effet pas facile de se mettre au ras de l'eau comme cela.j'aime beaucoup le reflet et aussi la surface de l'eau legerement incurvée sous le "poid" de l'insecte.

Hello Horia
Beautiful shot and illustration of the surface tension (your note is excellent too)! Sharpness, composition are perfect for me. And I like the green soft tones of the water.

Hi Horia,
For sure the one without the flash is best. The colors are so more natural and it has a more warm feel to it. I am sure that if you had your DSRL the shot was even better. Yes, even, since this is already a excellent shot. The contrast between the green colored water and the water strider are awesome. The effect on the water is beautiful and your low POV is superb.

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2007-01-09 13:34]

amasing shot Horia,
this is realy differcult. My wife Teunie have try this before, very good pov, great quality job,
gr. jaap

That you had to lie flat [not on water, I guess :-)] to capture this shot calls for great appreciation. The image is stunning in effect and your note on surface tension makes it doubly interesting. The insect does look distant but that is rather irrelevant in view of what you tried to achieve here, and so very successfully!
Well done! It is a great work, indeed.

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2007-01-09 14:07]

Interesante presentación amigo mío por el detalle del insecto sostenido por la tensión del agua, con bellos colores, buen foco y excelente efecto de reflexión.
He visto la foto agregada como Workshop y pierde el encanto de la original.
Una entrega diferente, muy apropiada para su publicación.
Mis mejores saludos... Ricardo

Interesting presentation my friend for the detail of the insect sustained by the tension of the water, with beautiful colors, good focus and excellent reflection effect.
I have seen the picture added as Workshop and it loses the charm of the original one.
A different post, very appropriate for their publication.
My best greetings... Ricardo

Hi Horia.
This is a nice one. Lovely water surface, not easy to get like this, with pleasant colours, and very good details on the skater and its reflection. Interesting note too.
Thanks my friend.

I like this version best, Horia. I like the surface tension on the water and the reflection. That Powershot always amazes me.

Evelynn : )

Hello Horia,
A simple shot but so beautiful...
I like a lot the slightly waves on the surface, them adds variety to the image.
The elasticity on the surface looks so real.
Congratulations for this great shot, and kind regards,

Bonjour Horia
C'est une merveilleuse photo en macro de cet insecte sur sa mare d'eau
c'est vraiment impressionnant de la façon dont il se déplace sur l'eau,la composition est très belle , les couleurs et le cadrage et les détails sont tous très bons.Très beau BG

Bravo et merci ...JP

  • Great 
  • cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
  • [2007-01-09 20:31]

Hello Horia,
Amazing shot. It was an excellent idea to show the surface tension, and you did it with a very good POV. What amazes me are the fine details of water surface. It was a great idea to underexpose the picture.
Best greetings,

  • Great 
  • kojak Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 36 W: 0 N: 19] (163)
  • [2007-01-09 20:59]

Great macro, beautiful green colour! Great job!


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-01-09 23:42]

Hello Horia

A very artistic shot of a very scientific subject.The colours are wonderful on this shot.The water and reflections are really well done.Good low POV and well handled DOF.The details are sharp.That ripple effect is very neat.TFS


Hi Horia
Great photo. Simple presentation, very nice set of colors and great reflection in water. It looks great with white frame
Best wishes

  • Great 
  • yllen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 230 W: 0 N: 16] (641)
  • [2007-01-10 9:19]

Hola Horia:
Esta captura es espectacular! Me agradan los colores y el reflejo del insecto en la superficie del agua. Es un disparo muy oportuno y original. Se aprecia el esfuerzo del insecto para mantenerse a flote.
Muy buena tambièn la nota.¡Bravo Horia!
Saludos de: Nelly

Hi Horia
really an amazing photo with a perfect mastering of colours and sharpness...the reflection is great and the ripples in the water really teach us what surface tension is !!
Awsome photo my friend!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-01-10 11:27]

Hello Horia,
Very interesting shot - and clever experiment. I hope you didn't get too wet from this low POV!
I love the blue-light green colours, the vague ripples on the water and the reflection.
Lovely composition!
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-01-10 12:14]

Hi Horia,
This photo remind me the times when I swam in a river between hundred of this small animals that run away ahead of me.
Excellent note about surface tension and lovely shot. You have got a reasonable quality photo for such an small insect with a non SLR.
Best regards, José M.

  • Great 
  • Bufo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 404 W: 69 N: 951] (4247)
  • [2007-01-10 14:51]

you gave us a lecture in physics here. It's been a while since I had to learn that from the books and I thought I got rid of all that stuff. But 'wondering about...' is one of the the best friends if it comes to photography. You did some nice work here and looking at your flash workshop I immeadeatly must say I like the original (non flashed) image better. Great colour combination and metallic texture of the strider. Composition is also worth a double plus.
Well done,

very good POV, compo and expo.

sobject too.

bye mario

  • Great 
  • clint Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 39 W: 0 N: 237] (1371)
  • [2007-01-10 17:24]

an outstanding capture,are they ripples in the water or stress to surface tension, whatever its fantastic.
the blue colouring of the bug contrasts well against the green of the water.
a fine capture.

Nice shot, that is the way to get down on the subject, good detail and well positioned, nice work.


Hi Horia,
Awesome..simplicity! Love it. Great colour and wonderful texture in both the water and insect.

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2007-01-11 5:54]

Hi Horia.
It's amazing macro with perfect view on efect surface tension-great POV. I like him very much interesting colour of water and nice details on very small waves.Me personally like original version without flash.Very difficult shot,perfectly effected.Very instructive note too.
Great job.Thanks for sharing.
Greetings Milos

Hello Horia,
This is superb! Maybe not razor sharp but this is not the most important here. I very much like the simple composition, low POV and the reflection. The other thing that is really great here is the clear BG and it's fresh green colour. There's some lovely waves on water too which makes BG even more attractive.
Excellent job on this one!

Hello Horia,
I tried to take a picture of water strider before and couldn't get a decent picture. I have to admire this one. Not just a water strider but at a low pov and with reflection. Salut to this original.

Hi dear Horia ,
excellent shot.
well composition and sharpness.
nice colors and good light.
thanks for sharing my good friend

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2007-01-11 13:22]

Hello Horia,
Very well composed, and the colors, sharpness and lighting are excellent. TFS

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-01-11 15:33]

Hello Horia
Excellent POV with that perfect reflection of the tiny creature! Surely it was not easy, but very well thought. The note is very illustrative also.
My compliments to you and TFS.
Best wishes

Hola Horia,
Original toma y bella composición, e interesante documento con excelente nota. Saludos

Hi, Horia.
Vey nice artwork. Green colors are just beautful here and compo is also ok. Interseting effect. Looks like there are small holes in the water under legs. But want to be it a little bit sharper.

good work Horia nice note and well explained good photo nice colours and sharp well composed TFS rgds Necip.

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2007-01-12 1:30]

Hello Horia,
You succeed a simple and smart composition. Beautiful tension under legs, it remembers my wasp.
The "+++" : subject, point of view, exposure, sharpness, color of water, reflection, instructive note...
The "-" : nothing...
Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

hello horia
j'aime beaucoup la légèreté de ta photo
bravo pour toutes les autres aussi

Hi Horia,
Very beautiful.POV,details,reflection and composition are perfect.TFS.


Hi Horia,
It's been a while. :-)
You've got a wonderful photo!!
Very nice colours and POV, superb details and its reflection is amazing.
Well done and TFS,
Best greeting,

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9100] (31094)
  • [2007-01-12 3:19]

Hi Horia!

Excellent post! I just love this picture. It is very calm, relaxing, with some kind of warm, evening mood. Colours are superb, same as details on water's surface and insect. Version without flash is much better in my opinion. Amazing work my friend!

Look at my last picture - it is especially for you!

excellent demonstration of surface tension, breathtaking image. Very powerful in its utmost concentration.
Congratulations! Thank you!
Best regards,

What a great idea for a photo! It's an interesting phenomenon that we all know about but it takes a close-up photo like this one for us to appreciate it. The colours are great, the green and blue conplement each other well and the concentric curves in the top left corner add a little extra interest.
Excellent work!

bonne capture, malgré que l'insecte soit petit, cela reste un bon travail
bravo et merci

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2007-01-17 14:19]

Hi Horia

The colours are really beautiful in this one. The surface tension is clearly seen and you have a great POV

PT all out today



Hi Horia,
Interesting to know how this insect can walk on water...Reflection is great in this beautifully composed picture.
Excellent shot.

Ben Lakitan

Hi horia,
I apreciate this pic, shows very well superficial rtension on water. I like the minimalist composition, green tones and mirror reflection of the insect.

  • Great 
  • TBW Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 94 W: 28 N: 200] (846)
  • [2007-01-22 14:00]

Nice shot and a very interesting note of your technique! I thisk you did excellent with you camera, and you surely presented exactly what you wanted. I saw the flash shot, and I think you made the right choice to go without it. The no-flash photo gives a much better colour palette, more natural compared to the harsh light of the flash. Im amazed that the strider was patient enough to let you take so many photos :)


  • Great 
  • Aramok Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 896 W: 101 N: 1501] (5166)
  • [2007-01-22 14:53]

Seems' you have been having plenty of fun whilst I have been away... It was quite hard picking something to critique.... so I chose this one because of a number of reasons not least of all surface tension was what I studied for my PhD (not completed I'm afraid - my photography is better than my chemistry!)

From a photography point of view this is a really nice shot, very well composed and with good placement of the object and lovely circles in the top left. and the green colour is wonderful...



hi horia!
this is a great capture!
perfect pov and fine
very well done!

I really likee pictures of wildlife "in contex". I enjoyed this one because of the emphasis on the surface tension you have been able to show. The visible meniscus is fascinating. Well seen.

Hi Horia

I can not add anymore to what has already been said. Brilliant! :-)

Hi Horia,
I would like to congratulate you on the execution of this hard capture.
For sure it was not easy to get this one and the result is excellent.
I like this version more then the flash one - colors are more natural.
The surface tension is clearly seen on the water and the reflection is excellent as well.
TFS - Shir

Olá Horia,
Muito linda esta imagem, você conseguiu captar um momento lindo, os Gerridae são fascinantes, são um dos poucos que conseguem caminhar sobre a água. Gostei muito da macro, gostarai de ver outras se as tiveres.
Um dia eu também consegui uma outra fotos desses animaizinhos, se puder de uma olhada Water strider make water strider.


  • Great 
  • sily Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 239 W: 6 N: 395] (1934)
  • [2007-02-10 17:35]

Amazing view, great light and colours, very educative note , thanks Bogdan!

Muito interessante sua captura. Uma foto não muito comum de se ver devido a dificuldade de tirar ese tipo de foto. Gostei das cores e definição.

Hi Horia,
what an extra ordinary picture you got here. did you adjust any contrast, saturation, hue or color balance? I like the tremendous clear green water with contrast blue color of the insect in the foreground. Additional info about the surface tension, it could also artificially made by combining particular velocity, angle of contact and object weight, e.g if we play water skiing (using 30 mph speed) the other creature use this phenomenon is Basilisk lizard from South America, TFS, great pix, great notes

  • Great 
  • clnaef Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 778 W: 67 N: 645] (6814)
  • [2007-04-01 11:31]

Magnifique réussite graphique. Comme quoi on peut marcher sur l'eau !
Bonne journée.

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