All images courtesy of Heinz Maier and used with permission
Heinz Maier may have only begun his adventures in photography a year ago but he’s already won many fans with his incredible high-speed snapshots of water droplets making splashes. Many of the splashes look like weird toadstools, umbrellas and other everyday objects – particularly hats.
Some of the photos look as though they might have come from a hatter's design book, but others are a bit more abstract – so you might need a little more imagination to discern the objects they resemble!
In this image, some (like photographer Heinz Maier) are reminded of a water tower, but we see a child wearing a red tuque hat and snowsuit… All ready for play now that winter is on its way!
For someone who is so new to his art, Maier seems to have quickly developed a deep understanding of high-speed photography: "I’ve been photographing since the end of 2010,” he explains. “I photograph in my free time; that is the best way for me to relax.”
“I do not know yet which genre I would be developing in,” Maier adds; “but right now I am experimenting in macro photography (insect and water drop photography)." His experimentation certainly pays off – as this image shows! He calls it Color Cowboy. We can even see the lasso wielded by this Stetson-wearing wrangler!
Like some plankton floating in the ocean, this beautiful blue droplet seems to hover in the air.
To aid him with his work, Maier has taken the extra step of developing a hydraulic setup that can be seen here. For lighting, he uses a DIY softbox with two flashes and some color gels. And for the rest? Lots of imagination!
Maier continuously shows that water droplets can take on amazing shapes; even that of a bell – or a bobble hat!
This water splash looks like a classic lady’s hat, and one fit for a queen’s tea party! Can't you just see it in the window of a boutique?
Next we move to Mexico, with a splash frozen in time that’s the spitting image of a sombrero complete with decorative chinstrap!
In the days of yore both men and women slept in nightcaps. We’d say this is a ladies’ version with lace edging at the rim.
Is this an ornate headpiece or colorful confection – some sort of delightfully spun sugar candy perhaps?
This red hat looks as though it's spinning – perched, perchance, on the head of a reeling flamenco dancer!
Here Maier has captured a water splash that almost looks like some kind of lamp made out of glass.
High-speed photography essentially requires an extremely quick shutter speed. It is used to capture scenes that are difficult if not impossible to see with the naked eye. Yet who would have imagined a water splash frozen in time would make such an amazing representation of a goblet – or a strange hat?
The crowning glory! This golden coronet contains incredible detail – right down to the spaces where one imagines jewels might be added.
Nest, another spun-sugar creation – or some kind of mutant toadstool!
What can you distinguish here? We’re seeing a multicolored crown for the Prince of Elves as he dances away in his woodland glade!
Remember those games you played as a kid where you tried to get a marble through a maze? This reminds use of a particularly attractive example of such games!
An umbrella for a crown – the perfect shelter for a monarch – and the colors, for boys or girls, make for a lovely aesthetic.
Heinz Maier calls this his flying umbrella. Complete with intricate spoke-ends, it looks like it is about to take to the sky – borne aloft by a gust of wind, Mary Poppins style!
A hat for the ages – gauzy, golden lace spinning as the lady dances in her blue piece of apparel.
And to finish, a hat to pull down over one's eyes!
With special thanks to Heinz Maier for kind permission to use his stunning captures.