Freezing Water on the Cheap: Einstein Answers Broncolor

Remember that Broncolor-sponsored "shootout" video a little ways back, in which the high-end pack-and-heads systems competed to freeze water droplets in a concept shot?

A few of you were like, "Yeah, cool, but couldn't you also do that with an Einstein?"

Yeah, turns out you could. And who better to prove that than Jarek Wieczorkiewicz, who specializes in conceptual sculpted-liquid portraiture. His results, along with a (slightly NSFW-ish) vid, inside.

NOTE: If you want to refresh your memory, the original Nth-degree water droplet freezing video is here. And the BTS to the video title image you are seeing just below is here.

That said, here is Jarek's three-digit answer to a five-digit shootout. Depending on where you work, you might want to angle the monitor away from your boss (or maybe not go full-frame)…

The results: The Einstein's all-in t.1 time of less than a ten-thousandth of a second stops water very nicely, thank you. That's why it is the platform of choice for Jarek's insane water- and milk-freezing portraits.

To be fair, Broncolor and Profoto do offer some other advantages for the extra money. But by the same token (actually for a lot fewer tokens) Einsteins will get you into the neighborhood for a wee bit less.

You can examine a 2500-pixel version of the image up top and view large versions of the conceptual shots from the video (as well as getting info on Jarek's water workshops) at his blog at AurumLight.


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Blogger Jay Grabiec said...

54BThis pretty much settled it for me to go with the Einsteins. Thanks for the post!

October 08, 2012 11:27 AM  
Blogger halfawake said...

To be fair, Broncolor and Einstein do offer some other advantages for the extra money.

You mean Broncolor and Prophoto, right?

October 08, 2012 11:45 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...


Yep! Profoto, actually. But yep. Fixed, thanks!

October 08, 2012 12:04 PM  
Blogger Tom Wall said...


I would love to read a post on the reasons for actually paying the insane amount of money that a profoto/Broncolor etc system costs.

I mean in the end it's just light right? But then again if it were that easy the high-end systems would probably be out of business.

October 08, 2012 1:09 PM  
Blogger Ken Lawson said...

A newbie asks this,

If I have all the Einstein gear, I assume I need an expensive camera, like the one used in the video?

I have a D300s, so I guess I am "out" to do this type of shot?


October 08, 2012 2:02 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...


Here are some of my articles from the past on that subject:

October 08, 2012 2:27 PM  
Blogger David Hobby said...


Did you click through to the link I offered on the making of his Water Angel photo?

October 08, 2012 2:27 PM  
Blogger Ken Lawson said...

I did check that, thanks for the heads up....momma said I did not have all my biscuits cooked when born, she said I was born naked too....

My hang up was the syc speed limited to 250.....

Ken in KY

October 08, 2012 3:52 PM  
Blogger RJ Ohrstedt said...

Ken -- check your camera manual again. My D300 syncs at least up to 300 with my alien bees with no problems. Though I haven't tried the water freeze yet; I'll be doing that tomorrow.

October 08, 2012 6:06 PM  
Blogger RJ Ohrstedt said...

Ken -- check your camera on that; my D300 syncs at least up to 1/500th with my Alien Bees.

October 08, 2012 6:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Wall said...

Ah in 2009 I was blissfully using my flashes on camera. Thanks for the links.

October 08, 2012 7:52 PM  
Blogger Dave Connelly said...

@Ken and @RJ it's the flash duration that freezes the 'action', your shutter affects the ambient light exposure. So you could effectively use 1/160sec in a dark room at f16 @ 200iso, and drop your modelling lights back so they don't affect the exposure.

Hope that helps.

October 08, 2012 9:51 PM  
Blogger brandonfs said...

To whomever asked... you can do these shoots with just about any camera, you don't need a digital medium format system at all.

I would also like to point out that Einstein lights have SERIOUS flaws which have prevented them from penetrating the professional market. I have three units myself, all three of which had to go in for repair after light usage after less than 90 days of owning them. The primary issue is their speed-ring system, which simply isn't robust enough for mounting heavy modifers (a 3' x 4' box broke one of mine).

The control system is also needlessly complex... try turning up the light 2 stops and turning off the modelling light without looking at the screen (sometimes it is in a position where you can't see it).

These are amazing lights for the price, and are pushing the industry as a whole, which is great. But specs aren't everything... I keep mine only to use for high-speed stuff. They simply have to many drawbacks and weaknesses for everyday use.

October 09, 2012 4:05 PM  
Blogger dom said...

Thanks for the video although I was expecting way more NSFW you tease!

So the duration means lower exposures, right? To get those fast flashes meant very low power, right?

I have some alien bees and have been drooling over the einsteins.

October 09, 2012 5:09 PM  
Blogger Bob K said...

At full power, the Einsteins have a similar flash duration to anything else. But unlike most strobes, the duration gets shorter as the power goes lower. Once you turn them down 2-3 stops from full power, the action-freezing starts getting really exceptional.

I've done water-freeze shots on film cameras that synch at 1/100, all you have to do is keep the ambient light down. Definitely shut off modeling lights for any water-freeze shots. The less ambient light, the less flash you need. With Einsteins at lower power and low ambient light, you can do this with any camera.

October 09, 2012 10:32 PM  
Blogger Ami Siano said...

I have an amazing 20 something year old Broncolor set which gives the most beautiful, controlled light, but if I really want to "freeze the action" I use my Nikon & Canon strobes. They are just sooo fast!
Plus, with the canon strobe you can sync at really high speed.
I stopped a drop of water in daylight, with the shutter at 1/8000 and the flash at highSpeed !

October 10, 2012 11:53 PM  
Blogger michael anthony murphy said...

Einstein's rock! without a doubt, they will be the next strobes that i invest in. not as sleek and pretty as a Profoto but hell, my 285's are super ugly but get the job done for 90 bucks. That in itself is beautiful. Einstein, you are gorgeous in my eyes!

October 26, 2012 8:39 AM  

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