I have wanted to try this for a couple of years, and I finally got my finger out and set it all up last week.
It was a massively steep learning curve with lots of trial and error, plenty of mess and the odd casualty.
The first step was to cover my coffee table with a large plastic sheet that extended over the carpet below as well. I also placed some white paper (cheap on-the-roll paper tablecloth) on top to soak up any spills.
Persuading the LSH (long suffering husband) to use one of our speakers for this experiment, he covered it with a black bin liner and placed it on top of the coffee table.
I ordered some small tubs of washable paints from the internet and it was a lot of trial and error diluting the paint with water to get just the right consistency – too thick and it didn't bounce at all, just formed little blobs; too thin and I got a lot of droplets but none of the nice 'pillars'.
I used a 105mm macro lens, but any longish lens would do as you definitely don't want to have your camera too close to the bouncing paint!
You want the room to be as dark as possible, with the only light being that from the flash gun. We have black out curtains on all the windows and door in the living room so that bit was easy.
Making sure it was mostly over the centre part of the speaker, I used syringes (one for each colour) to place small droplets of paint on the plastic.
Then it was time to turn the music up. At this stage I needed a partner in crime – enter the LSH with a torch (to see the controls on the CD player). He turned on the CD when I was ready to press that shutter button. If we had too much of a delay the paints started to spread and the 'pillars' weren't so impressive. We played some Black Eyed Peas, but any tunes with a heavy bass will do. We adjusted the volume to get a balance between loud enough to bounce the paint while not upsetting the entire neighbourhood.
Keeping my finger on the shutter button, I fired off shot after shot (making sure the flash gun had fresh batteries to get the fastest possible recharging time) until the paint had spread out and mixed together, and no longer bounced.
Then it was clean up time and try it all over again. And again. And again. Until the speaker blew. Oops. The ever-forgiving LSH just got another speaker and set that up for me to continue (to be fair, we'd had those speaker for 36 years and bought them used from a record shop, so they've certainly earned their keep!)
I spent around three hours each evening for two successive nights and took 600+ photos to get a few images I was pleased with. I then combined them in Photoshop afterwards to get the picture you see at the top.
My settings for this image were f/22, 1/3”, ISO640 with the flash on 1/64 after a LOT of experimentation.
I definitely want to try it again applying all the things I learnt from this attempt:
* place cling film on top of the black bin liner so that I can just screw it all up and throw it out after each shoot rather than having to wipe it clean.

* use a reflector on the opposite side to the flash gun to bounce some light back

* I would place the droplets closer together on the surface and experiment with fewer colours

* I would get some white paint too, to compliment the others as that seems to show up really well in the dark

Thank you LSH for all your patience and assistance.

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