The AeroPress makes amazing coffee. I actually got rid of my fancy drip coffee maker shortly after acquiring one. As much as I adore my freshly ground, gourmet-tasting coffee every morning, I also recently found another use for this wonderful kitchen tool.
As I made my morning coffee one day, I took notice of how the coffee sort of rained through the holes of the end cap of the Aero Press. I immediately started to contemplate how I could use this “rain” in a photograph.
I originally wanted to use red food coloring and water, but once I got the food coloring in my hands, I decided that blue was more interesting to me for this project. I went ahead and mixed tap water with food coloring in a large measuring cup. Then, I had to figure out how to set up the shot.
I suspended the AeroPress by supporting it with something solid on both ends, so that the press hovered over my kitchen sink. I don’t specifically recall what I used to prop it up. Most likely, it was whatever was within reaching distance in my kitchen at the time. I’m efficient, a.k.a. lazy, like that.
I placed a large mixing bowl in the sink, so I could re-use the same blue water for additional shots. Lastly, I used a piece of thick white scrapbook paper for background and a reflector to help get rid of shadows behind the water drops. I let in as much natural light as possible through open blinds.
My camera was set up on a tripod several feet from the sink. I set everything up in frame, pre-metered for light and pre-focused on the edge of the AeroPress, where I knew the water would be dripping out from. Unfortunately, I didn’t record my camera settings, but I do recall that I used a very fast shutter speed in order to freeze the falling water drops.
I poured the blue water into the AeroPress all the way to the top, and then stepped behind the camera and hit the shutter like crazy, hoping to get something that would make all of this effort worth it. I took a ridiculous amount of shots. In the end, I was pretty happy with my results.
I rinsed everything off and repeated this process with clean tap water and different backgrounds.
This random photography experiment was really fun and satisfying, and I learned a lot about lighting. The process would have been easier if I’d had more space. Being able to leave extra room between the background and the water drops would have made it easier to eliminate shadows, and would also have allowed for different artistic lighting effects.
This AeroPress trick could be used for many projects similar to this one. I’m curious to see what would happen if this method was tried with liquids like colored milk, wine, or even paint! My hope is that some other intrigued artist will give this a try, but perhaps I’ll experiment with this a bit more at some point in the future.