The Beauty of the Pour

by John McAllister

Freezing the movement of liquid will always captivate the viewer.  Each snap of the shutter creates a unique image. Take a moment to think about the multitude of variables involved in the simple act of pouring a wine into a glass; they are numerous, complex and compound.  It’s this random element that fascinates me… the angle and flow of the pour, the timing of the shot, the curve of the glass and a whole lot more result in a diversity of shapes and swirls of varying translucence as the liquid glances off the surfaces. The usually unseen or barely glimpsed turmoil becomes visible and a natural beauty is captured in an instant that can never be exactly repeated again.

I wondered what happens when you dispense with a wine glass and just free pour… would it seem like an explosion rather than a usual pour? I drew a concept sketch. I switched it around and maybe a touch ambitious but this is my imagination.


It was pleasing to solve the problem I presented myself as the outcome wasn’t so far off. However, I had not imagined the crystal-like quality of the turbulent wine as it struck and bounced off the surface.


The set-up was basic and based around a small aquarium – the benefit of a glass tank is that the liquid is contained and therefore easy to clean up. Here’s a sneak peek behind the scenes.


Good to find that the resulting image could be used in many compositions.

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