water splash - fail
I wanted to freeze the water splashing but the result is not what I wanted
I set the camera to the highest sync speed (1/180), as I noticed that with slower shutter speed the shot was even more blurred.
Yes, because a higher percentage of the lighting is coming from ambient and thus being captured at the full shutter duration. The longer the shutter is open the more blur you're going to get. You wanted the majority of your lighting to come from flash, not ambient. Essentially the ambient is being recorded at 1/180th of a second while the flash is roughly 1/2000th (depending on your flash unit).
Medium aperture f/6.3 to get people in focus and increased the ISO high to get some ambient light.The flash was off camera and behind a white shoot thru umbrella, about 1/4 power.
Maybe using direct flash would have frozen better the water? but I didn't want to have harsh light on the people
Then use flash with as diffuse light source as you can manage, e.g. a larger umbrella or a closer umbrella.
This is a mix of mostly flash and and a little bit of ambient, at 1/60th. Note the combination of both blur and freeze-frame:
These are almost entirely lit with flash:
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