Bubble planet macro

anotherscotsman

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How do you do soap film bubble macro? Linked in the How Do You Do It sticky thread.

1. First make up a bubble solution (pink here but colour is based on the soap you use and is irrelevant). All sorts of recipes available on the internet, many of which require glycerin which you may not have. The glycerin is there to increase the viscosity of the water film to help the bubble last longer but other water-soluble thickeners will work. Corn syrup is a good bet ( don't waste maple syrup). Two parts water, one part dish soap (washing-up liquid over here) and one quarter part syrup does the job. All you need are a few tablespoons of mixture and the ratios are not actually critical.

2. Hardware. Camera (obviously), a drinking straw, camera body cap or other shallow black dish. Flash (with soft box-type diffuser if you can as below). The bigger you make the source of light relative to the bubble, the better. Nice diffused light works best but a flash through a sheet of thin baking parchment will also work. Some way of triggering your flash off camera (cable or wireless/optical). Continuous light should also work but you need enough to get a high shutter speed.

IMG_3900.jpg

As with all close-up work, a macro lens will work but will be more difficult to focus at higher magnifications. Especially true when the bubble only lasts for a matter of seconds and wobbles! Perhaps easier using a longer lens at its closest focussing distance. In this case I used a 24-105mm at about 12-inches from the subject.

3. Put the bubble mixture in the black dish and blow some bubbles using the straw. Takes a bit of practice but you will soon get the hang of blowing single large bubbles that last long enough to photograph.

IMG_3902.jpg

an early trial...

4. Set up your lens focus using manual focus. Placing the straw in the dish gives something to focus on.

IMG_3903.jpg

5. Set your camera to Manual mode and set a reasonably narrow aperture to give the best chance of focus. Say f11. Set shutter speed to the around the maximum flash sync speed (if you don't know then guess 1/150th sec). Take a photo with the flash switched off- should be essentially black. If you have a stand for your flash, set it with the flash as close as possible to the dish but still allowing you access to blow the bubble with the straw.

6. Turn flash on and blow your bubble. While the bubble is still inflated, take shots as quickly as your flash recycle permits. If you have to hand-hold your flash, make sure you move smoothly to avoid air currents that will disturb and burst the bubble before you get a chance to take a shot. Repeat often!

7. Import photos into your preferred editing software. Not much post-processing required. I tend to darken the blacks and add a little boost to the brightness - in effect increasing the contrast a bit. You will almost certainly have to crop quite tightly to get the required detail to fill the frame. These shots are about 10-25%% or so of the full frame but your lens will dictate how big the image you can get.

RMG_7326.jpg
Original out-of-camera image.

RMG_7326.jpg
The Blue Planet
 
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Apple fanboy

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 21, 2012
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Behind the Lens, UK
How do you do soap film bubble macro? Linked in the How Do You Do It sticky thread.

1. First make up a bubble solution (pink here but colour is based on the soap you use and is irrelevant). All sorts of recipes available on the internet, many of which require glycerin which you may not have. The glycerin is there to increase the viscosity of the water film to help the bubble last longer but other water-soluble thickeners will work. Corn syrup is a good bet ( don't waste maple syrup). Two parts water, one part dish soap (washing-up liquid over here) and one quarter part syrup does the job. All you need are a few tablespoons of mixture and the ratios are not actually critical.

2. Hardware. Camera (obviously), a drinking straw, camera body cap or other shallow black dish. Flash (with soft box-type diffuser if you can as below). The bigger you make the source of light relative to the bubble, the better. Nice diffused light works best but a flash through a sheet of thin baking parchment will also work.

View attachment 889922

As with all close-up work, a macro lens will work but will be more difficult to focus at higher magnifications. Especially true when the bubble only lasts for a matter of seconds and wobbles! Perhaps easier using a longer lens at its closest focussing distance. In this case I used a 24-105mm at about 12-inches from the subject.

3. Put the bubble mixture in the black dish and blow some bubbles using the straw. Takes a bit of practice but you will soon get the hang of blowing single large bubbles that last long enough to photograph.

View attachment 889923

an early trial...

4. Set up your lens focus using manual focus. Placing the straw in the dish gives something to focus on.

View attachment 889924

5. Set your camera to Manual mode and set a reasonably narrow aperture to give the best chance of focus. Say f11. Set shutter speed to the around the maximum flash sync speed (if you don't know then guess 1/150th sec). Take a photo with the flash switched off- should be essentially black. If you have a stand for your flash, set it with the flash as close as possible to the dish but still allowing you access to blow the bubble with the straw.

6. Turn flash on and blow your bubble. While the bubble is still inflated, take shots as quickly as your flash recycle permits. If you have to hand-hold your flash, make sure you move smoothly to avoid air currents that will disturb and burst the bubble before you get a chance to take a shot. Repeat often!

7. Import photos into your preferred editing software. Not much post-processing required. I tend to darken the blacks and add a little boost to the brightness - in effect increasing the contrast a bit. You will almost certainly have to crop quite tightly to get the required detail to fill the frame. These shots are about 10-25%% or so of the full frame but your lens will dictate how big the image you can get.

View attachment 889926
Original out-of-camera image.

View attachment 889925
The Blue Planet
Thank you kindly for putting this together. Definitely a rainy day project I’ll give a try one day when the house renovations are finally done and I can unbox my camera again.
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Cool! I actually already have glycerin, as I only recently have been experimenting with it in some of my shots.....haven't yet quite got the hang of getting it to do precisely what I want, though! LOL! Certainly I have soap and straws and even a black dish.....

However, until I get around to buying a new flash/strobe setup for my new gear, I guess I'm out, as I have put that a few notches down on the priorities list as I take my time putting together my new system. The little continuous-light LED panels I sometimes employ in my tabletop macro shots probably wouldn't work with this kind of project, and I suspect the on-board flash in my RX10 IV or RX100 VII probably wouldn't exactly be right for the job, either.

Looking forward to seeing what the rest of you guys do in your own experiments!
 

anotherscotsman

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Cool! I actually already have glycerin, as I only recently have been experimenting with it in some of my shots.....haven't yet quite got the hang of getting it to do precisely what I want, though! LOL! Certainly I have soap and straws and even a black dish.....

However, until I get around to buying a new flash/strobe setup for my new gear, I guess I'm out, as I have put that a few notches down on the priorities list as I take my time putting together my new system. The little continuous-light LED panels I sometimes employ in my tabletop macro shots probably wouldn't work with this kind of project, and I suspect the on-board flash in my RX10 IV or RX100 VII probably wouldn't exactly be right for the job, either.

Looking forward to seeing what the rest of you guys do in your own experiments!
I’d say your LEDs are worth a try - just go to higher ISO if not enough light for a rapid shutter speed. After all, you are not trying to light the room, only the bubble. Costs nothing but a half-hour of time (says the Scotsman...)
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I’d say your LEDs are worth a try - just go to higher ISO if not enough light for a rapid shutter speed. After all, you are not trying to light the room, only the bubble. Costs nothing but a half-hour of time (says the Scotsman...)
Thanks! Definitely it's worth trying, right?! In thinking about this I realize that probably I'd first experiment with either the RX10 or the RX100, see what happens, and get a feel for how things work....

Some years ago I did this thing where I put oil and water into a pyrex baking dish and positioned that over a colorful subject and fired away..... I'm still using one of the images from that time as my desktop wallpaper on my computers. It really is fun to play around with what can be done with a camera and some simple ingredients that most of us usually already have around the house.
 
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kenoh

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Jul 18, 2008
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First attempt. Used a 160 bulb LED constant light with a hair band holding a piece of grease proof paper over the light. You could see a really annoying definite black line in the catchlights! :mad:

Tried it with the 105macro, the 50mm and an RX100. All fitted with a Raynox 250 close up lens. :oops:

It was easiest with the 50mm and raynox though I will try again with some other options.

I think I failed to really understand the need for bigger diffused light as per the tutorial here.

I think I need to try again with a softbox diffused flash and a long lens from a distance. Not embarrassed by the first attempt but it needs work.

Oh and (duh moment)... darkened room is best without a bay window and the light on! Lol...

Oh and light from above! so the immediately illuminated surface is the top.... 😖



A1431CEC-50BF-4D82-9CAE-7CC2E5485DF3.jpeg



DA15E0BF-2F67-4C5F-AF2C-CED16BF687C4.jpeg
 
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Apple fanboy

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Feb 21, 2012
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First attempt. Used a 160 bulb LED constant light with a hair band holding a piece of grease proof paper over the light. You could see a really annoying definite black line in the catchlights! :mad:

Tried it with the 105macro, the 50mm and an RX100. All fitted with a Raynox 250 close up lens. :oops:

It was easiest with the 50mm and raynox though I will try again with some other options.

I think I failed to really understand the need for bigger diffused light as per the tutorial here.

I think I need to try again with a softbox diffused flash and a long lens from a distance. Not embarrassed by the first attempt but it needs work.

Oh and (duh moment)... darkened room is best without a bay window and the light on! Lol...

Oh and light from above! so the immediately illuminated surface is the top.... 😖



View attachment 890493


View attachment 890492
Buy a soft box you cheapskate! I’ll sort you out with a good price at TPS!
 

anotherscotsman

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 2, 2014
2,105
13,858
UK
First attempt. Used a 160 bulb LED constant light with a hair band holding a piece of grease proof paper over the light. You could see a really annoying definite black line in the catchlights! :mad:

Tried it with the 105macro, the 50mm and an RX100. All fitted with a Raynox 250 close up lens. :oops:

It was easiest with the 50mm and raynox though I will try again with some other options.

I think I failed to really understand the need for bigger diffused light as per the tutorial here.

I think I need to try again with a softbox diffused flash and a long lens from a distance. Not embarrassed by the first attempt but it needs work.

Oh and (duh moment)... darkened room is best without a bay window and the light on! Lol...

Oh and light from above! so the immediately illuminated surface is the top.... 😖



View attachment 890493


View attachment 890492
Nice big bubble you have there Ken! I went through much the same process except I used a 35mm macro to start with! Room can be brighter if you overpower with flash - not difficult with a speed light indoors. Santa brought me a 24" collapsible soft box fro Christmas hence I've been playing with flash projects.
 
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kenoh

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Nice big bubble you have there Ken! I went through much the same process except I used a 35mm macro to start with! Room can be brighter if you overpower with flash - not difficult with a speed light indoors. Santa brought me a 24" collapsible soft box fro Christmas hence I've been playing with flash projects.
Yep I was being lazy.... couldnt be a*sed to get the gear out so skrimped and ruined it mind saying that, as commented, I learned how to quiet my breathing, harness my chi and blow a lovely bubble.... (I did use Maple Syrup)...

It was comedy genius though, because the bubbles lasted precisely the time it took me to finish blowing them, sitting down, focussing in precisely and then popped just as the shutter tripped..... EVERY DAMN TIME!!! :mad:
- - Post merged: - -

Buy a soft box you cheapskate! I’ll sort you out with a good price at TPS!
I have got one.... just didnt get it out - OK, yes, I confess its because I can never fold the damn thing back up afterwards!
 

Apple fanboy

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Yep I was being lazy.... couldnt be a*sed to get the gear out so skrimped and ruined it mind saying that, as commented, I learned how to quiet my breathing, harness my chi and blow a lovely bubble.... (I did use Maple Syrup)...

It was comedy genius though, because the bubbles lasted precisely the time it took me to finish blowing them, sitting down, focussing in precisely and then popped just as the shutter tripped..... EVERY DAMN TIME!!! :mad:
- - Post merged: - -



I have got one.... just didnt get it out - OK, yes, I confess its because I can never fold the damn thing back up afterwards!
Easier to do than my light box! Or those giant reflectors.
 
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kenoh

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Jul 18, 2008
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Cool! I actually already have glycerin, as I only recently have been experimenting with it in some of my shots.....haven't yet quite got the hang of getting it to do precisely what I want, though! LOL! Certainly I have soap and straws and even a black dish.....

However, until I get around to buying a new flash/strobe setup for my new gear, I guess I'm out, as I have put that a few notches down on the priorities list as I take my time putting together my new system. The little continuous-light LED panels I sometimes employ in my tabletop macro shots probably wouldn't work with this kind of project, and I suspect the on-board flash in my RX10 IV or RX100 VII probably wouldn't exactly be right for the job, either.

Looking forward to seeing what the rest of you guys do in your own experiments!

Here is one off my RX100 MK VII:

Tadpole journey by Ken OHagan, on Flickr
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
My turn at this, but I didn't do the full setup, just wanted to get an idea of how this all works..... I put some bubble solution in a shallow black dish that I have, set it on a kitchen counter near the natural light coming in through the windows, pressed an orange cutting board into service for "backdrop," and to add color, then equipped myself with a straw and my iPhone. Lots of fun, but a little frustrating with all the little bubbles when I really wanted a big bubble... This is fascinating, the results that can show up! Ahem, I should've tidied up the counter a little before starting this. The bubble shows All..... Finally managed to get a shot that is somewhat interesting, and I love the rainbow effect. Tomorrow I'll experiment with the proper setup and an actual camera.....

Bubble World.jpeg
 

Apple fanboy

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My turn at this, but I didn't do the full setup, just wanted to get an idea of how this all works..... I put some bubble solution in a shallow black dish that I have, set it on a kitchen counter near the natural light coming in through the windows, pressed an orange cutting board into service for "backdrop," and to add color, then equipped myself with a straw and my iPhone. Lots of fun, but a little frustrating with all the little bubbles when I really wanted a big bubble... This is fascinating, the results that can show up! Ahem, I should've tidied up the counter a little before starting this. The bubble shows All..... Finally managed to get a shot that is somewhat interesting, and I love the rainbow effect. Tomorrow I'll experiment with the proper setup and an actual camera.....

View attachment 891254
Almost a selfie!
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I knew someone would catch that! LOL! Yeah, a good reason not to use the iPhone and to choose a camera that is at somewhat of a distance! It took two or three shots before I realized that, hey, the iPhone and I were in there, too, and so tried to reduce that inevitability as much as I could and to hide behind the iPhone. Actually, I think my rainbow finger is rather interesting, though! LOL!
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Whew, this bubble thing is not as easy as it would seem!!! I spent some time this afternoon fiddling with it, trying to figure out the best approach, etc., and even at that was not thrilled with my results. For one thing I'm not real good at blowing nice big bubbles! LOL! I also finally resorted to digging out the light tent and because it had been so long since I'd used it, initially I didn't set it up quite right. Realized my error after making a couple of shots but was too lazy to move the subject, the camera and the tripod just then, so grabbed a piece of orange paper and used that as a hasty makeshift "background" because I'd put the darned "sweep" thing into the light tent wrong..... Eventually took care of that problem, anyway.

Also had issues with the lighting, as I do not have a large light source such as a beauty dish or soft box, and had to make do with what I do have, and found problems with my LED panel lights reflecting too much in the bubble(s). That didn't work, so tried something else, a largish Photek lamp that has an adjustable neck for easy positioning. Better, but not ideal.

I tried my 50mm and 90mm macro lenses on the A7R IV on the tripod and also tried out handholding the RX10 IV with its zoom.... Focusing was problematic because inevitably I'd move and the bubble would burst or the darned bubble would be in a different position than when I'd last focused, so nailing and retaining good focus is not easy! Only came out with two images that were even worth considering processing, but I am not throwing in the towel on this just yet, as so much of today's efforts were spent mostly figuring out logistics and all the rest. At least now I have a somewhat better idea of what to expect and what tools to use, etc....

The results of my afternoon's labor, both heavily cropped:

DSC01997_DxO.jpg



DSC02016_DxO.jpg
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Well, I spent more time today again playing with bubbles.....this stuff is addictive! I shot a lot of images but came out with only four that were worth processing; one is in the POTD thread and I'll plop the others down in here. Whatever it is I am doing it obviously is not the same technique that is used to get that "colorful bubble planet effect," but next time I'll try yet another strategy.

Bubblicious

Bubblicious.jpeg



Green World:

Green World .jpeg



Bubbles Within Bubbles

Bubbles Within Bubbles.jpeg
 

deep diver

macrumors 68000
Jan 17, 2008
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I have no idea.
I've spent the past few days trying to figure this out. I shot a bunch this morning (with a homemade soft box). These are a few of them. The only processing was cropping and adjusting levels just a bit. There is a reflection on quite a few of the images that looks like a doorway. I think I know how to fix that next time.

Bubbles JPEG only processed - 09.jpg
Bubbles JPEG only processed - 02.jpg
Bubbles JPEG & RAW processed - 25.jpg
Bubbles JPEG & RAW processed - 23.jpg
Bubbles JPEG & RAW processed - 01.jpg
 

deep diver

macrumors 68000
Jan 17, 2008
1,622
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I have no idea.
Whatever it is I am doing it obviously is not the same technique that is used to get that "colorful bubble planet effect," but next time I'll try yet another strategy.
I had some trouble as well. The only thing that worked for me is minimal ambient light, the camera parallel to the table top, and the light box about 6 inches above the bubble.

I used a zoom lens at about 135mm. I'm going to use a longer lease next time so that I can minimize the cropping. I left a lot of pixels on the cutting room floor.

I think that artifact was a piece of masking tape on the parchment paper. I took it off and I'll find out next time.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Today's experiment for me involved moving the light tent to the other room, where I could take advantage of natural lighting, but it was awkward getting any kind of results, to say the least! I thought that maybe light coming in from the windows would suffice and that the light tent would block off unwanted views/reflections that the bubbles could pick up..... Well, not quite so! I daresay that the ambient lighting did interfere, regardless of what backdrops I used. Tried black, tried green...... Also I very often approached the subject from the top or the upper side rather than being parallel to the table top, trying to get the camera lens into the light tent without breaking the darned bubble(s), which then of course showed the other bubbles and the container. In addition I think that the container I was using is too shallow and that I didn't have enough bubble mixture fluid in there anyway, so that would obviously affect the outcome as well.

I tried my RX100 VII and quickly got frustrated, although it was easy to handle, so then went to the RX10 IV again and zoomed in and got at least a few kinda/sorta decent shots. In my case I think the the lighting again is the biggest issue. Next time I'll try a different approach! Yes, somewhere I read about parchment paper/"butter" paper used in cooking and baking which serves as a nice diffusing element with lights without burning down the house, so the next time I am at the grocery store am planning to pick up a package of that, too. Maybe it will solve a couple of my problems with my lighting sources! I am not going to run out and buy a beauty dish or a soft box and I have no intentions of trying to make a DIY soft box, either.....