Bubble planet macro

anotherscotsman

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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

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Green World:

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Bubbles Within Bubbles

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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.
As @deep diver suggested you have too much light coming through the bubble. The effect you are after is there but is swamped by ambient. The patterns are caused by light interference by reflection from the very thin layers that make the wall of the bubble. If the only light is reflected from the bubble surface then the colours and pattern will be strong. On the other hand if most of the light is by transmission then there will only be a weak pattern and colours. @deep diver arrived at the formula I suggested in the original post so it must be right 😀
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
As I said, I think my main problem here is with the light source and I don't have a nice large beauty dish or soft box to use... I agree, the ambient light in my experiments today definitely did not result in the desired outcome, so next step is to go back to the other room where I can control the overall lighting more, and hopefully control the reflections as well so that I don't need to use the light tent, which creates issues of its own. I am going to try something else next, which may or may not work.....

In the meantime, even though the images I came up with today aren't exactly the "ideal,"or good examples of this kind of photography, at least I found a few of them interesting enough to go to the trouble of processing, and I had a little more success with blowing a large bubble, too, so that's progress! :)
 

deep diver

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I have no idea.
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.....
Making the soft box was as easy as pie. (That’s a really dumb metaphor because it takes a lot of finesse to make a really good pie. That is probably for a different forum.) Anyway, it was very easy, took no more that 15 minutes, and cost me virtually nothing. First I printed a few ledger size sheets to be all black on one side. We use a heavy weight paper in my office. You will probably want to glue two sheets together if you use standard weight paper. I then stapled the sheets together along the long side. This gave me a square tube with the black inside. I stapled the parchment to the bottom. Finally, I stapled the top to close it up while leaving enough of a hole for the flash to fit in. Stapling it the way I did created spines that give it structural integrity. This will probably not work if you try to tape it together. I attached it to the flash with an easy release residue free tape (masking tape, painter’s tape, gaffer’s tape, etc.) That’s it.

They also make small soft boxes that fit on a speed light. They are nicely sized and only cost about $20 at full retail. I don't know that I need one, but it is a good and inexpensive option.

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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I think I may have come up with an idea which may work out for me......I haven't put it into action yet, probably won't until tomorrow, but I realized this afternoon that one of my light box panels, which is pretty large, might do the trick, and I started thinking about how to set it up above the subject, and have come up with an idea. Stay tuned....

In the meantime, there is no point in my trying to make a "soft box," as right now I do not have any sort of on-camera flash system, nor do I have studio lighting or strobes to put into it. My Nikon speed lights and accompanying accessories went away with the switch in systems. I eventually will buy something but that is down the list of priorities at the moment, as my primary interest right now, of course, is in putting together a good system of lenses which will be useful for capturing subjects at various focal lengths and which also offers me a few faster lenses than f/2.8. Also a Wimberley Gimbal head for one of my tripods is pretty high up on my list as well, as I really need that for the 200-600mm lens when I am going out-and-about somewhere. That lens IS possible to handhold, but not for very long! It really needs stability. Getting back to lighting: I am thinking that when the time comes that I'll probably go with one or two Godox AD200 TTL Flash Strobes and probably an accessory or two.....

At the moment for lighting I have a Photek lamp, a couple of small LED panels, a couple of LED flashlights, and Mother Nature's sunshine..... I also have a couple of larger light boxes which can also be used as lighting sources when positioned above or to the side of a subject, which I somewhat belatedly realized today. I've only used them underneath a subject until now. In addition, I've also got a small light tent which is good for isolating the subject with either a white or black "sweep" as backdrop, then with the lighting source above on or each side, one can poke the camera lens through through one of the openings, as it offers diffusion plus blocking out unwanted views of other objects in the room, reflections and such. The light box is awkward to use, though. For years I have simply propped up foam core boards in black or white and various art papers and such for instant backdrops and surfaces. Mirrors and shiny papers and such have also worked nicely as reflectors for supplying additional light as needed.

At the grocery store today I did pick up a package of parchment paper that is used for baking -- also known as "butter paper" -- and in doing a brief photo session after I got home, I taped one piece of that on the Photek lamp as a diffuser to cut down on glare just to see how effective it would be. It does seem to make a difference and I suspect is a little safer than the methods I have tried in the past.

This is really fun and a bit challenging, getting stuff out of the closet I hadn't used in years and reviving it, plus thinking about new items which might be most useful now and in the future, not to mention also trying new shooting projects!
- - Post merged: - -

 

mollyc

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i am working on this today and mine aren't looking anything like @anotherscotsman's. I think I must have too much ambient light. I mean I normally can get my background black even if it's almost full sun, and today is very cloudy. But I don't have any window coverings in my studio and so I keep getting reflections of my windows. But even without that, I am not getting anywhere close to that rainbow effect in camera. I can SEE it with my eyeballs---there are rainbows in the bubbles. But they are not translating to camera.

First I tried with my AB400 and beauty dish off to the side, but really just got reflection of the dish. So then I set up my flash with umbrella to work the light from overhead. and it's better, but not by a ton.

I'm usually pretty good with studio light. :(
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
It's frustrating, isn't it? I have the same problem about ambient light in my living/dining area, as I have no window coverings over the sliding glass door that leads to the deck, nor on any of the windows in the kitchen, which look out over the lake. The bubbles pick up everything! I tried my light tent, but that was very awkward. It did manage to eliminate reflections of unwanted objects, though. I think I'm going to just have to wait until some evening and try my latest idea then, as the ambient light definitely does cause problems!

The reflection of the light source is also the other big problem I ran into, too, and I, too, was seeing the darned light reflected in the bubbles. My latest idea is to use my light box -- the larger one, which is a rectangular panel, actually -- positioned over top of the subject, supported by the four legs of a fairly small wood table that I've got. I used the smaller one for my recent shot of the Star Fruit. I'm thinking that the even light, and the fact that it is a larger light source, might work. The thing fits, I've managed to determine that, but I have not actually set up anything yet to see if this will actually do the trick!
 

mollyc

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Okay. So I downloaded all my photos that did not turn out. I took 163 on my mirrorless and then even took some with my dSLR thinking maybe I just wasn't seeing things right. I didn't even DL the dSLR ones because I couldn't see well enough through the viewfinder or live view to focus. I basically gave up.

Then, as I looked at the no good photos, I realized that the colors were showing up where the umbrella was; I had tried to use it as a bounce back umbrella above the bubble (I don't have a boom arm for any lights). Where the light wasn't, was all black (or gray, depending on the over all exposure). I came back to this thread and saw how giant Ken's bubble was and that he still was using sidelight. So I switched back to my strobe, took off the beauty dish and put on a medium sized softbox. (In hindsight as I type this I am wondering if I just had my beauty dish too high). I had my bubble raised up to basically the middle of the softbox, and I put my pan in an unused Amazon box to block side light. Then I started to have some success. A couple of tweaks of the bubble solution and bubble blowing and I was in business. At some point leaning into all of this to keep reblowing the bubbles moved some stuff and my otherwise round bubbles started being weird shapes, but now at least I know I can do this again (I also just discovered the modeling light was off on my strobe, which could have helped things immensely).




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And here's a pullback showing my high tech light blocking devices. Oddly the first few, which are the best in terms of roundness, did not have the extra box to the right. Not sure what happened, but I was just so happy to get the patterns in the bubbles. I used my 105 macro for these.

IMG_9906 copy.jpg
 
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anotherscotsman

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i am working on this today and mine aren't looking anything like @anotherscotsman's. I think I must have too much ambient light. I mean I normally can get my background black even if it's almost full sun, and today is very cloudy. But I don't have any window coverings in my studio and so I keep getting reflections of my windows. But even without that, I am not getting anywhere close to that rainbow effect in camera. I can SEE it with my eyeballs---there are rainbows in the bubbles. But they are not translating to camera.

First I tried with my AB400 and beauty dish off to the side, but really just got reflection of the dish. So then I set up my flash with umbrella to work the light from overhead. and it's better, but not by a ton.

I'm usually pretty good with studio light. :(
As you saw from the how-to photos, I did these on the kitchen countertop so you don’t need a really dark environment. Key is first to set your shutter speed and aperture numbers high enough to get a black exposure sans flash/light. Then get your diffused light source as close as possible to the bubble surface - makes the effective size of the light larger relative to the bubble. Keep the amount of light as low as you can (low flash power) to avoid excessive light spillage - you are trying to catch the light reflected from the bubble surface. Also helps minimise unwanted/parasitic reflections if you use a black dish for the bubble reservoir - I used a lens rear cap. Alternatively a clear acrylic cup on a black non-reflective surface.

Once you get it to work, the fun begins. Keep trying!
- - Post merged: - -

Okay. So I downloaded all my photos that did not turn out. I took 163 on my mirrorless and then even took some with my dSLR thinking maybe I just wasn't seeing things right. I didn't even DL the dSLR ones because I couldn't see well enough through the viewfinder or live view to focus. I basically gave up.

Then, as I looked at the no good photos, I realized that the colors were showing up where the umbrella was; I had tried to use it as a bounce back umbrella above the bubble (I don't have a boom arm for any lights). Where the light wasn't, was all black (or gray, depending on the over all exposure). I came back to this thread and saw how giant Ken's bubble was and that he still was using sidelight. So I switched back to my strobe, took off the beauty dish and put on a medium sized softbox. (In hindsight as I type this I am wondering if I just had my beauty dish too high). I had my bubble raised up to basically the middle of the softbox, and I put my pan in an unused Amazon box to block side light. Then I started to have some success. A couple of tweaks of the bubble solution and bubble blowing and I was in business. At some point leaning into all of this to keep reblowing the bubbles moved some stuff and my otherwise round bubbles started being weird shapes, but now at least I know I can do this again (I also just discovered the modeling light was off on my strobe, which could have helped things immensely).




View attachment 892422


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And here's a pullback showing my high tech light blocking devices. Oddly the first few, which are the best in terms of roundness, did not have the extra box to the right. Not sure what happened, but I was just so happy to get the patterns in the bubbles. I used my 105 macro for these.

View attachment 892435
Congratulations 😀👍 satisfying isn’t it? I’d suggest perhaps a smaller diameter shallow dish as a reservoir to get single large bubbles.

Do I get a prize for the greatest frustration this year?
 
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mollyc

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Congratulations 😀👍 satisfying isn’t it?

Do I get a prize for the greatest frustration this year?
🏆🥇🏅
- - Post merged: - -

Also, it wasn't the inherent ambient light that was in the room; I know how to deal with that for portraits or regular macros - I do it every day almost. It was the reflections from the windows on either side of me showing up in the bubbles. A flower or person is not reflective like a bubble. So I had to block those direct reflections with the reverse-lightbox. I say this for anyone else who attempt this without window coverings. I have windows on all four sides of my studio (it is above our garage) so lots of places for light to leak into reflections.

This was a fun (albeit actually challenging) challenge. 🙂
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Congratulations, Molly! Well done! As for using something to block out unwanted reflections or images, or for serving as a backdrop, go to a Michael's or an art supply store and pick up some foam core boards -- white and black -- These work very nicely as backdrops for many images. I've been doing this for years and the foam core provides a convenient sturdy black or white backdrop while also blocking out the sight of my messy living room or things visibly in the way in the other places I often shoot: the bedroom, the kitchen, wherever...... Also, smaller pieces of black or white cardboard also work well for controlling the light, too, especially when shooting something like glassware.

The white side of foam core can often also provide just an extra little bit of light when needed -- when used as a reflector, with a flashlight or an LED panel aimed at it that then bounces back k to the subject, or even pressing the sun into service. Ditto for mirrors and shiny surfaces, too. In the end, iit's all about the light, isn't it? When one does not have studio lighting equipment, one learns to improvise.... (RIP, Uncle Frank from Nikon Cafe, from whom I first learned some of this stuff!)

Some subjects lend themselves well to high-key lighting, and to being positioned directly on top of the light source -- I use a light box from the film days (it was meant for reviewing frames of film), and now I've got a larger one which I have used a couple of times for under lighting but am now going to try out as overhead lighting to see if I can manage to get better results with bubbles....

After the hint on here about using a smaller container, even a rear lens cap or a body cap, I dug around in my stuff and found, yes, a couple of stray extra rear lens caps still around from my Nikon days, so they will be part of my next attempt at this bubble thing.

Today was focused on other things and finishing up my monthly computer backups, so haven't done much more with the bubble project yet.....
 
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someoldguy

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Hope to try this over the weekend , if life doesn't get in the way . Right now it's sorta a treasure hunt to find potential light sources . So far , I've got a couple of old manual flashes that can be turned way down , a ring light (if the cable is long enough to remote mount , a led panel , a fluorescent light box ( if it works ) , and a couple of IKEA led desk lights which have to potential to be hacked into spots . Plus construction paper , background paper , foam core , &c . @anotherscotsman 's directions make it look like it's easily accomplished by any small child . Luckily my grandkid will be over on Saturday , and I'll see if I can hook her into being my expert technical assistant .
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Alrighty, I finally managed to achieve some nice results! Wow, it's fascinating watching the bubble change and things moving around....and the shapes that are created, the colors -- oh, so, so neat!!

First off, I set things up the way I had thought about, then started shooting. Made adjustments along the way. Basically, the bottom line here is, yes, one needs a large source of even lighting overhead if using continuous lighting. Secondly, I had more success with the smaller container -- the rear lens cap -- than I'd had with the larger container. Thirdly, I had to experiment with the height at which to position the thing. I added more solution when things seemed to be not working as well, and added more glycerin to the solution, too.

My setup: A small table turned upside-down on my dining table in order to support the light panel. I positioned two black foam core boards (they look blue here for some reason, but they are actually black) in order to block out extraneous light coming from the kitchen windows and also extraneous light and views coming from the (messy) living room area. You can see some of the brick wall that is part of my deck through the sliding glass door. The chandelier above the dining table was turned off and the only light source was the light panel. I would blow a bubble and when I got a good one, would immediately sit down and start shooting hand-held. Tripod just didn't work out well for this and I had more freedom of movement without it. I used my 90mm macro lens for this and experimented with various aperture settings.

Setup for Bubble Planet Macro.jpeg


So here is one of my early attempts:

Rainbow Earth 3.jpg



Well, getting there.....

Finally began hitting my stride:

A Blue and Orange World 3.jpg



Wow, this stuff is addictive, to say the least! I spent rather a lot of time fascinated by the whole thing, eventually having to stop and swap out memory card and battery, as both eventually became exhausted!

A River Runs Through It 3.jpg


More to process yet.....this will give you a taster of what I did this afternoon! In post-processing I mainly had to crop and to darken the blacks and then perk up the colors; in some instances focus was fine in one part of the image but not other parts and I had to try and fix that as well.

Anyway, I'm rather chuffed at finally having gotten some decent results!
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Another fun project which I'm eventually going to undertake again is mixing food coloring with water and oil in a glass container -- one can get some really cool abstracts that way! Yes, using gels or colored filters on one's flash, strobes or other light source can be another neat and interesting project. Years ago I did that with shooting some crystal animals.......
 
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anotherscotsman

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Alrighty, I finally managed to achieve some nice results! Wow, it's fascinating watching the bubble change and things moving around....and the shapes that are created, the colors -- oh, so, so neat!!

First off, I set things up the way I had thought about, then started shooting. Made adjustments along the way. Basically, the bottom line here is, yes, one needs a large source of even lighting overhead if using continuous lighting. Secondly, I had more success with the smaller container -- the rear lens cap -- than I'd had with the larger container. Thirdly, I had to experiment with the height at which to position the thing. I added more solution when things seemed to be not working as well, and added more glycerin to the solution, too.

My setup: A small table turned upside-down on my dining table in order to support the light panel. I positioned two black foam core boards (they look blue here for some reason, but they are actually black) in order to block out extraneous light coming from the kitchen windows and also extraneous light and views coming from the (messy) living room area. You can see some of the brick wall that is part of my deck through the sliding glass door. The chandelier above the dining table was turned off and the only light source was the light panel. I would blow a bubble and when I got a good one, would immediately sit down and start shooting hand-held. Tripod just didn't work out well for this and I had more freedom of movement without it. I used my 90mm macro lens for this and experimented with various aperture settings.

View attachment 892730

So here is one of my early attempts:

View attachment 892738


Well, getting there.....

Finally began hitting my stride:

View attachment 892739


Wow, this stuff is addictive, to say the least! I spent rather a lot of time fascinated by the whole thing, eventually having to stop and swap out memory card and battery, as both eventually became exhausted!

View attachment 892741

More to process yet.....this will give you a taster of what I did this afternoon! In post-processing I mainly had to crop and to darken the blacks and then perk up the colors; in some instances focus was fine in one part of the image but not other parts and I had to try and fix that as well.

Anyway, I'm rather chuffed at finally having gotten some decent results!
Lovely job - persistence certainly paid dividends.
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Lovely job - persistence certainly paid dividends.
Thanks! I was bound and determined I was going to figure this thing out and get at least ONE decent bubble shot out of the process! LOL! Using a shallower container helped with blowing just one large bubble rather than a bunch of them, and the light panel overhead helped a lot, too, as well as blocking out extraneous ambient light. I did this on a day which was already dark, gloomy and rainy anyway, which also helped.
 

someoldguy

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So , no luck here , save for finding what won't work for me . The only thing worth saving is this one , taken at the apparent instant the bubble began bursting . Time to sit back and think things out , gonna get cold on Friday , so I'll try then . Hopefully I'll come up with Plan B (and maybe C, D, and E) which will solve my difficulty .

popgoestheglycerine.jpg