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    • It begins! Last night we had temperatures dipping into the range for freezing soap bubble photography (between -8C and -20C) and I took advantage… always trying to experiment. Read on!

      I’ve been envious of freezing bubble images from other photographers that use the setting or rising sun as a light source for an orange glow. We have tall hedges and trees that block the low angle of the sun from hitting our backyard, but I discovered a way to approximate the same effect: coloured filters over my flashlights.

      I recently picked up a kit of 52mm filters in so many different colours from K&F Concept: https://www.kentfaith.com/52mm-filters/SKU0834_52mm-filter-set-full-color-orange-blue-red-green-yellow-purple-pink-grey-brown-graduated-orange-blue-red-green-yellow-purple-pink-grey-brown-pouch . I didn’t have much intension of using the filters on my camera (though some creative concepts have come to mind), but rather to colourize light sources. The orange filter was on the primary flashlight shining from behind as backlighting, and I added a blue filter to a second light illuminating the foreground to add a bit of colour contrast and separation. Without the blue, it looked like I could have just faked the effect in Photoshop.

      This is mostly an out-of-camera photo, with a bit of cropping and processing for structure enhancements done in ON1 Photo RAW 2019. Loving how it can bring out details in fine textures like this, it’s more and more becoming the starting point of any image edit rather than Lightroom. A complex edit to remove a catch-light from the blue flashlight needed to be handled in Photoshop, but this is otherwise an all-natural in-the-field creation.

      A bright backlight is important for the best quality results here, the brighter the better. I’m using a NiteCore Tiny Monster TM36 (now replaced by the TM38: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1364873-REG/nitecore_tm38_rechargeable_led_searchlight.html/BI/8924/KBID/10335/kw/NITM38/DFF/d10-v2-t1-xNITM38 ) which has 1800 lumens from a single LED. The singular LED is important, because I use a simple sheet magnifier / Fresnel lens (https://www.amazon.com/Opticlens-Magnifier-Plastic-Magnifying-Fresnel/dp/B01KADV8HK/ ) to refocus the intense light down to just the footprint of the soap bubble. This allows me to shoot at low ISO settings and small apertures without getting any motion blur from the growing crystals.

      Shot on the Lumix GX9 with the Leica 45mm F/2.8 macro @ ISO 200, F/22, 1/250sec. Even at F/22 the focus starts to fall off quickly when you get up close, so the bright light is always helpful.

      This image is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There were other images from the same session that I’ll post soon, but the gears are spinning in my head with new experiments and additional lights for some fun effects. Images like this are constructed by the photographer, becoming an artist of many facets. Because of that, there is always more to explore.

    • And you probably will, @Chris! One question though: where is the terms and conditions for Cake? I just want to be clear about what rights/licenses are granted when I upload an image to this platform. Any help here would be appreciated. :)

    • Almost looks like a sci-fi image of a plant accreting or the distraction of one. Always fun playing with lighting and the effects you can get, even adding gels the white balancing to change the rest of the image can add great effects. Great work as always Don, Alway fun seeing just what your mind will come up with next. 👍🏻

    • Hah, thanks @Glenn_Smith! Most lighting gels offer modest sways of colour, but these filters are super saturated and really fun to play with. The next time we get the right conditions I'm going to play with a 3 or 4-light setup. I was shocked we had the right conditions so early in the season!

    • I heard the pod cast the other day when you covered these super saturated filters. May have to give that a go on my Fungi shots one day. Your getting the cool weather early and the heat was here the other day well above what it should be 40s are usually January temps not November (centigrade) yesterday floods here 100mm plus in 90 minutes. So no wonder you have the cold there now.

    • Hi Don, if you tap on your profile pic a menu will come up with the terms, but here's a link below. It's awful that we have to use wording like megacorps do, such as Instagram, but what we're trying to convey is that we can use the images in the context of how the site functions. But you retain full ownership of your own images.

      For example of using the images for the site to function best, if someone were to link to this conversation from Twitter or Facebook, they would see a reduced-size version of your photo. I just linked to Seán Doran's interview from my Facebook and this is what the preview link looks like:

      I hope this helps.

    • It most certainly helps, @Chris! At first glance there is some slight concern with "you hereby grant to Cake a non-exclusive, fully paid, royalty-free,
      worldwide license to use the Content that you post on Cake to provide
      the Service, subject to our Privacy Policy." - it would be great if language like this limited the license to just usage related to my post. The way it currently stands, Cake could theoretically use any image for marketing, advertising or branding purposes because the license is to "provide the Service" and such usage is not explicitly forbidden by the Privacy Policy.

      If you legitimately have no need to use the image or the post ("Content") out of context, it would be great that the terms reflect that. Honestly, misusing Content would roast you in the court of public opinion even though you'd be safe in the court of law, so you're incredibly unlikely to do so, but still. Protections to Content creators is valuable and fairness in a Terms of Service agreement is a hard thing to find. :)

    • Yeah, I usually choose picks that I am actively shooting with or using professionally, and these filters were used the day before recording. :) Clearly you're in the southern hemisphere, but we rarely get anything close to 40C in the height of summer. 35 tops unless it's a record-breaking fluke... and that level of rain? No way. Not ever. I suppose I should be thankful for the Canadian climate that I live in! No floods, hurricanes, volcanoes, or earthquakes!

    • Unfortunately I know how difficult is because I'm the cofounder of SmugMug, which bought Flickr, so we depend on not betraying photographers. My family and I own both companies.

      The hard thing has always been what constitutes providing the service. You may have in your mind that the photo is part of a post and that's as far as it goes. But if someone embeds a link to your post somewhere, a preview of your photo may appear on their blog the same way as if you had posted your photo to Twitter, Instagram or Flickr.

      An example is I tweeted about my Interview with Seán Doran today:

      So Seán's image from Flickr got embedded in a post on Cake, which got embedded in a Tweet and from there could be embedded in The New York Times. It's all part of how the service works and most people want that, but we have to be legally explicit about it.

    • @Chris that all makes perfect and logical sense, thanks! My point however is that it is all directly related to the Content in the form that it was originally used on the service, as it should be. The current Terms (it's not just you, it's everyone) allow for you to say, print my images on your company Christmas cards without permission or compensation. Would you do that? No, but you could. I do understand it's like splitting hairs, but I'm all about the details! :)

      Oh, and it's because of your work with SmugMug that I'm even here. Keep up the great work, let me know if there's any way I can help.

    • I need to take my crystal balls out into nature - bought them some time ago for exactly this sort of image. :)

    You've been invited!