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.