I wrote an article for this blog a year ago extolling the virtues of my new Nikon 800E and Zeiss Makro Planar 100mm f.2. I concluded both were ‘beyond stunning’ forphotographing my soap bubbles. To date and considerable photographing later they have superseded that opinion into the stratosphere and this is no exaggeration.
This is one of the images posted last year. Nothing special you might be thinking. However, zoom to each of the three intersections of the bubble – known as the ‘Plateau Borders’ and the ﬂuid mechanics of the bubble becomes apparent. Over the past several years of photographing soap bubbles I have never seen this with such clarity – Plateau Borders always appeared as a relatively plain, blue triangle. As a result, I began to research books, online picture libraries, online university archives and published academic papers to find similar images but came up with nothing. So I sent some photographs to Dr.Cyril Isenberg at Kent University and author of The Science of Soap Films and Soap Bubbles. His reply was encouraging because he too had not seen minutiae of this nature in a photograph either.
At the time I was a full time BA (Hons) Photography student at the Arts University Bournemouth. The several frames of photographic serendipity had catapulted me away from bubble photographs for Art to bubble photographs for Science. Not exactly what I had enrolled for, but my Tutors were encouraging non the less.
Soap bubbles are studied extensively in a wide range of subjects and surprising by their significance and continual reliability. Because of this, I deferred the last few months of my final year to concentrate on additional scientific research and to fine tune my photographic techniques to produce images that would benefit the scientific community and their research. The image below is one of many I’ve taken since then.
The original raw image
You have to admit, the Nikon and Zeiss are capable of astounding results. In the main image below you’ll see a small hole positioned in the centre of the lower soap film arch. It looks like two tiny bubbles are about to be dragged in. Indeed, this is where they are ‘filtered’ to. The larger bubble also looks like its heading in the same direction but that ﬂows another direction. It is apparent that bubbles of a specific size ﬂow through the hole, even smaller ones ﬂow away from the hole. You’d think bubbles of a certain size and smaller ones would be sucked in but that is not the case. The hole seems to be there for specific sized bubbles only. Obviously, I can’t say this with absolute certainty because I don’t have the equipment to take exact measurements, but I do have an idea as to how it could be done if I did have them.
There is much more to say in relation to the Plateau Borders and the photographs but I think I should stop now, I don’t want to bore anyone!
I could write an updated review of the Nikon & Zeiss but the images alone are praise enough. A bubble is in constant motion and the liquid within ﬂows at surprisingly high velocities. With this in mind it is apparent the lens and recording capability of the camera are something to behold, together they are truly exquisite and wonderful to use.
I have tweaked the saturation and clarity in LightRoom, and I do mean tweaked … fractionally.
I returned to Uni to finish my degree in September and i’m commingling bubbles for ArtScience now. The three images below are the first ‘dehydrated’ bubbles I’ve taken as part of my course. They’re solid and won’t burst if I prick them. They appear the same as the day I produced them six weeks ago. I’m wondering what will happen over time.
Every bubble photograph I take inevitably leads to another field of photographic
experimentation and exploration and this is why I keep on photographing them. Critters to photograph and an endless challenge, but as a subject they have endless possibilities. For the most part, the results are worth it.
I have my first lesson on the 800E video function next week, if the clips turn out to be as precise as the images I’ll be very pleased indeed. It will be fascinating to see what happens within a super-sized Plateau Border on a TV screen. For this I’ll definitely need an additional piece of kit.
As with my previous article, I do like to end on a lighter note and I hope you do too.
Rude Bubble No 2
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