Thursday, 18 December 2014

Soap film photographs #1

Further to the previous post - Professor Boys' Rainbow Cup and other marvels - this evening I made a trial attempt at photographing soap films. This was just using the usual Canon Ixus pocket camera, handheld, looking at a detergent film in the handle of a corkscrew. The setup is dark background, and strong reflected light at an angle.

The basic explanation is Newton's scale of interference colours: the interaction of surface tension and gravity means the film is thinner at the top than the bottom, so you get a range of colours that are a function of film thickness.

If the whole setup were perfect and static, you'd just get a series of colour bands. However, turbulence and rising bubbles produce very interesting patterns due to the thickness variation they cause in the film. As I mentioned previously, Andrew Davidhazy's Dynamic interference colors in thin soap films gives more specific tips - but this brief trial, with no setup whatsoever, suggests it's not going to be wildly difficult to get good results. Sorry that they're mildly out of focus; the important point seems to be combining close-up with depth of field. As you have to be at an angle to the film, different parts of it are at different distances.

How psychedelic is this?
- Ray

1 comment:

  1. Trippy! I never could figure out how to get decent soap bubble pictures, but I now feel inspired to try again.