Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When Worlds Collide - Weird and Amazing Macro Photography!

If you recognize this blog post title as the title of a 1930's science fiction novel or 1951 film then you are a true Sci-Fi Geek.

I heard someone talk about doing this macro photography trick at the Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge last month.  It is a cool effect and all you need is a clear pan, water, oil and a close up or macro capable camera.  

I used one of June's pyrex dishes, a 1/4 inch of water and some cooking oil.   I put the dish between two chairs and positioned the camera so it was pointing straight down at the surface of the water.   I added some of the oil and let it collect into little spheres on the surface of the water.  

I learned you don't want to stir the oil/water too much because it will continue to move for a long time and it creates air bubbles on the surface, which are not as interesting as the oil itself.  

Click on any image for a larger view.

To add interest I needed something colorful to place under the dish to add some color.   What better than the gift bags my birthday presents were in!   By moving the bag around I got different color combinations.

I then used a small LED flashlight to shine on the bag, highlighting different colors.  I kept experimenting by moving the bag and light around.  You can see my simple setup below.

This was a lot of fun to do.  If you want to try it out, here are some suggestions.

  1. Use a medium aperture like f/8.  Smaller and your depth of field is too small.  Larger and you start to see details below the dish.
  2. Don't stir the water too much.
  3. Wait for the water and oil to stop moving.
  4. Make sure the camera is perpendicular to the surface of the water.
  5. Decide what you want to be sharp and focus on that.
  6. Try lots of different shots, lighting, colors, what ever you can think of.
Give it a try.  Amaze your friends and family!   It's fun and easy.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow - those are really cool -- I need to try that! Thanks for the helpful advice!