Photographer Jens Heidler, who was recently featured for his macro video of snowflakes melting in reverse, has published a 5-minute instructional video on how to create frozen soap bubbles for dazzling macro photos.
The first half of Heidler’s video beautifully shows how the bubbles form and freeze in real-time. But what if you want to make these effects yourself? The next portion is dedicated to answering ten common questions that address the specific ways he is able to reproduce the effect.
Firstly, Heidler explains that the temperature he uses to capture the freezing action is -5 degrees Celcius, or 23 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, it takes about 20 seconds for the freezing to start. It can take anywhere between five seconds and two or three minutes depending on how much glycerin is used and the freezing temperature you choose.
Building on this point, Heidler says that -10 degrees Celcius, or 14 degrees Fahrenheit, is the coldest you will want to go for this kind of work. Any colder, and the bubble freezes too fast and you won’t be able to capture some of the intricate beauty that occurs as the bubbles freeze.
The bubble mixture that Heidler uses is 80% water, 10% dish soap, and 10% glycerin.
The images shown here weren’t captured with any special lighting, which makes trying photos like these at home even more approachable. Heidler says that at night, where he gets the dramatic black background to the images, he illuminates them with a simple flashlight. During the day, he uses just sunlight.
Forming the bubbles is done by using a long straw and gently blowing air into the bubble mixture. After you pull the straw away, get ready to take the photo because the bubble will start freezing quickly. Beyond that, it’s a matter of playing with light, angles, and catching the crystalization at just the right moment.
For more videos and tips, subscribe to Heidler’s YouTube Channel.
Image credits: Photos by Jens Heidler and used with permission.