I thought I would have a go at taking a different sort of bubble picture this week, having done the airbourne variety recently. This time, it was the floating sort, and I chose a nice Merlot for the liquid. It had the advantage that, if the shots didn’t work out, at least it would be nice to drink!
I filled a wine glass to the brim with Merlot, lit from the left side with a YN560 speedlight set to 1/8 power, shooting through a Stofen diffuser. The background was lit with another YN560 this time set to 1/32, shooting through a piece of opaque plastic and coloured gel (blue, yellow, green etc). I did have to alter the power to about 1/8 in some cases to allow for the density of the gel.
The camera was again set to ISO 100, 1/250 at f/14, which gave a black frame with no flash. I was using the 60mm EF-S f/2.8 USM macro lens and all shots were hand held. I found this was the easiest way of quickly framing the shots as the bubbles moved about on the surface (bear in mind that the “real” exposure time is much less than 1/250 shutter speed – it actually equates to the much shorter flash duration – so hand holding the shots wasn’t going to cause any camera shake).
The hardest thing was focus – in the end, I set the lens to manual at the shortest focussing distance, and then moved myself to get the bubbles sharp. It worked pretty well. I was shooting almost horizontally across the top of the liquid (to get some good reflections of the coloured background) and focussing on the the rear edge of the glass where I blew the bubbles with a tiny pipette:
There was a little bit of post-production required, mainly levels tweaks and some spotting where tiny bubbles made the compositions look a bit messy, plus a bit of unsharp mask.
My favourite from the shoot was this one, which I’m going to use for a competition called “inner landscape”:
I’ve learned that perhaps the Merlot wasn’t the ideal liquid for this kind of thing, as it was pretty dense and it was difficult to light. Perhaps I’ll use a lighter red or rosé in future!