Photographing soap bubbles


yesterday I found a new photo idea and needed to try it straight away. ;) Of course I want to show you the results and tell you how I done that. :)

After I was playing around now with water drops, things which fall into water (splish-splash) and macro, it was time today for soap bubbles.

Yes, right. This bubbles which children like to let them fly in the air. ;)

Actually I had straight 2 ideas. If you let a soap bubble fly outside in the sunshine, then you was probably amazed about the colorful round bubbles.

Why this bubbles are so colorful… is complicated :D But I wanted to catch this colors.

On the other side is it creating really amazing pictures when the bubble burst.

And when you read this both points, then it should be quick clear that the 2nd point should be much harder to achieve then the 1st. Because the bubble is bursting so quick that it is not possible to catch for the human eye. But the practice is a bit different.

So, first step. Trying to catch the colors of the bubble.

I was reading a bit in the internet about it and they said the light is the most important. No, problem, i have 2 flashes with slave mode (so, I can remote control them). Then – of course – you need soap water. It’s not hard to make. Just add a bit water to a glass, plus a bit soap. For the fist step I’ve added as well a bit glycerin, that the bubbles are more stable and I’ll have more time to shoot them.

The setup was very simple. The glas on my desk, a flash from the top, the other one from the side, my desk lamp on the position of the bubble (that I see something while focusing). In front of the desk my E-620 with the 35mm macro lens.

Das Feuer in der Blase

And then I’ve started. Blowing a bubble on the straw and putting the straw with the bubble on the glass, that I can focus it.

And then trying to focus manually. Because the automatic focus doesn’t work with the look trough bubble. But also manual is it not really easy to see and focus on one ‘wall’ of the bubble.

And then pushing the shutter… and quick it was clear… it doesn’t work like that.

The bubble was still ‘invisible’ and only the pieces of it, which the Softbox lighted up was colorful.

And then the improvisation started. I don’t have a bigger softbox. So I was building up paper wall through which I tried to flash, to get a bigger light-wall. But due to the ball shape of the bubble I would have needed a light-wall from the top, left, right, bottom and front… :( Damn.

So, I just got results with partly colorful bubbles.

I think a good solution would be to try it again outside, in the sun. But then there shouldn’t be any wind at all.

But a few interesting shots I could take.

Das Meisterstück des Versuchs

Ok, then it was time for the second part of the shooting. The bursting soap bubble.

The setting was the same. Flash from the left, flash from the top and the camera on a tripod in front of the desk. The focus was this time fix on the collusion object.

Soap bubbles are very unstable objects… that is at least what I know about it. So, my thought was that I just need something on which I can hit the soap bubble and it should burst. Should work…

I fixed a toothpick on the desk and made a bubble and… ‘hit’… the toothpick was in the bubble… but no sign of bursting. … Great…

Then I remembered the Glycerin in the water. So, I needed a new mixture. Just water with a bit of soap. And the next try… the same result. But the bubbles was much more unstable already. So, I just needed a bigger collusion object. An old candy seemed a good idea (which even looks good on the picture :D ).

But even the candy doesn’t gave me the result I expected. The soap bubble was attaching now to the candy and left the straw. … Looked also nice, but not what I wanted.

And then I found the trick. I had to blow up the bubble until the surface turned red-green. Seems like then the wall is so thin that it burst easily. (I think the colors vary by the mixture.)

So, when I had the bubble in this condition, then it was bursting as soon as it was hitting the object.

Seifenblase platzt von oben nach unten

And now it was just a question of timing. And this is also hard (if you do it manually). The bubble is bursting in millisecond, to fast for the human eye.

In one moment it’s there and in the next it’s gone.

So, I had a lot of pictures with bubble and a lot without bubble… and some I catch in the right moment.  :)

So it is like always… not easy, but the results are great. Especially the bursting bubbles are amazing. Didn’t thought they will turn out so nice.

And with better equipment it could be even better.

By the way, maybe a few words to that.

It is very important to use flashes with a short burning time. Because the flash is freezing the moment, not the camera.

I used the setting 1/128 with my Yongnuo YN560II. That is the lowest power I can set up. But it seems like ok. As faster as better.

So, I hope you liked the article and if you have questions… just leave me a comment. Of course you can also leave a comment without question ;)



Germany again the bogeyman


I wrote yesterday already about the current situation in Cyprus about the expropriation of the private finances. There is not much new yet. At least nothing concrete. As far as I was reading yet, there is no decision made in the parliament yet. The president tries to renegotiate.

Without comment

But I just saw something else on Facebook. The picture beside The pictures beside and below have been posted in a group in Facebook (just a small selection of the last 10 hours). And the pictures have been shared and liked a lot. As comment you can read hate slogans about Germany.

And honestly… it makes me sick. Doesn’t matter what happen in the EU… it’s the fault of Germany. And Angela Merkel is the bogeyman no. 1 (because federal chancellor of Germany).

Angela Merkel is showing a woman the middle finger, while she is trying to get money from the ATM

But to our current story… if the people, which created this pictures,that the decision for this compulsory charge is made by the finance minister of the EU and not from Angela Merkel or Germany. I doubt it.

And this is just the current example. I saw this kind of pictures already in the time when Greece got 80 Billion Euro from the EU(!). Till now is Germany the most hated country… in the countries which got aid payments.

I am really not a big patriot (if you’ll get this thought now). Bit what enough is, is enough.

If these people know that Germany is the country which is paying the highest percentage of the EU bailout fund? Germany pays 29,07% of the money in the big pot and is no. 1, straight after is France with 21,83% and no 3 is Italy with 19,18%.

Here is Germany now part of the Cyprus conflict. Now is also our fault.

Which means that the German citizen are paying 392,40 Billion Euro to help other countries… and they are hated for that. I was wondering already, back the time when in Greece the fight with hate paroles against Germany started, why Germany wasn’t showing the middle finger and then bringing the money back in the own country. If help gets hate as reply… sorry, but every normal human would have been canceled the friendship already.

Another ‘nice’ art work. Only comment so far: ‘Hitler woman’ … any further comment needed?

And why it is now especially Germany… and not France or Italy or any other country… or maybe finally the ones which really make the decisions and the restriction: The EU … that knows probably nobody anymore.

The people just know one thing… When the shit hits the fan… then it’s Germany and Angela Merkels fault… for sure… without questioning.

Lets make quick some hate pictures and paroles and spread them in the world… enough people will like and share this bullshit and my page will become famous.

Well, on the other side… there is always someone who is doing something and always someone who let it do with them self.

So… that needed to be said.

On that note

Imagine you wake up one day and your bank account has been plundered…


Imagine you get up one day and someone took money from your bank account. Without asking you, without your permission.
What will you do? Police, criminal complaint, trying to get the money back? I think that would be the normal way, isn’t it?

Well, exactly this just happened. Not (only) with me. But with all customer of Cyprus banks. And the money wasn’t withdrawn by a militant hacking group. No, it was withdrawn by the bank itself. Confused? Let me try to explain with the information I got out of several news feeds.

So… it’s known that Cyprus is also in the crisis. It was asking for 17 billion Euro from the EU relief fund. The EU decided they’ll get 10 billion Euro now. But before they decided that the Cypriots also have to ‘help’. More precisely the finance minister of the IWF and the EZB decided a forced fee of 6,75% of all bank accounts up to 100.000 Euro and 9,90% over 100.000 Euro. This amount will be taken of all accounts in a Cyprus bank.
Just like that?

Yes, just like that. Without any notice before, without asking. On friday the world was still fine for the Cypriots. On Saturday morning not anymore, the money was already frozen and first after that they spread the information about this forced fee in the news. Now is bank holiday in Cyprus and the banks open first on Tuesday again, that’s why they deactivated also the transfer forms in the online banking. To prevent that the people transfer their money to bank accounts outside of Cyprus.

And that is not everything. There is no law for such actions. This will be done till Tuesday. Basically that means that first you condemn a criminal and after you make the law on which this condemn is based on.

With this step Cyprus attains 5,8 Billion Euro from bank accounts in Cyprus banks. Expropriation… that reminds me on war. And – to be honest – I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar would be happen on Tuesday, when the banks are open again and the money is really gone.
Cypriots are not that willing to resort to violence as Greeks … but they also hold back their rage. … We will see.

Now we could say ‘Yes, it’s correct like that. The EU is also paying 10 Billion Euro. Then the Cypriots can also help by themselft.’. Correct so far. But there is no selection. It hits everybody. The millionaire as well as the unemployed, the pensioner, the father who saved money for the wedding of the daughter, the son who worked hard for years to make their family a good home…

Also Cyprus just became a guinea pig. Because if this works here in Cyprus, then they can do it also in other countries. With more bank accounts, to get more money.
If I try to imagine that they do the same in one month in Greece… it will end very badly.

Ok, lets wait and see what happen on Tuesday, when the banks open again. If the money is really gone and if they made this law. Without law, no fee.

On my bank account nothing happen so far. Except that I can’t transfer any money. But I’ve heard from other people they they froze this amount already or even took it from the account. But how correct this information are, I can’t say or prove.

I’ll write an update next week, when I have more information… if I’ll be still here and not already on the run.

Best regards

Focus stacking – How to get more depth of field


today I’d like to write some quick words about my new playing around (it’s late already).

After I started a few weeks ago with macro photography, I realized quickly that there is a big disadvantage. The depth of field is very small. I like to go to the maximum magnification factor I can get out of my 35mm macro lens (which is 1:1). As bigger as better :) But in this case the depth of field is below 1 mm (approx).

But what is the depth of field? It is the area on the photo with is sharp. It doesn’t really matter for landscape pictures, because here is mostly everything sharp. More already it matters at portrait photography. But here is it ‘just’ a technique for pictorial designing and wanted.

At the macro photography is the camera not “asking” anymore if we would like to have some sharp and blurry areas. It is just like it is. Sure, we can use a smaller aperture  (is this correct in English?… damn… hard to write gobbledygook in English… sorry) till it’s dark… doesn’t really help. Ok, in compare to the highest aperture is it a difference, but still not a lot.

And here we come to focus stacking. It’s a special technique. And as the name is saying it already.. we stack the focus (of several pictures) to one clear focused picture.

Here my “model” from today. :) Bit below you can see the the picture of the bloom.

How does it work?

“Very simple”. :) As I just said, we need several pictures. The focus of each picture is shifted in a way that the summary of all pictures together is one single sharp picture. Sounds complicated? It’s simple.

Lets say we have a bloom of 1cm depth, which we want to have full in focus / sharp. Our depth of field (per picture) is 1,5 mm.

Now we start at the beginning of the bloom and make our 1st picture. Then we focus 1mm behind the 1st focus point (0.5mm we leave for overlapping). And so we create our “focus slices” till the end of the bloom. In this example it should be 10 single pictures.

Now we add this pictures into a special software for focus stacking. There are several out there. Just ask Google for “focus stacking software”. I personally use CombineZP, it is free but not so simple to use and maybe also not so powerful then other solutions).

The software is doing exactly what I said before. It takes your pictures and is combining them in a way that at the end it will give us one single picture which combined the sharp areas of all 10 pictures together. If we was working correctly, it will create us an image of a bloom full in focus (sharp). If we wasn’t working correctly… then there will be blurry spots in the picture (like I had today all the time).

The stupid thing is, that you see only after all the steps when you wasn’t working correctly. :(

The  stacked’ picture of the flower (see above). When you have a closer look, you can see that there are still blurry areas. Here I wasn’t working accurate while making the pictures. :(

So, is it that simple? No, not really :)

It should be clear that during the whole process neither the camera nor the object should move at all. It means you need to use a tripod and the ‘model’… well… that to do. Choose a model which doesn’t mode at all… a tree for example :) If you’d like to make a focus stack of an animal… be very quick.

Then there are 2 different techniques to do the focus stack. You can put the focus on your camera to the manual mode and then focusing direct on the lens (veryy carefully).

Or you get a focusingrail. Which is the better way. The camera will be screwed on the focusingrail and the rail will move basically the whole camera… accurate to the millimeter. And, of course, with the camera is also the focus range moving. To make it more simple are on the focusingrail already measuring scales.

I’ve got a fourway focusingrail. Not just for the focus stacking. Also that I don’t have to move the tripod always… 1cm to the left, 2 cm to the front, 5 cm back… to get my object in focus when I make some macro shots. It’s a very helpful tool for this kind of photography.

And when you see the difference between a normal macro picture and a focus stack… then you see quickly that it worth the work ;)

Ok, so far from my side today. If you have questions or you’d like to say anything… just leave me a comment. I’d like to see that people read my blog ;)

Cu soon