Saturday, May 4, 2013


I must admit that I enjoyed looking through these photos today more than right after I first took them. That often seems to be the case--sometimes I just need a little space between the actual event and the resulting images. (But then it expires after a certain point and I will look at photos from years ago and be all, "What was I thinking?!")

Unfortunately, it was a windy day when my mom and I went out to practice bubble photography. Bubbles always seem much more controllable in my mind, but in practice they have a mind of their own. Controlling them in perfectly calm conditions is challenging enough, but when it's windy it's more of a coincidence when they land right. I know my mom was feeling the frustration when I'd say, "I want it to land right here nestled in the flowers--this spot would be perfect." I don't ask for much!

I had previously come across a cool bubble-in-the-flowers photo that I was trying to recreate. Above are the closest I could get to that particular image. I had no idea what the photographer of that picture may have gone through to get that shot. It all seemed pretty straight forward to me! I just needed a bubble-blower, and the rest would happen naturally, right? :)

My first challenge, which I anticipated pre-shoot, was that bubbles are a little on the fragile side. Maybe you've noticed. I had come across some recipes online that made stronger bubbles, and they included glycerin. I wasn't sure if we'd find that (plus I read it was expensive), so I also found one that used corn syrup. Well, if Target carries glycerin, the employees in Yuba City don't realize it, because we asked and they didn't even know what we were talking about. (My mom and I had no plans to go all over town in search of glycerin--we just happened to be at Target for other reasons and thought we'd check before buying corn syrup.)

So we went with the corn syrup (mixed with water and dish soap). It seemed to strengthen the bubbles a bit, but only if you kept it nice and mixed. The slightly unstable solution, along with wind and loading a $1 large bubble wand just right, meant we never knew what to expect. It was all very unglamorous and tiring, but I'm so happy my mom was there to help me practice. It was a fun and funny experience.

(I should mention that I didn't actually measure the ingredients, so maybe it would've worked better if I had.)

Looking at these pictures makes me want to try again. There's a lot of potential, I think.

Something funny about these corn syrup bubbles was their behavior compared to what we're used to. The ones that survived for a minute or more seemed to have a dramatic death. They would change colors and become more and more vivid. I think regular bubbles do this, but definitely not as vibrantly.

And then when they popped, they were like colored plastic wrap.

(Yes, I apologized to my mom for putting soap and corn syrup all over her plants and flowers. She didn't mind. This is why I didn't want to try this at some public garden! I forgot to ask my mom whether any flowers/leaves died as a result, and now she's on vacation for a couple of weeks so I can't ask.)

The color-changing effect was pretty cool. It gave some of the reflected scenes a sunsetty look. (There I am! I'm in several of these.)

Like this!

In this one I focused more on the surface of the bubble than the reflection, so you can see lots of texture happening as the ingredients separate. Doesn't this look a little like an upside down Van Gogh painting?

Here, see.. Starry Night, sort of. And maybe a lesson on fertilization? ;)

I show up pretty clear in this one.

So I waved. BAM--self portrait. (And no I will not call it a selfie! Who else thinks that's an annoying term?)

This poppy is being smothered.

Here's a closeup. It looks like a little swimming pool. It's where the bugs come relax on the weekends.

There are lots of poppy photos because we seemed to have the best luck with them--maybe it was their location.

A little out of focus, but it shows some of the pretty colors and the way this bubble wrapped around a plant and didn't pop.

After getting totally burnt out with trying to place the bubbles just so, I had my mom just blow a few up in the sky so I could catch them floating. Some would fall right to the ground.

Here's a "snowman," as my mom called it.

This is like a reverse eclipse.

Here's a negative of that picture just for funzies.

And here was one with pretty coloring and a visible scene. Let's zoom in.

I didn't catch the right focus, but you can see my parents' back yard and my mom is standing off to the left. I think that's me in the middle, looking more like a purple butterfly than a human because I'm right at the point where it reflects the scene upside down and reversed.

I would definitely like to try this again sometime! With various backdrops, I bet some really cool photos could be taken. Also, it would be nice to make glycerin bubbles and practice on a very calm day with lots of flowers and nature to work with. Sometime I'll have to rent the macro lens again (or buy one), although I think some of these might even work okay with a good regular lens.

Thanks for looking!


  1. I love all of the purple and yellow-y orange in those bubbles! I would have never thought that the bubble would cling to the leaves like that after popping. Did you ever find a tiny screwdriver?

  2. I feel a major sense if accomplishment now that I figured out how to make my comments post properly using my phone! YES!!!!!!!!!

  3. Dania - Thanks! Yeah, it's the corn syrup, I guess.

    Haha...that question seems totally random, but I know that it's related. :) No, I haven't, but I need to either find one or get a different bubble maker because I'm really hoping to try one at my next portrait session (it's a 1-year-old).

    Congrats on having comment success!

  4. Oh! And isn't glycerin in the pharmacy section? That's just a guess...

  5. Dania - Yes, that's where we asked about it, but they didn't know what we meant or where it would be. They were doing all sorts of inventory or stocking, so it wasn't easy for my mom and I to move around looking for it, so we just dropped it. Plus, I read that the glycerin bubble solution should set for a night before using it, and I wanted to start that day.

  6. Wow these are really really neat! Some of my favorite pics you've ever posted! : )

    Thanks for pointing out we could see your reflection, I probably wouldn't have noticed.

  7. I love bubbles. I love flowers. I love photos. I love you.

    Could there be a better combination?

    Beautiful. I can't wait to see results of glycerin bubbles at some point.

  8. Finally commenting after all this time! My poppies are dying, but they always do this time of year. They (or their offspring) will return next year. :)

    I enjoyed all the bubble photos and I enjoyed assisting you.

    Thanks, love, Mom



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