What do you do when you want to take pictures but the temps are below zero and you want to stay close to home? Try this fun creative winter photo project. If you search the net, you will find many different recipes to make soap bubbles that freeze into beautiful creative objects.
Frozen Soap Bubble Recipe
A recipe that I used to start my recipe is located here.
I substituted glycerine for corn syrup since I had glycerine and had no future need for corn syrup. I did experiment with brown and white sugar and each one created an interesting look.
My first mixture didn’t freeze as hoped but it did create an interesting pattern of colors – I vote for the brown sugar and glycerine combination.
Using the Olympus E-M1MarkII and 60 mm macro, this is what the surface of the bubble look like as it attempted to freeze but instead swirled around creating beautiful patterns. Maybe I had too much glycerine in the mix?
Frozen Soap Bubble Success
I tried a few different combinations of bubble mixes and lights but the wind was too strong carrying them away before they froze and or I didn’t like the way the lights illuminated the bubble. Then I decided to put the bubbles on top of our frozen pool. This idea proved successful since it seemed the soap bubble ‘stuck’ to the frozen snow on the pool cover. I used the setting sun to backlight the frozen bubble and the snow reflected light creating amazing patterns. Again, I used the Olympus E-M1MarkII and 60 mm macro and was able to get an interesting set of freezing lines in the soap bubble. Although this was a similar mixture to the first image, the colors didn’t pop but created a muted look with fun lines and swirls.
The temps were in the single digits but I think the amount of glycerine and sugar in the mix caused it to not freeze too fast but when it did, it was ‘solid’.
I continued experimenting with mixtures including coloring which ruined the mix causing no bubbles to create – what a messy, sticky solution 😐 I think the mixture will be on the pool cover until the spring thaw.
After tossing that mix, I used a mixture of dish soap, glycerine, and white sugar. The temps dropped below zero degrees F and the winds were over ten MPH. I couldn’t sleep and was up around 0200 but went back to sleep thinking of what to do to ‘protect’ the fragile soap bubble (and my body). Tis was not a good situation for being outside so I set-up shop in an area near our house which was still freezing (my mixture froze while in the container) but protected from the winds.
Using miniature toys for props in your frozen soap bubble images
It was then that I decided to use some of the miniature items I often use in macro work but never considered for frozen bubbles.
The pedestal was my first choice and I backlit the image by bouncing a strobe off a paper backdrop created from a summer image. Using a straw to ensure the bubble ‘landed’ where I wanted it, I took many images but the one when the frozen bubble started collapsing was my favorite. (I might edit the others and post in the future – maybe when its 100 degrees out and folks are stating it is too cold 😀 .)
For this image, I used the Olympus 30 mm macro (which I believe is a sleeper lens) and had lots of fun. Using pocket wizards to trigger an off-camera flash, I bounced light into the backdrop and lit the scene.
Settings were – f/4.5 1/30 second and ISO 200. Handheld.
Frozen in time! Be creative with your photography!
As I was ‘playing’, I couldn’t decide how to utilize a miniature chair and then it dawned on me to try reflections. I place the chair very close to the front of the bubble and using the Olympus 30 mm macro, I was able to create this fun image. No, the chair isn’t ‘Photoshopped’ in and the combination of two LED lights created the dimension to the scene. I had an LED headlight positioned to camera right and an LED panel light, camera left.
If the weather stays this cold, I will continue to play and post more images. Watch my Facebook and Instagram feed for more tips, tricks, and images.
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Make the world a better place.