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Making of "Iridescence"

Published July 2nd, 2012

There are two major challenges, when taking images of bursting soap bubbles. One is how to light the bubble, so that its colors become visible and second is obviously to capture the right moment. A soap bubble is made of a thin film of water, on which soap molecules gather on both sides. The vibrant colors, that bubbles are famous for, are created by the reflected light hitting the surface of the bubble. So the bubble itself has no color at all. To make these reflection effects, that create the colors, visible, I had to place lights around the bubbles from all different sides. The reflection of the illuminated panels around the bubble (as seen in the first image) are reflected inside the bubble, creating the colors. Now, to the second challenge, capturing the right moment. For that, you simply need high speed flashes and a LOT of patience. I did a couple of hundred shots to finally capture the moment, when soap film start to disrupt. It happens extremely quick. In most cases the bubble was already gone, when the flashes went off. But eventually one gets a sense of when the bubble bursts and the success rate of capturing the right moment starts to increase.


Project Setup

In this image, you can see the setup. The flashes are placed to the right, to the left and from top. Reflective panels are placed on three sites. On the right, you can see me forming the bubble using the metal part of a sugar pourer.

  • February 8th, 2012


On the right, you can see the funnel of the sugar pourer. At the right end of the bubble, you can still see the deformation created by blowing air into the bubble. A few microseconds later, the bubble will start to disrupt.

  • February 8th, 2012

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Guilherme Colosio  about 4 years ago

Hey dude! I had already seen a lot of your work! Thanks for sharing the tips of this project (:

sutlan masood siddiqui  over 5 years ago

lovely work !

Awesome Account
Jan Sung-Kyu Kroeni  almost 6 years ago

Love your work, just saw you on Aeschbacher :-)

Rémi Vannier  about 6 years ago

Great job !
I used to photography some "paintings" with oil rejects (you would see on my flickr stream), and I like those colors, and "shapes" you could see with iridescence.

Awesome Account
Dennis Jenders  about 6 years ago

Would love to hear more about your high-speed sync setup for capturing this.

Mariclair Jones-Werrmann  over 6 years ago


Jo Stein (inactive)  over 6 years ago

Excellent work!

Amy Shearer  over 6 years ago


Björn Ewers  over 6 years ago

Wow cool idea!

Kristoffer Rasmussen  over 6 years ago
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Davide Garieri  over 6 years ago


Awesome Account
Emanuele Molinari  over 6 years ago