1.12.2011

oil and water: the how-to

Yesterday I posted this picture,
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and today I'll show you how I did it.

I've been wanting to do this experiment forever, so when I saw it on the Pioneer Woman's blog earlier this week, I was inspired. For these shots, I used my Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS lens.

I took a glass dish and balanced it on 2 drinking glasses so light would come in underneath it. I didn't use food coloring; instead I laid a piece of wrapping paper under the dish. Here's my set-up:

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Here's a shot using the pink wrapping paper background. Even though my macro lens has image stabilization, I still used my tripod. I shot straight down through the glass dish.
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I also used a baby medicine syringe to drop the vegetable oil into the water. (This is probably not necessary; it's just the way I did it).

Here are a few more examples. When the bubbles look "flat" like this, it's time to put in more vegetable oil. They flatten more the longer they sit in the water.
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I put in more drops of vegetable oil for this shot. See how the circles are more spherical? Another thing that helps your circles look more 3D is to use a background with variations in the color. If you use one color, it will look flatter. Here I laid a dress underneath the bowl.
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They're flattening out again. (Which is fine, it just depends on what look you want).
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The absolute hardest part of this whole thing is having to focus manually. I can't wear glasses and take pictures, so I could barely see up this close to focus. My images aren't super super sharp...but it's easy to get them sharp (if you can see)! :-)
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I kept my aperture around f/3.2. I wonder if using a bit smaller aperture (bigger number, like f/3.5 or f/4), would help all the bubbles be in focus. The downside might be not blurring the wrapping paper (or fabric) enough. Maybe I should have tried that - oh well! :-) Next time.
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OK, guys, here's the part of the post I've been putting off for a couple months. Since I started my blog almost a year ago, I made it a point to return all comments, every single time. You might have noticed me falling behind in the past couple months. Your comments are a gigantic blessing to me; they keep me motivated to try new things and they bring me great joy! However, I'm no longer able to visit everyone back that leaves a comment. I'm so sorry! I'm very humbled to have such a great number of wonderful, amazing, encouraging friends that are hugely supportive! I wish there were enough hours in the day to thank you all personally! ♥

I'm a very sensitive person, and to not respond to someone is difficult for me, so I hope you'll understand.

This doesn't mean I won't ever visit your blog; I just can't keep up the same pace that I was. If you ever have any photography questions, please feel free to email me at karlibonnie@gmail.com and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I will always make time to answer questions! ♥

45 comments:

Sheri said...

Great shots and tutorial! I know what you mean about returning comments, I actually had to back off of commenting a bit because I wanted to comment on everyone's blogs. But it was taking too much time from my family.

Jaymi said...

These are awesome, I can't wait to try it! I just posted some water splash pictures, but its hard to focus that close without a macro lens!

Sara Ancich said...

I'm so glad I found you (your blog).

Mom of M&Ms said...

ready to shoot.. Thank you dear friend!!!!

Our Beaten Path said...

On my way to try it now.... :)

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! :-)

THESE SHOTS ARE AWESOME!!!!!! GREAT JOB!!!!

OK, settings raise your aperture to f/6 or higher f/8 would be where I would start. Then figure out your shutter speed from there. Get your ISO around 320. Since you are using a tripod the slow down of SS won't matter and just use your shutter release.

I too can't see well at all. Focusing on manual for macro shots is really hard for me because I wear glasses all of the time. I have learned how to compensate for that.

The medicine dropper is the best way to do it and will help you keep the oil bubbles spherical.

I'll do a test of this and post on my blog too - Lexi wants me to teach her so we will have some fun showing you what we come up with!

I love you Karli and thankful God crossed our paths!

XOXOO

SarahinSC said...

Wow! Can't wait to try this! It looks pretty simple but has amazing results. Don't sweat not being able to comment on someone's blog. I think most bloggers just comment to tell someone "nice job" and don't expect a return comment. :)

Melissa said...

Thanks for the tutorial!

Ashley Sisk said...

This is incredible and will be my new project for sure - and just so you know, I will cry if you don't respond to all my comments. I'm just kidding. Heck, I don't know how any of us are supposed to have a life but I heart you!

Susan said...

First of all these are amazing. So fun. Not sure how to do that if one didn't have that fancy lens. I'm getting a macro soon (60mm) so maybe I will try that. Second of all, no one responds to all their commenters. It just isn't possible. No one expects you to. It is so sweet that you tried to hang in there for so long. I think that it is nice to get a reply back, but it really isn't necessary. Third, if you try out disquis (which is a comment system) and people sign up for it, which is really easy, all you have to do is in your email, reply to it and it goes straight to their email. Or, in your comments you can reply right there, and the person will get that in their email box. Check out my blog if you get a chance and want to know what I am talking about it. It is a streamlined way to reply without having to go to every single persons blog to write a comment.

Natalie said...

You're a really sweet person ♥ I love how you threw that last bit into your post! When I go around commenting I really don't expect a returned comment, don't get me wrong I LOVE AND ADORE every. single. comment I get. BUT when I go and compliment someone on their work or stories I'm doing it for them, not me so I understand where you're coming from.

Secondly, that tutorial was GREAT! I saw a tut on .. OMG..I can't remember the blog, I wanna say MCP but I have NO CLUE :-0 but seems like that was the watermark? Idk. Anyhow I had the supplies she used (I used baby oil aloe GEL instead of oil and came out with a TOTALLY different effect but I still liked it) But I will have to try this way too someday ;) Thanks for sharing your knowledge! (And Feelings:)

Allie said...

These are all wonderful! Really! Would a 50mm 1.8 lens work for these? That's all I have so I'll try it! :)

My Photographic Eye by Irela said...

Karli....thank you for posting this. I will definitely try this one out too. Great information and thank you so much for sharing.

Brooke said...

These are all AMAZING! I love all the different colors. I would never dreamed up this idea. I learn so much here. And, I don't think people expect a personal response to every comment. Some reciprocation is good, certainly, but don't put so much pressure on yourself! It is hard to keep up with even blogging, let alone commenting. It is overwhelming at times!!!

Natalie said...

I love how you used the multi-colored paper instead of food color. Much more interesting!

Sarah Halstead said...

Very cool. Neat idea. I just wrote on my blog about not returning comments too. lol. Thank you for always doing tutorials. It is okay if you can't visit all the time. :D

Mandy said...

How cool!! Thanks for sharing how you did this. You're so gosh darn creative.

love and life ♥ said...

This is SOOOO cool! Love it! Thanks for sharing! xo

Sarah Andrews said...

I've seen a few of these shots by some of the "big" photogs out there but seriously - you blew them all away. For reals Karli Bonnie! Gorgeous images. I will have to try too - thanks for the tips!

Adeena said...

Wow - that is really cool!! :)

I always love your tutorials. :D I'm filing them away for future reference.

♥ Visit when you can. :)

Brooke said...

I love this! I love being able to see how other photographers get their shots, its always nice when we can learn from each other! Love your work!

Warren Baldwin said...

Very cool.

Tiffany said...

This is absolutely amazing. I will have to try this someday. I never would of thought of the napkin. That is an awesome idea. I love how its circular. I love how you have taken your time to comment on my blog when you can even though you don't need too but it makes me feel great.

I'm not surprised of how much feedback you get because you do inspire with your creativity and originality when it comes to your photos! it makes people want to come back for more and helps me to want to better myself :-)!!

Liz said...

these are so cool I am going to try this for sure. I just tried water drops. way fun.

I understand, for I am having a hard time keeping up as well and feel bad. Though I only have on a given day ten comments you would think I could keep up with even that. Gosh how does one with 80 comments keep up i wonder?????

well beautiful when i have mine up come and see.

Carrie said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these! These are so amazing.

Courtney said...

I'm so gonna do this! Thanks for the set up info. I am jealous you have that macro lens. One day.... :)

Jennifer said...

WOW! This is amazing. Thank you so much for the information and the tutorial. It was very kind of you. I can't wait to try this out!

kitten said...

Wow, The photos are amazing. Thanks for the tutorial.

Angela said...

Thank you for the information! I actually tried this before your tutorial and it didn't go so well. Taylor was helping me and said, "Mom, I think you need a dropper." :-) I guess I did - yours are fantastic!!

Don't worry about not being able to respond to all comments. I don't think anyone expects it, although I understand your feelings. I try to reply to every comment as well, and it is overwhelming!

happy me said...

OkayOkay! I'll try it.

And dude.
'Friendship' is like having a tiny pot of gold in your heart; you know it's there to dip into whenever you need it/have time/just want to hang out. The comfort comes from knowing it's there!

Mom of M&Ms said...

Seriously...stop me.. tell me to put down the eyedropper, and step away from the camera.. I am a woman gone mad.. but I think you will like what I did..not that you will ever find out, cuaes you are stepping back ( understandably) and will miss all the creative juices that you inspire in me. You will miss that I am having fun shooting again.. and that I am totally okay that my business is in Nebraska and I am in Texas.. and I have made no effort whatsoever to restart...but the water and oil have overtaken me..and I may never shoot another portrait again... (sigh)

Naomi said...

These are so cool...you always come up with such great ideas! Great work! :)

Jill said...

That is so cool Karli! It reminds me of a craft I just did with the kiddos - but that's a whole other story. Thank-you so much for the tutorial.

Warren Baldwin said...

Posting a picture by you and one by Angela on Family Fountain tonight.

wb

Hollyz World said...

You rock <3

Michelle said...

I read this a few days ago (and used some of your suggestions) but didn't get around to commenting till today.

First - you rock! Great tutorial!! And such cool shots! Love the colors!

And that last bit - perfect!! Totally understand and see, even though it might hurt a bit at first, in the end you may feel a bit better - and less stressed! Besides that - see all the love you're getting!!?? People understand (or at least the ones that count! lol!)

Sara said...

Great post and photos! Tried this out myself and had a great time. Thanks!

Jerry said...

Nice work! For your manual focusing problem, did you try to put camera on tripod and focus in zoomed down Live View? In macro I always use live view and zoom it down to maximum. It never fails and works like a charm.

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