For his project titled “Iridient,” Zurich, Switzerland-based photographer Fabian Oefner shot a series of beautiful high-speed photographs showing colorful soap bubbles bursting and disappearing into a cloud of tiny droplets.
The images were created with the help of high-speed flash units. Flip through the images in the series, and you’ll see bubbles go from being fully intact, to having one side start to disintegrate, to having the entire bubble shape disappear into drops of soap water.
Oefner says there are two major challenges to this type of photography. The first is lighting: how do you light the soap bubbles so that their colors are visible to the camera? The photographer did this by placing lights around the bubbles from many different sides.
By illuminating panels surrounding the bubbles, light is reflected inside the bubbles and colors appear in the shot. The setup for these shots was as follows: Oefner placed flashes to one side and reflective panels on the other 3 sides. He then created bubbles using the metal part of a sugar pourer:
The second challenge is capturing the popping bubbles at the right moment. This requires “high speed flashes and a lot of patience,” Oefner writes.
It took a couple hundred shots to finally capture the brief moment at which the soap’s film begins to pop. A lot of it is simply practice. Oefner says that “eventually one gets a sense of when the bubble bursts and the success rate of capturing the right moment starts to increase.”
Head on over to Oefner’s website and 500px page to see more of his work. Oefner is the same photographer who shot the photos of paint being flung by a drill bit and nebulae photos shot using fiber glass lamps.