This short film, titled “Winter’s Magic” and shot by photographer Don Komarechka, is a mesmerizing 2.5-minute look at the beauty of how bubbles freeze.
Most of what you see in the video is in real-time, and capturing the footage of artificial bubbles (6 parts water, 2 parts dish soap, 1 part white corn syrup) wasn’t easy.
“Freezing bubbles are a challenging subject to shoot, even more so with video,” Komarechka writes. “For the majority of these shots, the camera has a pre-set focus point and a razor-thin depth of field. Not only does the bubble need to be placed in exactly the right spot, but if the diameter of the bubble is too small or too large, the front will not pass through the focal plane and everything will be out of focus.”
Komarechka backlit the bubbles using a bright flashlight to illuminate the ice crystals on the surface as they grow, and he often uses “test bubbles” to figure out his framing, focusing, and lighting before turning his camera on real actively-freezing bubbles.
“The angles here are tough – there is a narrow window where you get the maximum impact of the backlighting,” says the photographer, who shot everything with a Canon 1D X DSLR in 1080p.
In all, Komarechka made over 400 attempts before he got the shots seen in the short film, and they were originally licensed to the BBC for its Forces of Nature documentary series.