We woke this morning to 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground outside, so we had to hold off on more macro flower photography in our yard. But that is not to say you can’t keep shooting some macro images, just move indoors. And one of the easiest, and most interesting, macro subjects indoors is oil and water.
First, find a small clear bowl or kitchen casserole dish. We have lots of small glass storage containers, so that is what I used. Next, position the glass dish above the ground 10 inches or more so you can add light underneath. I taped two fishing pole sections to the dish, and set it on top of two strobe packs in my office. Next, I added some colored fiber optic strands under the dish (available on Amazon) . If you have a small lights, place them underneath and add colored flash gels. If you don’t have flash gels, try using some Christmas lights underneath.
Fill the dish about 1/4 full with water, and then add a good pour of oil (any kind will work). Use a spoon to rapidly stir it up, and your bubbles will start to form. Now focus straight down on the bubbles, and start taking images. The bubbles pop over time creating different patterns. Experiment with different combinations of colored lights. You will need more depth of field than you think. Using a 105mm macro lens very close to the bubbles, I shot at F16. I also use mirror lock up and a cable release to minimize any camera shake.
The oil bubbles magnify what is underneath. Trying using different objects underneath and see how the bubbles reflect them. Have fun!