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Oil on water how to.

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    Oil on water how to.

    I did my first Oil on Water shot at our Camera Club a couple of weeks ago. We are rather fortunate in owning our own premises, so other than formal Club evenings, interested members can meet up to do different things. This particular evening was a table top studio evening, with four tables set up for different subjects. One of our members grabbed a glass tumbler from the kitchen, part filled it with water and squirted baby oil on the surface ............. why ever she had baby oil with her I hesitate to think! However, I decided to have a go and this is the best image I managed.

    IMG_8080a by colin cross, on Flickr

    It's not very good, but generally if I take a rubbish image I tend to think it through and work out how I could improve it. In this case I thought there was a great deal wrong. First it was side lit and I considered it would be an improvement if it was lit from underneath. Second was the lens; I only had a mid range zoom with me and in hindsight a macro set-up would be better. Third, she went a bit mad with the amount of oil and just a few spots would have been better.

    To bottom light the subject I downloaded this background onto my iPad and placed that on my table.

    im 26 by colin cross, on Flickr

    I then placed four coffee mugs around the iPad and balanced a sheet of glass on the mugs. On top of the glass I placed a shallow pyrex dish into which I poured some water and then a small squirt of baby oil. I swished that concoction around and let it settle. Then with camera and 100mm macro lens I started taking some shots and this is one of my favourites.

    Colin Cross_Oil_A by colin cross, on Flickr

    A couple of issues along the way:
    • Focussing wasn't easy. When I tried F16, it brought out flaws in the glass on the bottom of the dish, so I was generally down to F4. This meant that not all the bubbles in shot were perfectly sharp. Next time a deeper dish with more water would overcome that.
    • In my office are wooden floorboards and even the slightest moving around caused movement of the subject and at a shutter speed of 1/10sec that caused some blur. So I had to creep around and minimise movement
    • I used the very smallest drop of Fairy liquid to reduce surface tension and it took ages for the tiny soap bubbles to disappear. I still think some is required, but next time I shall just use the tiniest smear.
    • Dust .............. moving around in any room causes dust and it landed on and stuck to the oil bubbles. It took a bit of post editing to get rid of it.
    • The bubbles weren't necessarily where I wanted them on the frame, so I used a cocktail stick to manoeuvre them where I wanted. Sometimes I got them too close and they joined up, so it was gently gently to get a nice collection of bubbles at different sizes for a pleasing composition.

    Hope that helps if you want to have a go.

    Thanks for sharing that Colin, very informative.
    7D, 400D, EF-S 15-85 f3.5/5.6, EF 100 f2.8 USM macro, Sigma 10-20 f4/5.6, Sigma 70-300 f4/5.6 APO, Sigma 50 f1.4, EF 28-90, EF 90-300, Sigma 150-600C, 430 EXll, Yongnuo 568 EX ll, Yongnuo Triggers, Yongnuo YN14-EX Ring Flash



      Interesting, I must have a go - in the puddles in the yard that all got oil in them

      Equipment - According to the wife more than a Camera Shop got



        Thanks for that Colin, very interesting


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