I wanted to do a little project today, an abstract photography session using water, oil and food colouring. I bodged some equipment together and the results weren’t too shabby.
My plan was to create a glass table on which I would sit a glass container. I would then fill the container with water and pour a little oil onto the water, so it created bubbles of oil. I also wanted to try out food colouring in oil. Basically, I wanted to capture an abstraction of oil on water and food colouring in oil, with lots of colour.
Apart from my camera, lens and tripod, I scrounged stuff I found round the house. So for the glass table I took apart a Monet print we have hanging on the stairs, using the glass and raised it off the floor with some Kopparberg cans. I used a Pyrex dish and filled that with water first and dropped some olive oil into it, giving it a stir and then letting it settle.
I then used my tripod to sit the camera so it was pointing directly down into the water. For the lighting I used my daughter’s table lamp to light some coloured paper that was on the floor under the glass table. I wanted the lamp to act as a back light on the water, with the reflected light off the coloured paper to light it. I shot in Aperture Priority mode with manual focus, at ISO100 and then added some clarity, saturation and exposure in Lightroom.
I found that oil on water worked OK, I don’t think the lamp I used was bright enough though, so maybe next time I will get a softbox out or my off camera flashes. Drops of food colouring worked better, at least for my tastes. I was more happy with the results of that. The beauty of this simple set up is that there are so many ways in which you can experiment. Using different coloured paper, different positions and types of lighting or different liquids. You could make a day of this if you have some space to try it!
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