Notes on Bubble Photography - pt2 Lighting and shooting notes
I'll address this in two parts, lighting the cell structure / bubble city shots and lighting the "Planet" shots
The former is relatively straight forward and used a simple gridded snoot on either a studio flash-head or Olympus FL600R - triggered by the kit flash in RC mode. This light was aimed from the side of the bubbles and adjusted to provide the most detailed image of the struts and membranes to permit accurate focus. I used a black background and base and balanced the flash power vs camera settings to give a true black background with the best structural detail in the bubbles.
Lighting the "Planets" proved extremely challenging and I still have not resolved it to my complete satisfaction, the problem relating to the highly reflective nature of the bubble surface showing the details of the lighting enclosure (and anything else in sight)
My best results so far have been achieved using a pair of Interfit EzFlo Soft boxes
with their tops touching and the bases resting on the table with a gap of about 18 inches between them, forming an inverted triangle in which the bubble making takes place. A black backboard and base completes the set-up
(I can see why Jason Tozer http://www.petapixel.com/2012/11/12/soap-bubbles-photographed-to-look-like-psychedelic-colored-planets-in-space/ had to go to such much trouble to get an even light source to shoot his images)
Because of the limited lighting kit I have available I am limited to shooting only one quadrant of the bubble to avoid the reflections of the joins between the light boxes, the base of the shooting space etc.
In some ways this is a benefit as it means that I had to shoot even closer to the bubbles, increasing the amount of detail I was able to record