Frozen bubbles, frozen waterfalls, frozen nose and frozen fingers.
Sometime around fall, a friend posted a photo of a frozen soap bubble and I immediately added it to my “want-to-shoot list” of stuff I wanted to try. (Thanks Kathi).
I read several websites on the mix to use, how to make the wand if you didn’t have one, and the temps to try it in.
We’ve been cold. Like, really cold, single digit mornings- so cold that you’re happy when it reaches freezing. So while the temps were 9 to 14 degrees and frostbite could happen to exposed skin within 30 minutes I went outside to blow bubbles.
I used 9 parts water, 3 parts ivory soap and 1 part Karo syrup shook it up and stuck it in the fridge for a few days. Wow, what a mess I made on the deck and porch furniture. Hubby redid my mix and mixed the water and sugar together well and then added the soap which probably worked better. I think it also worked better when it was sitting on the counter in the house temperature, instead of cold, because the best bubbles I got were after the liquid was room temp. The bubbles got worse the longer I had it outside. I made wands in 2 sizes from pipe cleaners and hubby made one of fine metal. The pipe cleaners hold more liquid. All 3 could’ve used longer handles because wet soap covered fingers are cold and messy and all did better when I kept the cold sludge off them. I did get a few pics of the liquid mix freezing before even being blown off the wand.
I learned that my deck was not the ideal place because of the suds and sticky residue left behind. That wind is your enemy- reflections too. Even my good polarizer couldn’t get rid of the windows, deck rail, ceiling fan and me from reflecting in the bubbles until they were almost completely opaque.
For every waterfall pic and most of the bubbles, I unknowing had my camera set to jpg only. I’ve made worse mistakes when not checking the settings (like leaving it on small low size for an ebay or craigslist post (see the hawk photo from an earlier post this month). On these fleeting moments captured in time, I sure would’ve liked the extra details that RAW allows.
The cold temps and your camera are a whole-nother ball game too. I wanted to just stay out shooting because of the camera hassle. Batteries die faster in the cold and my fingertips were numb from needing them exposed to use my camera and make bubbles. I came up with a four step process (camera to garage, to pantry floor, to pantry shelf near the kitchen to finally the office) to get the pics off the card and keep moisture from condensing on my camera.
My first day of trying, every bubble that landed turned into a dome before I could shoot it. It is much easier if you have two people as the time is short from making the bubble and being able to shoot most of them. A tripod is pointless because you never know where they’ll land and the time is limited before they pop, get indents from the wind or actually start to freeze. Most had feather looking crystals form from the bottom up. Some had like snowflakes in them and would swirl around when they first formed. The only full round bubbles I got where ones that landed on a blanket. The longest lasting ones landed on the grill top.
Our cold long lasting temps also allowed for several waterfalls to freeze.
I saw five frozen falls (click here for video) – all handheld (sorry but not up to lugging the tripod w. my back/arm yet) Key, Sliding Rock and Looking Glass on the 7th with my hubby. Toms Spring (Daniel Ridge/Jackson), Moore Cove on the 9th and one shot of Cove Creek with June.
I didn’t know there were so many people who’d be out looking at the waterfalls! Looking Glass Falls had people parked on the sides of the road from back past the Y to the fish hatchery. I’ve never seen that many people there even in summer or peak fall season!
As much as I enjoyed seeing this unique event I am so far behind on my paperwork, computer work, photography, taxes and all of our self-employment stuff, that I shouldn’t be taking off again until at least some of that is crossed off.
I can honestly say I love living in WNC where it may be cold enough one week for seeing all things frozen, to being able to sit on the porch and grill some hamburgers the next week. Life is good.