Monday, February 15, 2016

Frozen Bubbles

It was cold when we woke up this morning, seven degrees Fahrenheit. As Siri would say, "brrrr!" The kind of morning you don't want to crawl out from under the covers.

But when our friend Barb texted to ask if we were freezing bubbles yet and that she'd be there in half an hour we knew it was time to get moving.

We'd tried this before with little success. Either the bubbles blew away, or didn't freeze, or froze too fast and shattered when we tried to catch them.  And no frozen bubble pictures.

But today would be different. Although not too different. In addition to being cold it was windy. And many of the bubbles just blew away. And those that froze were often shattered by the breeze.

But we did get some to freeze, like this blowout (note the gaping hole at the lower right).

Photographing them was difficult as they were all different sizes, so I either shot as setup, and did't get the whole bubble, or moved the camera, and risked a pop before the shot. I missed a lot of shots.

To avoid the wind we moved into the garage. But that presented different challenges. For one, the light was not as good.

So we opened the garage door.

Which reintroduced the wind. And it was warmer inside the garage.

Resulting in images like these, where the crystals formed but the bubble did not completely freeze over before bursting.

This in turn led to interesting color effects.

With ice below and colors above.

And while most of the ice displayed six fold symmetry some, like the one below (and the third image in this post) displayed much more curved patterns.

And after a while it became so warm in the garage (disclaimer: it didn't really get warm) that crystals refused to form. Leading to these psychedelic images.

If you look closely you can see my reflection in the center of the above image, hiding behind a camera.

You don't need to look all that closely to see Barb and Patty in the image above, or Patty in the image below.

Keen eyed observers will have noticed that in each of the last three images there is both an erect and an inverted image on opposite sides of the center line. It is easiest to see when there are people involved (the shot of me has an abstract pattern). As always Les Cowley's Atmospheric Optics site has the explanation, of both the images and the colors (caused of course by thin film interference). There are also a couple of posts about frozen bubbles here and here.

Search the web for "frozen bubbles" for plenty of cool images and hints on how to try this yourself, including recipes for bubble mix. Have fun!

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