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Photo Series-Iridescent Photography

Updated on August 2, 2014
 free public domain pictures/images, royalty free stock photos
free public domain pictures/images, royalty free stock photos | Source

There are many things that demonstrate the optical illusion of goniochromism which is more commonly referred to as iridescence.

Some insects have exoskeletons that show iridescence features like the wings of some butterflies. Most commonly you will see this optical illusion when looking at soap bubbles or when looking at gasoline spilled into the ground.

But soap bubbles are not the only subjects that you can photograph and capture these lovely "rainbow" colors. There are also many sea shells that almost anyone can find just laying around your local beach as well as quite a few species of beetles.

"Iridescence (also known as goniochromism) is generally known as the property of certain surfaces that appear to change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes. Examples of iridescence include soap bubbles, butterfly wings and sea shells.

Iridescence is an optical phenomenon of surfaces in which hue changes in correspondence with the angle from which a surface is viewed.

Iridescence is often caused by multiple reflections from two or more semi-transparent surfaces in which phase shift and interference of the reflections modulates the incidental light (by amplifying or attenuating some frequencies more than others)." Wikipedia

Most of these images are better taken in a studio setting where you can control the light and try as many angles as you wish.

The subjects are best shown when placed against a totally black background so that there are no distractions which may guide the viewer's eyes away from the central focusing point. Use one main light at a 45 degree angle to the subject and make sure that this light is diffused. Keep in mind that any iridescent subject will reflect light so diffused light is best for this exact reason.

For soap bubbles a basic set up will do so long as you can focus quickly since they have a short "life span". Keep the soap from getting into you lens as soap will leave soap marks on the glass and remember that you will need the help of an assistant who will be blowing the bubbles for you to photograph.

Explore some mixtures as some make the bubble last longer and you can even ad food coloring to make the bubbles show a color hue. Here is a basic mixture formula from the Exploratorium web site: 2/3 cup Joy dish-washing soap,1 gallon water,2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerin

For seashells a zoom will work better since you can zoom in and out until you get the photographs that you can find suitable.

For insects a macro works well due to the subject's size but this will depend on whether or not you are using live subjects or those bought from a source that specializes in such.

If your insect subjects are live then you will need to set them up on a plant so that they can remain exploring while you take the shots. A good technique for insect photography is to place the insects in a jar and let their core temperature drop by placing the jar in the refrigerator for about half an hour. This will ensure that they remain still for you until their core temperatures raises enough for them to become active.

The secret is really no secret at all, the iridescent qualities will only show if you position yourself at an angle and capture the light, thus creating the beautiful iridescent qualities that you are looking for, as it hits the subjects, so this is what you have to explore before you start your project.

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. | Source

"Iridescence (also known as goniochromism) is generally known as the property of certain surfaces that appear to change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes. Examples of iridescence include soap bubbles, butterfly wings and sea shells.

Iridescence is an optical phenomenon of surfaces in which hue changes in correspondence with the angle from which a surface is viewed.

Iridescence is often caused by multiple reflections from two or more semi-transparent surfaces in which phase shift and interference of the reflections modulates the incidental light (by amplifying or attenuating some frequencies more than others)." Wikipedia

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license | Source

© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez

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