Macro Abstracts

Today I worked on macro abstracts. This was a cool experiment. If you want to try this, I have a few hints below the pictures.


Here is what my setup looked like to get these, and yea I have to stand in that chair to focus. Be careful.


I don’t have a true macro lens so I’m using extension tubes to stretch my focal distance and turn a normal lens into a macro. I’m shooting into a clear pie dish with about 1″ of water in it. I add few drops of olive oil to create the circles. The edges of the oil were weak, so I found a hint on another site that adding a bit of soap to the water helps, and that is the secret to getting great contrast on the edges of the circles.  Initially I tried stirring in the soap but that gave me nasty soap bubbles. Don’t do that 🙂 Instead, after you drop in a few drops of oil, if you drop in 1 drop of dish soap (don’t stir) on the edge of the pie plate, all of the oil drops will contract and run away from where you added the soap. It was pretty cool. If you think about it, dish soap chases the oil a way from your dishes, but in this case it really looks like the oil is trying to escape it.

The pie dish is sitting on a plate of glass (from Lowes for about $3.00) which holds it about 1 foot above something colorful. We have huge dahlias in full bloom in the back yard, so I used those for color. In some of the pictures, the circles are not in clear focus, and my goal in those images was to focus on the dahlias through the oil drops. You can see them in the small drops in these images (click on them to see full size images).


I’m looking for a clear oil that works well. I tried mineral oil, but it doesn’t behave as well as olive oil.