We are 5 weeks into our “stay home & stay safe” COVID-19 imposed lockdown.  Even though we established our “shoot safe” protocol, we are finding it hard to stay inspired with our photography.

At first we ventured to the local parks to share with you our mountains, capturing the stunning Superstition Mountain at sunset. As you may recall, the weather was not that cooperative the first time, but a little better the second.  [See Superstition Mountain post]. Then we traipsed through the neighborhood to capture the beauty of the Claret Cup cacti flowers.  [See Claret Cup Cactus post]. But with the lockdown continuing, too many people walking in the neighborhood, several rattlesnake bite rescues on the local hikes, it was time to try something new.

Tiny bubbles

Going a little stir crazy, I came across a YouTube video on photographing bubbles.  Perhaps you recall the song sung by Don Ho?

Tiny bubbles

In the wine

Great idea. With a glass of wine in hand I began to scour the house for items to use in setting up my macro bubble studio. Is this the goal for my photography or maybe my wine, I’m not sure which:

Make me happy

Make me feel fine

The Setup

First, the easy items: a Pyrex glass pan (), a bottle of cooking oil () and some tap water (). Next, the obvious items: the camera, a macro lens (60mm) and the tripod (, , and ). Now, the challenging part: What can I use in the house for assembling a make-shift platform that will hold the glass pan,  allow me to see through the glass, and add lighting below?

Another glass of wine, and I headed out to the garage for ideas. I found a couple of large boxes that would do for support, and took the glass top off the wood coffee table to create a glass table on which to place the Pyrex dish. For lighting I used a couple of flashlights with white and colored LEDs (red, blue or green). 

If you are having trouble picturing the setup, check out my crude diagram. Unlike the image below, the camera was actually pointing straight down so the face of the lens was parallel to the water’s surface. The camera was positioned about 15 inches above the Pyrex dish. I filled the dish with water (1/2 inch deep) and then added a couple of tablespoons of Canola oil. (Note: If you are compelled to do this at home, add the oil first, it will stick to the bottom of the glass instead of floating on top of the water.)  

Crude, but workable set-up for macro bubble photography

White Light and Colored Background

Creating the bubbles was the easy part.  Capturing something of interest took a little more creativity.  With the wine now working, I began to shoot.

Tiny bubbles

Make me warm all over

Initially, I used the white light from the flashlight to illuminate the image on the top cover of a puzzle box. It was a great puzzle design and I liked the soft blending of the colors.

Bubbles over abstract design of puzzle box. Note the imperfections in the glass pyrex dish

Then I shot a similar photo with just the white paper and part of a box as a background. This is more what I had hoped to capture.

So here’s to the golden moon

Just like the song, I found my Golden Moons.

Bubbles lit with Bold Colors

Getting bolder (wine can have this effect), I played with the colored LED settings on the flashlights. I tried shining red and blue on the white background, also shining them at angles into the bubbles. 

In these abstract orbs I saw planetary systems. What do you see?


A blood moon or just the tiny bubbles in my wine glass?


Enjoy a few bubbles in your a glass a wine and stay safe.

Remember it’s all about the light!



The complete lyrics to “Tiny Bubbles”

Tiny bubbles (tiny bubbles)

In the wine (in the wine)

Make me happy (make me happy)

Make me feel fine (make me feel fine)


Tiny bubbles (tiny bubbles)

Make me warm all over

With a feeling that I’m gonna

Love you till the end of time


So here’s to the golden moon

And here’s to the silver sea

And mostly here’s a toast

To you and me


So here’s to the ginger lei

I give to you today

And here’s a kiss

That will not fade away