Creative Photography – Frozen Bubbles


Buried in wind drifted snow today and 24°F as a high, I took my Jeep out when others are not on the road. I do love this weather. Preparation for it is why I love it. So early in the week in -4°F weather I did a little fun experiment. What’s Up Saturday looks at frozen bubbles and I tell you how I did it.

I love bubbles just about anywhere, in a warm bath, in a babbling brook, in a frothy cup of a fancy drink. I even get fascinated by carbonated bubbles in my Diet Coke. Bubbles have a mesmerizing quality, taking me someplace where dreams come true. I know others may not appreciate that bubbles can be charming and spellbinding, but they can make nice photos.


I photograph them everywhere I see them, like in the image above,  Otter Garden. The images were taken February 2012, though not so cold to freeze.


In this past two weeks, frozen bubbles have been appearing all over the web and I was in heaven having a new way to use bubbles in photographs. Not my original idea to shoot them during a winter freeze, but certainly a fun project on which to put my own spin. In the two posts linked, it was never cold enough for them to freeze.


I did try a few different ways to shoot these bubbles, like I have been doing ever since I can remember. I seem to do a lot of them in winter too with the one below January 24, 2012 although again, not cold enough for them to freeze. The one below was photographed floating in mid-air.


W4W Reflection in Photos


Those in this post were photographed frozen in place with snow kissing each sphere.


There is a few and very important things to know about frozen bubbles, one is you have to make the soap yourself, no kid’s bubbles will do. I tied. Another thing important, it has to be frigid cold, not just below freezing, way below. I tried.


Wikipedia says bubbles freeze at 5°F and at temperatures of -13°F they burst upon impact with a surface. I think other factors play a part because my bubbles did not freeze immediately at -5°F one day and the blue ones in this post froze at 7°F Monday morning.


The prettiest bubbles that I saw photographed looked like they were frozen with liquid Nitrogen.


They formed ice “leaves” like I had on my window in Hey, Too Much Snow in Buffalo. I did blow bubbles toward the window to see what would happen, but nothing special did.


Here the bubbles did not freeze fast enough to make these designs. They show up just like in the photo above too.


This is what I combined to make my soap. I still want to make a stronger bubble, yet they are very long-lasting bubbles. Most eventually deflate rather than burst.

  • 1 C water
  •  1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp glycerin
  • 2 tbsp  Dawn dish soap

But what I think will make a stronger bubble is to substitute distilled water for tap which has too much mineral content and Karo syrup for the sugar.  Glycerin gives the bubble its strength but is kinda expensive to use all glycerin so adding Karo syrup should help.

I decided to try a few things other photographers did not try along with things I think they did. I used blue stained glass like I did with my abstracts in the post, Abstracts From the Ordinary – What’s Up Saturday. I made some very interesting art photos from just cracking eggs in that post. Those images had lots of bubbles too. I even thought of doing it outside and letting the egg bubbles freeze. May do that because the albumin bubble will freeze nicely and will be long-lasting. See the linked post – they are really cool bubbles.


Another thing I did differently than all the bubbles I saw on the net was I took some of the soap and put it in a blender to make foam. You can see that in these images. What is needed is a darker background. I would do this again too as it froze as one big solid and lasted overnight all bubbles intact.


All the images on the net were taken at night with Christmas lights back lighting and a flashlight directing side light. At least that’s what it looked like anyway. One did it at sunset. Since those were so beautiful, I may try that when I get a stronger bubble mix. I did try at night (below) but not with great success – too yellow and harder to focus.


The image below, I floated in the bird bath and shone a flashlight across it. I did clean the bird bath out afterwards, even though the sweetness of the bubble water is non-toxic.


My favorite bubble was this one on the way out below. It was just soft and serene.


When I perfect this, and if we get these low temperatures again, I will try dawn and dusk with a LED flashlight. I did three of these with an incandescent bulb in the flashlight and was not as pleased.

Monday – what birds visited on Friday? They were singing, Hail, Hail The Gangs All Here. Why? Because they were!


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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28 Responses to Creative Photography – Frozen Bubbles

  1. hi! and very nice!! 🙂

  2. Fun to see the bubbles after we talked about them!

  3. How fun! I’m imagining trying this with my little nieces or future grandkids and/or great nieces/nephews. It’s so fun to see the joy in kids’ (and adults’) eyes when trying these experiments. I can remember blowing bubbles with kids in the neighborhood when mine were little, and the neighbors’ dogs would jump up and try to catch them–that was fun to watch, too. Great photos, Donna!

  4. I discovered you by searching for info on winter feeding and where the birds sleep during the coldest weather here in the Boston area.
    You’ve confirmed my thought that we should give all the help we can to our birds, not only for their delightful presence but also because they need us to nourish their tiny bodies and help them survive in such harsh conditions.
    I so enjoy watching the birds and am thinking of installing wooden bird houses in my arborvitae hedge (monster hedge) for shelter in the winter.
    I like to think I’m helping them when they need it most.

  5. quarksire says:

    wow been doinbg bugs an insects etc etc for years never thought bout bubbles,how so very kewl,wunderful shots 🙂 also 🙂 .Q ~*(*@*@*)***~~~~~~

  6. Awesome photos. Unfortunately it will never get that cold here to be able to freeze bubbles. But you have given me food for thought. 😀

  7. It seems like so much work to get a good shot. I’ll sit inside and enjoy your photos!

  8. catmint says:

    I love these shots because mostly they have an ambiguous, abstract quality. Creative possibilities open up … thanks Donna.

  9. franzisofie says:

    It looks great! And it’s a cool idea to use the cold.

  10. randomrose says:

    What a magical post. My daughter and I have been having bubble photo competitions for years. We have only been photographing ‘happenings’. I am going to be reeeel sneaky and make some bubbles and see how it goes.(not really but the thought is there). At the moment she is way in front of me. I have one of hers on my blog. She caught a bubble as her little son put his hand out to catch it. Your effort paid off as these shots are certainly what dreams are made of.

  11. lucindalines says:

    So cool, I have to try this with my grandson.

  12. reeality28 says:

    We also did frozen bubbles here when we got below 0, was a fun science experiment for the kids! Awesome photos!

  13. Indie says:

    My husband tried to do this, with no success. It was probably due to using the kids bubble stuff for it. I, on the other hand, have become a true weather weenie after my 10 years in North Carolina, so now it takes me a lot to get me outside when it’s in single digits!

  14. mariekeates says:

    I’m with you on loving bubbles. Great photos:)

  15. Karen says:

    Donna, I could try this tomorrow with the cold weather coming in again, but I know my pictures wouldn’t turn out as wonderful as yours.

  16. Fascinating pictures.

  17. Very creative indeed. Loved the photos! Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  18. Rose says:

    Amazing photos, Donna! This would be a fun thing to try with the grandkids, but I’m afraid I’ve become somewhat of the “weather weenie” you described in your last post:)

  19. Amanda says:

    Very beautiful photos! I love how you mix them in with the rest of your post. Keep on charing 😀

  20. Pat says:

    Fascinating images.

  21. Love it, love it!! Makes me want to go out and play with bubbles…you are quite a kid at heart.

  22. janechese says:

    These are all great, but that second one – Wow!

  23. Aren’t you something! Do you ever sit and do nothing? Just wondering, LOL! Margie

  24. I will try the bubble mix the next chance I get. We are busy with my daughter’s hockey this week. I did try some bubble a month or so ago with mixed results.

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