There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Self-Portrait of Bubble Girl / Broken Hearts Club

It was hovering around 19 degrees F when I got up in the morning, and so first thing, I put my bubble mix out on the front porch, even though I could see some wind in the tops of the trees. Conditions for making frozen bubbles must be quite still, or the wind blows your bubbles out!

About a half-hour later, out I went with my tray of tiny heart-shaped things. I have a container in a chest of drawers in the bedroom of broken jewelry, orphaned things that don't belong to anything else. I grabbed maybe a dozen heart items, threw in a music box ballerina, added some beads with letters (LOVE) and tiny hearts.

My usual spot for frozen bubble making is a set of tree stump slices behind our shed. But when I went there, the wind blew my bubbles right off the tops of the stumps! I walked over to the other side of the yard; same result.

I headed back to the house and front steps. Right in front of our garage was a still spot. In between wind bursts - which only happened every few minutes - I was able to make my frozen bubbles. (I also did have a passing thought that I could or maybe should BUILD a protected alcove in the yard just for bubble blowing.)

I'd brought some little plastic trays along, and since I didn't have my stumps to blow bubbles onto, I tried blowing bubbles onto a pale blue plastic tray, which I placed upside-down on a small yard table. The definition wasn't good. I couldn't really even see my bubbles well. I scattered letters and tiny hearts among them. The effect wasn't what I'd hoped for.

I finally ended up blowing my bubbles onto the handrails at the bottom of our front steps. There's a spot at the bottom of each side where it's flat on top, and so I blew my bubbles onto them; my bubbles looked like newel post caps or finials. The process: place my heart item down, blow my bubble onto it. The end effect was hearts-inside-bubbles. It was fun!

I felt a tiny burst of snow at one point; looked up to see a curious tufted titmouse. My bubble-blowing area was right by its usual flight path to get to one of the feeders. "Whatchoo doin' down there?" it seemed to ask. It surveyed me curiously, turned its back on me, watched some more, flew away.

In the end, I was out for a whole hour, trying this and that. I used almost all of my accompaniments except for the ballerina (I have more ideas for her!) and a colorful heart anklet. I sat in the evening after I was all done, making notes of what I learned and a list of ideas I have for future shoots. Here are some reflections. (LOL: reflections!)

A thing that happens with bubbles is that they reflect everything around them. So it was that I ended up with reflections of the front steps, the white railing, and our yellow house in my bubbles. 

Look at this one! Look closer! Do you see me, dressed in darkness, and the yellow house, and the pink chimney? And how did it happen that my FACE is blurred out, like I'm some kind of wizard whose face cannot be photographed!? (Hello, Harry Dresden. Sort of.) 

I am a girl whose face is obscured by light. So this is an accidental self-portrait of me, the bubble girl, making my craft, in my native element. This is me, showing you my truest heart. (But also, somehow, NOT my face, LOL.)

In the extras, I've included one of my "bubble-bursting" shots, which can be awfully fun. As soon as I see one starting to break, I quickly aim my camera. What you get may surprise you! The one in the extras is called Broken Hearts Club.

More thoughts:
1. I was able to capture some shadows of the bubble patterns/crystals, which was pretty cool and maybe a first. Good, golden light is key to frozen bubble enchantment. I recommend the golden hours of either early morning or dusk.
2. I typically shoot THROUGH my bubble and up into the morning light, to light up the bubble as though from within. When you place something FLAT down, you have to angle the camera DOWN to see it. I'd recommend finding a way to elevate the item at an angle a bit, to show it better and get more light inside the bubble with my item.
3. I also thought about finding a way to HANG certain items to photograph them inside bubbles. I have some ideas I am working on that involve a Christmas tree ornament hanger and fishing twine and crystals. Watch this space for more!
4. Shooting in a new location gave me other items that might accidentally show up in my shots: the yellow house, the car in the driveway, the stairs and railing, the new grippy black stair treads we just bought and put down for traction (at super saturation, they ended up BLUE in some of my backgrounds).
5. You can get different effects by changing the background. Shoot your bubble against snow. Shoot it against a dark shadow. Shoot it against a hedge. All of these things will LOOK different. They also all depend on where you are standing, whether you are kneeling, at what angle you are holding the camera, what angle is the light coming from.
6. I used the letters for LOVE on beads in a few shots. I scattered them, but the effect wasn't what I was looking for. The word looked oddly disjointed. I'd suggest keeping the letters closer together, maybe corral them inside a plastic lid of some sort. Make it more like a WORD. I am thinking about making a bead bracelet with words on  just to put under my bubbles for a frozen bubble photo shoot.
7. Do not EVER take anything outdoors to use in a frozen bubble photo shoot that you can't afford to: a) ruin, b) lose, c) break. I mean it! Anything you take along may get dropped, broken, or terminally sticky. I take trays along to put things on; make sure I place already-sticky items by themselves.
8. I did get some shots that LOOKED like bubble-within-bubble. I have never actually seen or photographed a bubble-inside-bubble while doing frozen bubbles. I do not know if that is even possible. But if you have two bubbles side by side, if you SHOOT through them with one in front of the other, it will LOOK like bubble-within-bubble.
9. Keep a tissue in your pocket. Always. Actually, several.
10. Finding accidental self-portraits later as I sorted through the pictures gave me so many giggles. I made a note to myself: "I AM the Ghost in the Machine!"

So there's the story of my latest frozen bubble photo shoot. Now, here are my songs. First, for my self-portrait above, I've got REO Speedwagon, with Girl With the Heart of Gold. For my pair of hearts in the extras with their broken bubble bursting around them, I've got Billy Ray Cyrus, and Achy Breaky Heart; no, wait, I've got his daughter, Miley Cyrus, with Mark Ronson, with Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.

As always, here is a link to my canonical list of frozen bubble tips.

Sign in or get an account to comment.