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News & Insight

Stunning Winter Macro Photo Idea & How To Do It!

By Kishore Sawh on December 30th 2013

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Darts, apparently, is a sport. Except it’s not. To be a darts player, all you must have is a nickname that in no way reflects what you are, like ‘Ninja’ or ‘Maverick’ when, in fact, you should be called ‘Spongebob’ or ‘Another Pint Please. ‘ You must be so accustomed to damp bars that ‘outside’ smells weird to you. A real sport, generally, requires specialist attire or gear; knee pads or a helmet, or gloves.

Photography isn’t quite like that, though people often suffer from the same affliction with feeling that to be a photographer you need to ‘look’ the part. That means owning some enormous cameras and lenses that look like they were stolen from the business end of a U2 spyplane. This isn’t the case. Photographers like Terry Richardson and Brandon Stanton are proof. It’s that old adage, that it’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools. Angela Kelly isn’t a poor crafstman.

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Armed with only a Nikon D3100, a kit 18-55mm lens, and a macro tube set, she is able to execute photos like the ones seen here. The D3100 is a capable camera to be sure, a great consumer entry level DSLR (One could argue as are most, these days). The same goes for the 18-55 lens. But like Richardson’s Yashica T4, it’s by no means a ‘pro’ set-up. Yet planning, proper understanding of technique, and patient execution, leads to great results.

I want to encourage others to slow down and appreciate the little things.

Kelly, still innocently spoken and humble, admits she has lustful gear envy and that she has really only begun. She is actually quite cautious to display her work which she holds dear, but she’s generous and broke down for me to share with you how she shot these striking photos.

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Method

The photos were taken over a two day period just before and just after the crack of dawn, with outside temperatures between 12 and 9 degrees farenheit. A simple solution of karo syrup, dish soap, and water was left to sit overnight in preparation. After some trials blowing bubbles over various hard surfaces she found the hood, windshield of the car, and patio table to be most effective, providing the best opportunity to watch and shoot the bubbles from different angles as they froze.

Mostly shady areas were necessary in order for bubbles to freeze entirely, and slightly sunny areas to achieve bubbles only half frozen from the bottom to the middle. Knowing this allowed Kelly to sort her photos into 3 stages of frozen.

[REWIND: Breathtaking Macro Snowflake Photography & How It’s Done]

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Thoughts

Though the methodology seems simple and clear enough, I feel it prudent to mention that there is more to this than a good plan. Clearly, Kelly had a vision and has a self professed, “love for detail and passion for whimsy.” This bonds well with her focus on macro and abstract photography which she feels allows her to, “…show others something that they have perhaps taken for granted…to take the time to enjoy and savor the beauty around them.”

It’s a nice message to bring across to her youngest son, who was with her when these were taken. It certainly caused me to pause and reflect on whether I need all the gear I seem to think I need. Don’t mistake me, in photography, you do need specialist equipment to produce certain types of material, and when you’re dealing with clients, you want gear that you can count on to produce, on time, every time. Sometimes the cost of not producing what’s needed outweighs the cost of the equipment. But it’s good to keep in mind the best gear in the world won’t help you if you don’t have a plan, and don’t exercise proper technique. That said, however, I suggested Kelly buy a D800 ;-)

You can keep up with Kelly from her website and Facebook.

CREDITS: All photographs by Angela Kelly are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

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About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ipek Amdahl

    Gorgeous and incredibly inspiring!

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  2. Chuck Eggen

    Beautiful and now more inspiration for me.

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  3. Jacob Jexmark

    These are some really nice pictures!

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  4. Sue Ramdin

    “the methodology seems simple and clear enough, I feel it prudent to mention that there is more to this than a good plan”- That’s an understatement! I tried doing this for hours today and couldn’t even get a bubble to land on a variety of surfaces without popping. Angela is very talented and must be very patient! Thanks for sharing her talent!

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  5. Robert Livesay

    Would you be willing to share your exact bubble blowing formula. It is super cold here in Grove, OK right now and I might try some tomorrow.

    R.C. Livesay

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  6. Jan Nelson

    Beautiful work, great use of the tools at hand. I agree that a D800 will open up even more opportunity in your explorations, go for it.

    Jan – Gig Harbor

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Jan, I agree, I think she did a marvelous job with the tools at hand. Creativity and planning rarely go unrewarded. Thanks for stopping by, Cheers -K

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  7. Angela Kelly

    Kish, words can not express my gratitude for such a well written article. Thank you so much for admiring and sharing my work. Off I go to look at a D800 that perhaps one day will be in my bag.

    Regards!

    Angela Kelly

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Well Angela, you made it easy. We all look forward to your future endeavors, so do keep us posted. Cheers, and all the best for the new year. -K

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