July 13, 2009

Super Slow Motion Bubble Soap Beautiful

To the human eye the bursting of a bubble is a simple affair.One prod of an inquisitive finger and the delicate liquid sphere vanishes in a split second. But these breathtaking photographs show the usually invisible process of popping a bubble. Taken with a special slow-motion camera, the photographs reveal each stage of the soap bubble's disappearance. The images were shot by Richard Heeks in his back garden in Exeter. The first picture shows the perfectly round bubble glistening in the sunlight. But the end is nigh for this watery mass as Mr Heeks's wife Sarah steps in to burst it. Using a fast shutter speed of 1/500th of a second, the photographer picks up the first disturbance to the bubble's glassy surface. As Mrs Heeks's finger breaks the translucent globe, tiny droplets begin to form.

Soon the smooth surface that once showed the reflection of Mr and Mrs Heeks is replaced by a round mass of soapy droplets. Mr Heeks, a student, used a macro camera to get in close and had to wait patiently for a windless day. He even had to find a sheltered spot in his garden so any sudden gust would not disturb the shoot. It took him a month until he got the sequence right after seeing his nieces playing with bubble mixture. 'I was looking ideas for new things to photograph and I just thought the bubbles looked beautiful and with a bit of luck I managed to get one mid burst,' he said.'That's what started it off.

'One day I was so absorbed in the project I didn't notice a group of builders watching me. I think I must have looked a bit of an idiot, but maybe they thought it was fascinating. Who knows, because I got embarrassed and scuttled back into the house.'

A bubble is actually made up of three layers - one thin layer of water sandwiched between two layers of soap molecules. No matter what the shape the bubble is initially, it will always try to become a sphere because it as the smallest surface area and requires the least amount of energy to achieve. The biggest bubble ever blown was 50 feet by 2 feet in diameter. It was achieved by David Stein from New York in 1988.

spring : www.dailymail.co.uk

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