“Quantumania #2” by Christian Meermann

Looking for new ideas for macro photos, I watched a tutorial on YouTube about pictures of oil in water. The guy put a small glass container on a glass table, filled it with water, and lit it from below. He then used a syringe to drip oil into the water. He then photographed the droplets with a macro lens.

I wanted to try this out but had to make do with the tools I had in the house: tap water, a Manfrotto LED light, two stools, and an old glass cutting board covered with countless signs of use in the form of scratches. In doing so, I broke almost every rule in the tutorial: use distilled water (because it’s supposedly the purest), arrange multiple light sources, put everything on a spotless glass surface, etc.

The supposed disadvantages of my tools gave the resulting images their charm. The poorly controllable light created strong contrasts, and the scratches in the glass created surreal-looking lines and shapes in the pictures. Post-processing (exclusively in Lightroom) was just a matter of correcting the crop and fine-tuning the contrasts.

YouTube tutorials are fine, but one should never make the mistake of confusing the working methods and techniques suggested there with rules that one must not break.

All in all, nine presentable images came out of this session. I called the series Quantumania because shortly before the session, I had seen the latest Ant Man movie by the same name. The photographs reminded me of the movie’s imagery of what the protagonists saw when they shrank further and further while entering into what they called the Quantum Realm. Enjoy!

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

It is visually bold and different from the photography mainstream on the web. It is abstract and yet very suggestive, inspiring the viewer to see something else in it than what it actually is. It is a bit like recognising shapes in clouds.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

I would try to better control the position of the smaller bubbles in the frame, thus adding more planets to the galaxy, so to speak.

Christian Meermann shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Christian Meermann, Gladbeck, Germany


Equipment and settings

Nikon Z6, Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S, f/10,1/800 + all the stuff described in the story above

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Comments (1):

  1. Frank Styburski

    August 4, 2023 at 23:19

    Marvelous image, Christian!
    It cetainly connects with my aesthetic.
    Thanks for the explanation of how the image was made, and that rules were made to be broken. I might try something like it myself.
    Thanks for posting the photo and narrative.

    BTW, I usually have a camera in the kitchen when I boil water for pasta.
    I add a little cooking oil just before the water begins to boil and the light from the range hood makes some interesting modeling of the swirling shapes.


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