soap opera

soap opera

With the right light, turn soap bubbles to fine art

A SELF-DESCRIBED accidental civil engineer, Feiyal "Faye" Berber has been translating visions from her mindeye into photographs ever since she got her Canon A-l in 1983. The Ringoes, NJ, resident finds motivation in her curiosity

rather than a paycheck. The experiment in effervescence shown here tested her eye, as well as her lighting skills.

Her subject did not require an engineering degree to make: She used a bottle of bubble-making solution, the kind that comes with a wand and geared to kids. With a couple of LED flashlights, some reflective surfaces, and plenty of trial-and-error, she captured this gorgeous purple hued pattern reflected in and magnified by the bubbledome.

had to work quickly,”says Berber, who moonlights as a fine-art photographer. bubbles had a short lifespan.”

Berber began her experiment with a plain white board and dishwashing liquid, blowing bubbles with a plastic straw. Unsatisfied with the results, she gradually replaced materials until she ended up using a dimpled, aluminum knife case and a 22-inch reflector. Together, these reflected the only light sources, a pair of LED flashlights one placed at about a 60-degree angle to the camera, the other at about 120 degrees to great effect.

wish I had had five hands,”she laughs. stressful part was aiming the lights, blowing the bubble, and pressing the shutter before the bubble burst.”

The textured metal surface provided by the aluminum case reflected light up into the dome of the bubble, creating a field of tiny rainbow reflections. Berber posits that the back of a CD, a cheese grater, or even wrinkled aluminum foil, could substitute for the dimpled metal case.

All you need is a darkened room, a pair of flashlights, and the patience of a tinkerer. only limit is the imagination,”

she says. shot does not require very expensive studio equipment. You simply need a camera.”And a pair of flashlights, of course.

While not every experiment bears fruitful results, Berber sees her failures as an important part of her photographic process.

She says, I spend hours shooting and end up with nothing except learning.”

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