Oil and water macro photography

macro oil and water abstract orange color
Macro oil drops in water.

I’ve become a fan of abstract photography. I think it’s a natural progression for me. Like most, I began by photographing the eye level view. The lakes, the trees, the sunset…you get the idea. I read many articles that gave similar advice: slow down the process, and look all around your environment.

So I did.

Algonquin Park mushrooms fungi bright colours wilderness Ontario
From the forest floor in Algonquin Park.

And then I began to notice all of the little things around. I spent more and more of my time in the back country taking macro-photos. I’ve become fascinated (my family would say obsessed) with taking photographs of mushrooms. I have way more images of fungi than any non-scientist type should.

red tulip macro photography backyard flower brantford ontario
The macro progression.

But that led me to the now. All the macro time outdoors has morphed into macro time indoors. Actually straight into the kitchen, mainly using oil and water. I’m not sure which I enjoy more, the final product or the set-up process.

water and oil drops macro abstract bubbles
One of my early pics of baby oil and water macros.


oil and water macro abstract set up how to
Oil and water macro set up

I have a fairly simple set-up, which hasn’t changed too much since I began to photograph oil and water. A transparent container placed on a raised glass platform. I use the drawers from a shelving unit since they’re the same height and provide good stability. I usually place the lighting below and off to the side a bit. Nothing elaborate here.


bubbles oil water abstract wire metal macro
Another early attempt at oil and water pics.



I use different types of glass containers as the shape and texture of the container can have an effect on the final image. The glass for the platform is from a dollar store frame.  When I first started taking these pics I used gift bags and colored pages beneath the stand to act as a reflector and provide the background colour. Now I use my own printed images to provide any colour or unique backgrounds. The glass container must be clean. As in ridiculously clean. The camera will pick up every speck of lint that gets left behind. A bit of effort before you take the picture means a lot less work after you take the picture.


oil and water macro abstract pastel art photograph
Baby oil and water.

I’ve experimented with different types of oils, soaps and other immiscible liquids. So far baby oil is my go to liquid of choice. If you put a drop or two of dish washing liquid in the water before you add the oil, the oil will remain as small bubbles and not re-form into one big blob. It will also add definition to the surface tension of the water around the bubbles.

oil and water macro abstract colorful

Afterwards it’s all about experimenting.

oil and water macro abstract scrap-booking
Baby oil and water.


oil and water macro metal wire abstract colorful
Metal wire suspended in oil and water.

It’s been very cold in this part of Canada lately. I find macro photos the perfect way to keep warm doing the hobby I enjoy.



2 thoughts on “Oil and water macro photography

  1. Hello outstanding blog! Does running a blog such as this take a lot of
    work? I’ve very little expertise in computer programming but I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways, if
    you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I understand this is off subject but I just needed to ask.

    1. Hi. Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you like the blog. Sorry for the delay in replying, but I had the filters set wrong so I didn’t know you had commented until I did maintenance today. I don’t have much programming experience either, as demonstrated by my filter settings. I find the website cumbersome to use right now, however I know if I spent more time learning/using it would be much easier. I realize that’s the way it is with most things. My 2019 goal is to begin regular posts.
      My advice for starting out is to have an idea of what you want the blog for, and how you want it to look. I use WordPress because there are so many themes and plugins for us non-programmer types. Before you buy take a few for a test drive. I started this site not with any plan to make money, but to be able to share photos with my family which is spread across the country. I also wanted the freedom to showcase my photos in ways that Facebook or Instagram won’t allow.
      Hope this helps.

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