How to make creative abstract photos with a kettle of boiling water

Sep 20, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

How to make creative abstract photos with a kettle of boiling water

Sep 20, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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There are plenty of opportunities for creative photos all around your home. And one pretty cool idea comes from a Swedish photographer Micael Widell. He uses a glass kettle of boiling water, speedlights with colored gels and a macro lens to get some abstract photos. There are plenty of ways to play with light here. Because of this and the unpredictable movement of water bubbles, you’ll get unique photos every time.

YouTube video

Micael came up with the idea accidentally, while he was boiling water for tea on a cold winter morning. He posted them on Imgur, and there was quite a response. So, he decided to share his setup with photographers seeking for inspiration.

To take these shots, Micael uses a Sony A7 with a Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro lens. He lets the water boil in a glass kettle and places the strainer on top so it doesn’t splash all around. It looks funny, but hey, you won’t see it in the photos. For the first couple of shots, he used a direct flash and a diffuser, but he wasn’t too pleased with the results.

After this, he tries adding some Christmas lights around the kettle. It doesn’t do much, but it adds some yellow bokeh balls in the back. I guess it could be interesting, depending on how you place them. He also experiments with two off-camera flashes, both with gels and without. He places them at different sides of the kettle and they sent the light through the water.

The results are the best when the room is as dark as possible, and the only light coming from the speedlights. For the sharpest results, Micael sets the aperture from f/6.3 to f/8, and the shutter speed is at 1/160. He says the results are the best when the water is going wild around the kettle, but also when it starts settling and there are only tiny bubbles. Here are some of the photos he’s most satisfied with:

I like this idea because it’s so simple and obvious, yet the results are pretty unexpected. The simple water bubbles look like some trippy metal shapes. I don’t know about you, but where I live, the weather is rainy and perfect to stay at home with a nice cup of tea. So, I guess it’s time for me to buy a glass kettle. :)

If you liked what you saw, you can find more of Micael’s work on his 500px and Instagram. Also, follow him on his YouTube channel for some more creative ideas.

[Boiling Water Photography via DPReview]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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