Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate


I must admit I was really struggling with this weeks challenge. Most of my photographs are landscapes, rugged mountains, rolling hills, strong upright trees and clouds with lots of definition. Hardly delicate….

…and then I remembered this photograph of giant soap bubbles taken in Berlin.

Bubbles

From a photography viewpoint, the lady and child provide a reference point to give some idea of the size of the bubble. I have no idea who they were. It’s highly unlikely they will ever see this picture but if they do, please feel free to copy it.

Now for the science bit. What exactly is a soap-bubble? I think we all know that it’s a thin-film of soapy water enclosing air that forms a hollow sphere with an iridescent surface. However, whilst it has been known since 1884 that a spherical soap-bubble is the least-area way of enclosing a given volume of air (a theorem of H. A. Schwarz), it was not until 2000 that it was proven that two merged soap bubbles provide the optimum way of enclosing two given volumes of air of different size with the least surface area. This has been dubbed the Double Bubble Conjecture. Right enough of the science.

Soap bubbles usually last for only a few seconds before bursting, either on their own or on contact with another object. They are often used for children’s enjoyment. 17th century Flemish paintings show children blowing bubbles with clay pipes verifying soap bubbles being used as entertainment for at least 400 years. The London based firm of A. & F. Pears created a famous advertisement campaign for its soaps in 1886 using a painting by Millais of a child playing with bubbles. A Chicago company called Chemtoy began selling bubble solution in the 1940s, and they have been popular with children ever since.

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29 comments

  1. Great photo. We used to go to the Bubble Festival at SF’s Exploratorium back in the ’80s and one year a man actually walked through a bubble without breaking it. I haven’t thought about that until I saw this photo of yours. Thanks for the memory.

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  2. It is funny how people can have such different perspectives. I have always thought of trees as delicate but I see the small details and usually don’t focus on the whole picture. I am one to always use macro. Your bubble is magnificent though. I love the colors in it! It reminds me of a rainbow ghost!

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