Inexpensive Iridescence – colour comes free!

Here are three images I took recently using iridescent colour – two of soap film, one of light and glass. I like the idea of finding the colour somewhere between the object that is being photographed and the camera. The colours are often quite elusive, but that makes the process more intriguing…




‘New blue planet’


‘ethereal ephemera’


Guess the image? and some technicolour film


HY and BEND detail

This image detail is made up of small pictures which are themselves details of the Fluids lab where I work at the Uni .. then assembled in Mathematica into a bigger picture … the answer’s hanging on the wall in the Harrison Building, Exeter University!

Below are a couple of examples which include further work with my wonderful soap film generator. The first one shows an area about A4 size. Its vortex patterning, where upflow and downflow merge, has an Escher-ish quality, where patterns and their inverse shapes fit together like a jigsaw.


technicolour landscape


The obliquity of the ecliptic

Apparitions in the lab


Suspended in space

I love the ephemeral nature of the soap film, and this quality is enhanced by seeing it suspended amongst more tangible objects.

As can be seen from above, quite a large area is now illuminated, thanks to help from a friend in the workshop. I still need to sort out exactly how to position the camera, but it was wonderful to watch the flow over a large area; how for instance descending flow interacted with flow rising back up from the bottom.

The dynamics of the flow are also interesting at the boundaries .. below is an image showing how the soap attaches to the string and the bubbles. The shape of the flow seems to be determined by these boundaries.


corner flow

Below is a close up of streaming downwards from the bubble layer, top, defined by the scalloped edge


Coloured labyrinth

The bigger picture on film

I’ve been trying out some new equipment this week built in the workshop for me at the Uni. It’s for producing large areas of soap film, and the design is based on one I found at the Exploratorium site.


I was delighted to find that this equipment works beautifully, and that the soap film lasted for a few minutes; plenty of time to film it. I now need to work on the lighting, which is a little tricky, as there is a comparatively large surface to be lit correctly, and the light source probably needs to be from above. Direct sunlight is an obvious solution, so I’m hoping for some good weather in order to try it outside!

Meanwhile, here’s one I took yesterday using this equipment, with a lamp illuminating a circular area of the film:


global patterning

“Evolution in the making: new video”

This video is an exploration of some ideas I had to do with evolution. These thoughts occurred to me whilst I was exploring different kinds of flow in the University lab and at home .. the similarities between the growth of shapes within the ink and those of plant and animal forms would form an intriguing area for exploration.

The video starts with a spinning planet seen from afar, then we plunge down into its surface to explore in detail. Life forms, initially simple in their shape, become increasingly complex as we move through time. The video ends with the spinning planet below a turbulent sky.

It was a great experience collecting the footage over several weeks, seeing different kinds of flow up close for the first time; fantastic! – I very much hope you enjoy watching it.

Fun with multi-phase flow

Today at the lab I tried soap films for the first time … it was great; I loved it! A colleague explained about how it was multi-phase flow; I need to read up a bit about that. The workshop are building me a rig to do these – meanwhile here are a few with my temporary arrangement – more to come soon.




Thirsty work doing a Keynote! – mine’s a tonic …

I had a great evening on Tuesday at the Uni when I presented a talk on my work … Many thanks to all who came! Long time since I last did a Keynote (two years ago) … a lot of new work has happened since then, so there was quite a bit to get through … I enjoyed answering the thought-provoking questions at the end, too.

And afterwards – takeaway chips … and about two gallons of water!

Here are two images of ink that I took in the lab yesterday as it was sliding and gliding along .. very relaxing to watch; I want do a movie of this creeping flow soon.


sliding off the edge


new levels generate new lines and curve