Introduction: Refracting Photographs

Pay close attention and watch how this tutorial combines simple objects turning them into optical refractions.

Step 1: ​Gather Materials

  • Camera
  • 1 wide vase
  • Distilled water
  • 1 bottle of red food colouring
  • 1 clean dish towel
  • A subject
  • 1 stir stick (preferably not wood)

Step 2: Fill the Vase

Fill the clean vase with distilled water, leave 2-3 cm of air before the top of the vase so when moving water does not spill over the edge leaving water drips on the clean vase. (make sure the vase is washed and clean.) Notice the bubbles in the vase in the image below, make sure to use distilled water to avoid this problem.

Step 3: Subject Positioning

Have the subject stand 10-15 meters away (depending on the subject's height.) Have the subject raise an arm or kick out a leg and notice how the subject’s reflection in the vase is opposite of the subjects action.

Step 4: Add Food Colouring

Add 3-4 drops of red food colouring into the vase and have your subject pose while the food colouring dissolves and forms unique shapes. When the food colouring disperses to your desired amount hold your camera level to the vase. Then, focus the camera to the mirrored image in the vase and take a few pictures.

Step 5: Stir

Stir the dispersed food colouring until completely mixed; turning the distilled water a red/pink color.

Step 6: Taking the Picture

Have the subject pose again, this time notice how the subject’s stance is opposite in the vase as well as the subjects reflection is a different colour/ light wavelength.

Optics Contest

Participated in the
Optics Contest