Building New Universes

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While I was writing my previous post on the Weierstrass function the beauty of fractals, a long forgotten project came to my mind. I noticed, that I’ve never published it and so I decided to do it now.

It’s actually long time ago that I worked on it. Back in 2014, I started to play around a bit with water, oil, light and my camera. The result was a series of imaginative sceneries that seem to show a mysterious, strange new world. I called it called “Building New Universes”. You can download all images as desktop-wallpapers (mid-res: ~30MB, hi-res: ~300 MB and ~500 MB, both in 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratio) for your personal use, they are running under Creative Common license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 . Feel free to share

Want to build a universe by your own?

Here is what you need:

  • a glass or any other type of transparent or semi-transparent bowl
  • water
  • some oil (from your kitchen)
  • a stand to put the glass(bowl) on it
  • a light source
  • colored transparency film
  • a couple of towels
  • some toothpicks (or similar) to stir the water
  • a camera (any kind)

What to do: Just fill the glass (or the bowl) with water and put some drops of oil in it (you will need only a few drops). Place the glass on the stand, and below the stand put the light source. Between the light source and the glass, just put the transparency film. That’s it. Now photograph from top view above the glass. If your camera has a zoom, zoom in as much a possible (and as far as you can increase the distance between the glass and your camera).


To change the scenery, gently stir the water with the toothpicks (also at the beginning) and change the color of the transparency film from time to time. If available, add some more light sources to illuminate the glass from the sides and from the top. For example and as a coincidence, the lamp above our dining table created these circular spots on the oil bubbles which generated a larger three-dimensional effect.

Tip: Always carry a towel within easy reach to keep your camera and equipment free of water and oil.

Enjoy your building of new universes.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License .


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