Sometimes the most interesting images can present themselves in the most unusual or unexpected ways. One morning a few weeks ago I was outside with my two boys after school while waiting for my wife to get off work, and they were getting a little stir crazy inside thanks to the dreary conditions outside. It was one of those overcast, slightly rainy days that doesn’t lend itself immediately to anything particularly fun except for curling up on the sofa with a blanket and a good book. My boys were more interested in running around and jumping off of things, so I figured we might as well go outside and see what we could come up with. My oldest, who is six, grabbed a tennis racket and started whacking the soccer ball while his little brother asked if we could get down the bubble machine we bought earlier this year. I didn’t see the harm in it so I dusted it off, set it on top of my ladder so the bubbles would float around a bit, turned it on, and let the kids go to town. And boy, did they ever :)

As they were running around swatting bubbles with anything they could find, I snatched my D7100 + 50mm lens to see about documenting the occasion. Sadly that particular gear combination is not well suited to taking pictures of two kids running around because the angle of view is so narrow, but I did get some good shots of each of the boys individually as well as one of their friends who saw the commotion and walked over to join in the fun. Because the grass was already somewhat damp from the rain I noticed that the bubbles were settling on it instead of popping right away, which gave me a great opportunity to take a few shots that I don’t normally get the chance to do.

Things were a bit tricky because I had in mind the type of picture I wanted to get, which is very much like what you see here, and doing it involved some maneuvering and contorting on my part thanks to the lack of a tilting screen on the D7100. I found a bubble that was sticking up a bit, put myself in a prone position, and got a couple of decent photos at f/4 and f/2.8. Then because I was satisfied with the results I pushed the throttle all the way to f/1.8 and got some more, and to my surprise ended up with one that was sharp, focused, and almost exactly what I was picturing in my mind. At this point my kids were calling to me and wanting me to put the camera down so I could get back to playing with them, a request with which I happily obliged. Because let’s face it, as fun as it is to take artsy-fartsy photos of bubbles, it’s much better to jump up and down with your two kids who are behind you and actually playing in the bubbles :)


  1. Nice shot Simon. I don’t know that I would even have thought of taking such a photo, if I had noticed the opportunity. As far as I could tell, you were able to keep your reflection out of the bubble. How did you do that?

    • Good question Dennis! If you look closely you actually can see me in the bubble, but you might have to click the image and view the full-size version on Flickr. You’ll see my camera lens and my orange OSU hat but you have to zoom in pretty close :)

  2. You have your priorities is the right order. Good job Dad.

  3. Nice reflection in the bubble. The refection doesn’t have the same limited dof as the rest of the photo.

  4. Now that is cool! Nature’s Bubbles!

  5. Simon,

    Great picture; wonderful commentary. Put together, there is an illumination of a deep joy in life that goes beyond any current difficulties. This is really a “back to basics” of what counts in life.

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