You are using an outdated browser. Oliver Wright Photography requires a modern browser for the best viewing experience. Update NOW

Yorkshire based Professional Landscape and Wildlife Photographer

Arctic Blog number 8; Popping Frozen Bubbles and the Best Aurora Yet

Posted on 23/02/15

I'm actually going to write this blog a bit backwards as I think people may get here looking for frozen bubbles. So I shall blog about them first. Then if people want to read on about auroras, moose and why I reckon I have one the best jobs going they can!

I have two friends in the bubble world. Richard Heeks who in the past has captured lots of amazing bubble images and Paola from Dr Zigs (their website can be found HERE). One of the things I wanted to do here in the Arctic was experiments with frozen soap bubbles. Paola had sent me some of her special bubble mix at the start of the trip but I quickly realised the sun was required. This morning there was no wind, bright sunshine and the temperatures had dropped to -15C to start with. This was the perfect day for the experiment.

Mat was taking a group to Narvik so I contacted Bride one of Swedish friends to see if she was up for helping. After what Richard had told me about his photography we picked a spot which was getting plenty of sunlight and the right type of background. There was nearly a meter of snow down so it was quite challenging trying to get to the right place for the shot to work.

With the freezing temps and the stunning Arctic light from the low sun the results where great. The bubbles looked like something out of deep space...

This one with a sky background looked like it had aurora trapped inside it!

Bridie seemed to be getting into it and the backlighting worked well there too.

I then thought we would try something more complicated and capture the moment the bubble burst. So Bridie had the job of blowing a bubble and then letting it settle on her finger. This was the first sequence where the mix hadn't had chance to freeze properly but the results were still great!

We thought we would give it another go but at a different angle. The wind caught the bubble and Bridie had to run after it as it kept on hovering away. She did a top effort to catch it. The bubble had much longer to freeze and the effect of the pop was totally different!

Here the frozen surface stops the bubble from popping.

And here the frozen bubble tears but still hasn't popped.


Who would have thought that 10 seconds or so would have made so much difference!

So wind back to about a week ago....

It has to be said my job with Lights over Lapland is sometimes tough but is often amazing! My job for the evening was to go to Låktatjåkko Fjällstation which is Sweden's highest altitude hotel. It takes about thirty minutes on snowmobile up the mountain from Björkliden. On route I spied some snowy trees that looked fairly interesting. But we had to beat the clients who where in a snow cat (looks like something from Mad Max and can go up mountains). Getting to the hotel my job was talk to 'Off the Map' clients and give them a slide show on my best Arctic images. I then got to eat the world famous waffles (well at least famous in North Sweden) which are amazing! The as we travelled by snowmobile back down the mountain the Aurora started to build. By the time I got to the snowy trees I had seconds to wade through the snow and compose an image. The aurora got that bright these following images are only an exposure time of 1.3 seconds. One of the images was used by as their front page (my 2nd one of the trip).

That had to be one of my best nights work I've ever had!

Other things of note during the week has been some great moose encounters. I love these big animals they are totally safe you just need to keep your distance and walk round them. This one is taken with the 500mm so I kept a good 20 meters away and she was fine.

I've also spent a day and a half with a French TV crew and Chad and I will be on French TV. They filmed me at work on an aurora workshop and also doing my own thing on the lake and a few other landscape areas. So that's pretty exciting smile Here a snapped a quick picture of them.

Bye for know and happy clicking, Oliver

PS any questions or feedback just let me know!

  • Great bubbles and of course the lights. Good one.

    geraint evans - 23 February, 2015
  • Superb blog mate, great shots of the bubbles!

    Mat Richardson - 24 February, 2015
  • those frozen bubbles are cool!!

    TJ Kennedy - 24 February, 2015
  • I know it’s cold up there, but the pics would be better without the glove.

    David Hickes - 24 February, 2015
  • I would like to suggest that you offer one of the Aurora photos with the snowy trees for sale. It is gorgeous!!  Love the bubble shoot too. What a magical job

    Nanci - 24 February, 2015
  • Thanks for the feedback everyone smile  David I will probably have another go without gloves being involved but for me the backlighting around the black glove is what makes the shots.

    Oliver Wright - 24 February, 2015
  • Hi Nanci, I will get the gallery updated soon if you do want to purchase any of the images in the blog though let me know as all of them are available to purchase.  The aurora with the trees will print perfectly up to A1 too smile

    Oliver Wright - 24 February, 2015
  • Wonderful! I like pictures so much!!!
    Never seen before!!!

    Monica - 24 February, 2015
  • What beautiful pictures. I’m so glad you’ve shared these. Who’d have thought that bursting a bubble could be so amazing

    ChristineScott1605 - 24 February, 2015
  • i loved reading this and seeing all of your beautiful photographs. Thanks so much for explaining so clearly with images. Fascinating stuff. One day I would love to see the aurora for myself. It’s on my list of things to do before I die. And when I go, I am totally making frozen bubbles!

    Jennifer Coleman - 26 February, 2015
  • Great set of shots. I struggled just to focus on the bubbles I did the other day. Think I would have made a right mess of these.

    Michael Lomax - 01 March, 2015
  • Thank you for a wonderful evening photographing the Northern Lights in Abisko on 27 February 2015. We were amateurs but have come home with some beautiful pictures as you put our SD cards in your camera. You also took a photo with your camera on our hire out tripod and said you could send the picture to us by email. If that is still possible we would love to receive it. Thanks once again.

    Stephen and Jenny Ashley

    Jennifer Ashley - 10 March, 2015
  • hi oliver,
    what spectacular bubble pictures! great!
    they really look like a planetary mission just when the sun comes up the other side. great to look at!
    and of course the snowy shrubs with the aurora. the one in spaceweather i liked better, was this with flashlight?
    the auroras behind are gorgeous, what a night ! what a show.
    congratulation !
    i think your job is soon done at abisko…....the outer world is waiting for you!
    thanks a lot for all pictures and stories you’ve shared with me.
    all the best to you!

    andreas brodbeck - 15 March, 2015
  • i went on one of ur tours, u sent the exposure of 1.3 second ones to my family in Sweden. We had asked u to send any good pics and u did.

    whitham - 26 May, 2015
  • Well, what can I say other than “I’m forever blowing bubbles”, superb images love them all..

    Ruth Wilkinson - 09 November, 2017
Comment Form

Please submit your comment below. No registration required.