FUN WITH PHOTOELASTICITY
Photoelasticity is a fascinating effect that reveals the stress contained in plastics in a beautiful and surprising way. We can see this by using a polarizing filter while photographing under polarized light.
With a little imagination, trial and error and lots of plastic stuff you can create some spectacular images both realistic and abstract.
Materials that work well are cheap transparent plastic materials like spoons, forks, knifes, plastic wrap, CD covers, scotch tape, plastic bags etc.
So where do you you get polarized light? Your Laptop or Ipad!!
THE GEEKY PART
There is a polarized filter layer on LCDs is to create a clearer, brighter image. Without a polarized layer, the LCD’s backlight — which all LCDs have — wouldn’t be visible to the user. Normally light cannot pass through the two polarizers because they’re set 90 degrees apart, but with the right configuration of liquid crystals the polarization of light can change in between passing through the two polarizers, and therefore escape as what you see on a monitor.
WHAT YOU NEED
- LAPTOP or IPAD (or Light box with Polarizing film sheet)
- Camera (or smart phone)
- Circular Polarizer (or polarized sunglasses)
- Tripod (optional)
- Lots of plastics
THE SET UP
First you want to make sure you have the brightest white background on your Laptop. Create, or download a pure white image. Open it with your image viewer in Full screen mode so it covers the entire screen.
You can have the laptop screen lay flat on a table or you can stand it up and use the screen as a backdrop. Try both for different set-ups.
Set up the tripod, set you camera to manual focus and use Live View if you have it. Experiment with F stops for different depths of field, I used f8 throughout.
Place random items on the screen, test your focus and exposure. Now rotate the polarizer on your camera and immediately you will notice that the subject as seen through the camera’s viewfinder is no longer a uniform but has acquired a myriad of colors. These can be made to change, while also changing the density of the background, by rotating the polarizer on the camera lens.
I also placed a sheet of Plastic wrap on the laptop and placed object on top of that for an really colorful background
You can stick strips of scotch tape to that plastic for even crazier patterns
I continued playing with the plastic wrap, scrunching it and folding it to create some amazing abstract patterns which were some of my favorites!
Taking the Laptop and standing it up on the tabletop I started playing with plastic wrap in glassware. The effect reminded me of water splashes.
In Lightroom (or camera Raw) I created a reverse Curve. This inverts the image and its colors like a negative.
Select the Point Curve and Grab the end points on the curve Grab the left one on the bottom and drag it to the top. When you have the tone curve inverted-immediately make a Develop Preset, then it will always be just one click on the preset needed.
Here’s the extra fun part…all your sliders will now work backwards!!
Have Fun and Get Creative!
Here’s are some links to my galleries with some other creative ideas to play with
OIL AND WATER
Water Drops and splashes