Here we are Photographing Ferrofluid, a spikey ball of ferrofluid gets watercolors added to it to make “Oil and Water… Paints.”
Ferrofluid contains a magnetic suspension that becomes highly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field.
Photographing ferrofluid can be difficult as is is just shiny black oil. Too much flash and it is all highlights, too little and its just a black mess.
Here ferrofluid shows the magnetic field caused by a neodymium magnet beneath the glass.
The fluid takes the shape of a rectangle when exposed to a rectangular bar magnet.
To get less spikey fluid you only need to move the magnet farther away from the fluid, by adding a shim of paper or cardboard between the magnet and the glass.
You don’t want to get a magnet near ferrofluid without a barrier or it will be a giant mess. And this is coming from someone who builds paint tents to contain messes.
The fluid is attracted to the strongest force of magnetism in the field.
Here is is attracted to the edges of a 1″ magnet.
A much smaller magnet is used with a small amount of fluid to make a doughnut shape.
The field isn’t as strong, so there is less pronounced spikes. Perfect for paint-fingerprint type shots like this. This is only 3/8″ wide.
The close up detail of these shots are like weird Picasso planets.
To make these colorful blobs I inject water-color paint, or even water-based ink into the fluid while it is magnetized.
The water-based non-magnetic fluid and the oil-based Ferrofluid do not like to mix, and you can get some interesting artwork out of it.
For some reason this one reminds me of Alpha-getti. Probably not a good idea to “dive right in.”
Lets take a look of one edit of one photo of ferrofluid…
(Straight Out Of Camera)
Nikon 105 mm f/2.8
- Exposure, highlights and blacks lowered
- Contrast, shadows and whites raised
- Clarity, vibrance and saturation raised
- Cropped for interest