Introduction to Ferrofluid Macro Photography

Ferromagnetic fluid or ferrofluid is a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. When a strong magnetic field is introduced around a ferrofluid, it starts showing strange behavior by changing its shape. This peculiar character is what makes the ferrofluid an interesting subject to photograph. Using a macro lens and some colorful lighting, photographer Ben Tuxworth from Adaptalux shows how you can take some beautiful macro photos of ferrofluid:

As Tuxworth explains near the beginning of the video, you will need a strong magnet to get the best results. Be sure to follow all the safety procedures when working with such strong magnets. Also, ferrofluids are messy substances to work with, and tend to leave pretty bad stains. So be sure to take all the appropriate safety measures when working with them.

In the video, you can see that as Tuxworth pours some of the ferrofluid on the head of a magnetized screw, the fluid immediately changes its shape into interesting-looking spikes. As for taking the photos, his setup is quite simple. He uses one light arm to illuminate the spikes, and another light arm to illuminate a custom gradient background. And as you can see in the video, you can change the look and feel of the spikes just by moving the light around. It makes so much difference. Also, to add to the mood, you can use colored filters on the light to complement the background.

Toward the end of the video, Tuxworth tries placing the ferrofluid on a screwdriver head instead, and you can see how the shape changes instantly. If you’re looking for some cool macro subjects, consider photographing ferrofluids. Be sure to watch the video to see how fascinating they can be.

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One response to “Introduction to Ferrofluid Macro Photography”

  1. John Sharples says:

    Your comment re the magnetic force on the screw driver head is actually in reverse. The smaller the area, point, the stronger the magnetic field. so the tip of the screw driver head has a much more condensed, therefore stronger, field than the head of the screw in the previous demo. This is demonstrated by the number of “spikes”, more spikes stronger field. The distance from the magnet is pretty much irrelevant as the lines of force are confined to the boundary of the item attached to the magnet

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