With this image our group combined two things we were interested in working with: ferrofluid and glow sticks. We were inspired by the team first assignment that mixed ferrofluid and watercolor. The result was the characteristic spikes of ferrofluid that appear when the liquid becomes magnetized, surrounded by glowing liquid. Several sequences of images that we made just happened to lend themselves nicely to a gif, so I made one. This sequence of images was made with Garrett, Brandon, Summer, and Zach.
We used a petri dish suspended on a few rolls of tape to hold. We filled the petri dish 1/3 full with ferrofluid and placed a magnet underneath the petri dish, in the space created by the rolls of tape. We proceeded to pour glow stick fluid (a mixture of Dibutyl phthalate, hydrogen peroxide, phthalic ester, and Phenyl oxalate ester) until the petri dish was basically full. We excited the ferrofluid with a plain magnet from McGuckin’s, which induced our flow. We kept turning the magnet over, as opposed to just spinning it around. We worked in a darkened room.
This was a particularly difficult shoot, especially in terms of focus, because we were working in the dark; it’s extremely difficult to focus things in the dark. The sequence of images used to make this gif were taken on a Nikon DSLR using manual focus – probably the reason it appears blurry. The camera was on a tripod about two and a half feet away from the flow, and was zoomed in. I edited nine sequential images into a gif using Photoshop; the first frame had a 0.2sec frame rate, the remaining eight frames had a 0.1sec frame rate.
I decided to make a gif because the point of ferrofluid is that it moves, and I wanted to showcase the motion of the flow. The result can be a bit…unsettling. The final product feels very alien to me, kind of creepy, kind of horror movie-ish, but the sense of motion is definitely there.