Optics Photos from the PHOTON2 Showcase

SPIE Optics and Photonics, San Diego, CA, August 2006

I found this glass ball in a shop in Old Town. The bubbles are all about the same size but when you look through the ball, refraction makes the bubbles seen through the glass appear much larger. For the ball in the front in the photo (the real thing) the bubbles are small in the front and are larger toward the back (toward the mirror.) But in the mirror image, the bubbles in front (facing out) are smaller. This is interesting because they are the reflections of the bubbles that are magnified in "real life". The photo doesn't show the effect too well, because 3D clues are lost and it's hard to tell which bubbles are in front. But if you ever see an object like this in a gift shop buy it for the fun of trying to figure out what you're looking at.

By the way, the ball is sitting on a San Diego telephone book, for authenticity.

These are definitely my favorites. I have to admit it wasn't my idea. My son was playing around on the balcony and decided to hold the camera out as far as he could and take a shot. That inspired me to go up to my daughter's room, 6 floors higher, and take some intentional "building-mirror" photos. In both photos, "real life" is at the top. On the left, I was shooting straight down, so you can see the railing of the balcony below across the middle of the photo. On the right, the shot was at an angle so there were no obstacles in the way.


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