You never knew what milk poured in black tea looks like

I am sure most of you enjoyed a cup of fine black tea at least once. It goes well with milk and sugar if you didn’t know. Have you ever noticed what happens when you pour the milk into the tea cup? The interesting ways in which the two liquids combine, the shapes and how the color changes? Well, take a look at the macro shots below and find out!

Smoke Gust

Strange Jellyfish

Boiling Waters

Burning Sun

Sharp Teeth

Rising Lava

Creamy Clouds

Milky Blow

Setup and details


  • Camera: Nikon D800
  • Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D with 52m lens reversing ring (Nikon BR-2A)
  • Tripod: Giottos Silk Road YTL9354
  • Flash: Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight with a white sheet of paper taped on it as a soft-box.
  • A couple of books as flash holder
  • Earl Grey black tea
  • Milk
  • Transparent glass so the light would also come from the side

Good to know:

  • When the lens reversing ring is used, the lens loses its electronic contact with the camera. This means you will not be able to use auto focus. Manual lens focus will not work either. The only thing you can do is to manually set the distance from the camera to the subject until the focus is right. This is would be the biggest challenge :)
  • For this macro technique is better to use a lens with an aperture ring because you can’t control the aperture from the camera. The 50mm f/1.8D will to the trick.
  • Check the focus through the viewfinder with the aperture wide open and do some test shots. Stop down to f/8 or f/11 for the final shots in order to get a larger depth of field
  • Pour the milk a couple of seconds before the shutter release. Experiment with 1, 2 or 3 seconds. This will allow the milk to create a variety of interesting effects.
  • Experiment with various amounts of milk.
  • Use a remote control or the camera timer function.
  • A glass of tea can be used just a couple of times, so you better prepare a lot of tea.
  • Both tea and milk should be cold (guess why! :)
  • As the milk is poured, the total amount of liquid increases and focus may be lost.

2 Responses to “You never knew what milk poured in black tea looks like”

  1. Cristian 13. Feb, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Faine poze! Esti multumit de D800?

    • Alex 14. Feb, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

      E foarte tare!

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