Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Different View

by Cathy


"One moment the world is as it is.
The next, it is something entirely different.
Something it has never been before."
~ Anne Rice

Sometimes I feel like my photography becomes stagnant. I ask myself why I need one more picture of mushrooms or trees or flowers. When I feel this way I look for a new technique or photo activity. Recently, I have been seeing photos using a crystal ball. This fascinated me. I knew I wanted one to see my world in a different way.




I purchased my crystal ball from Amazon. They are not very expensive and such fun to play with. It has not been quite as easy I thought it would be. I find myself struggling to get the ball in focus and the background like I want, but I'm learning. I'm using different lens, aperture settings, and changing the distance between the ball and the object being photographed.


The scene in the ball will be upside down and reversed. You can keep it that way or you may choose to rotate your photo. Personally, I like the upside down world popping out at me. it appeals to the child in me.


Here's a few tips I've gathered.

1. There are several ways to steady the ball. Mine came with a small crystal stand, but I have also hand-held it or placed it on a post or on the ground.  I also have a candle holder that's about 8" tall that it rests securely on.

2. Focus on the ball, but be aware of the background. If you want a blurry background or bokeh shoot wide open (lowest aperture) and have the background far away. If you want more of the background in focus, use a higher aperture and get closer to the object.




3. Move the ball or yourself around until you find the picture you want. Carefully check the reflection in the ball. If you don't, you may get some unwanted clutter since it captures a wide view.




4. Your big camera and macro lens will work well, but they're not absolutely necessary to get a good photo.. So far the photo above is my favorite and it was taken with my small point and shoot camera using the macro mode.

 


5. Watch for sun spots or light reflections on the ball. Shooting in the shade seems best.




6. Lastly, don't hold the ball in direct sun. If you look at the photo above, you can see a bright spot on my hand. If the sun had been shining directly on the ball it would have burned my fingers almost immediately. Beware, like any magnifying glass it can start a fire if left in the sun even for a few moments.

Seeing the world through a crystal ball is one way I've found to see things differently and spice up my photography. I'm always looking for something new to try, so if your have any ideas for capturing a different view, share them with us.


15 comments:

AFishGirl said...

That is SO COOL!!!! I've been playing with a small marble but wow, I really want one of those crystal balls. Those shots are magical. I know what you mean about times of needing something different to shake it up a bit. Nodding. I hear you. Okay, racing to amazon to look...

Carol said...

I think Amazon is going to have a rush on Chrystal ball orders this weekend! This is really cool and looks like so much fun! Thanks for the tips - and I LOVE these photos!

Katie said...

Don't you love that ball? I tried holding in in the Mulberry River a couple weeks ago and shot down through the water and got a couple neat shots. The water makes everything very saturated. I'm heading to Hot Springs and Oaklawn this Saturday and plan on taking some shots around the stables and the race track. I love the snow and the pine tree shot, so pretty. That's one thing that I was really wanting to try out this winter, but looks like you all got all the snow this year! Those crystal balls are addicting! : )

kelly said...

OH MY GOSH! this is so cool! i love how it gives your photos an almost ethereal quality. yay for trying new things!!

AFishGirl said...

Just ordered two, one for me and one as a gift for my ex-brother-in-law. Yes, amazon should give you a coupon, the crystal ball traffic is up, for sure.

heyjudephotography said...

I think you knocked it out of the park with this one Cathy! I love your crystal ball pics and I'm glad you shared your tips for using one. Great post Cathy!

terriporter said...

I have seen the crystal ball shots on Flickr and have really wanted to try it out. Now I know where I can get my own crystal ball! Shaking things up and trying something new is always a sure way to inspire your photography. Great tips and I think I'm going to have to head over to Amazon!

Dotti said...

Is this not the most awesome thing? I think Amazon should not only give Cathy a gift certificate but we should all get a group discount.

Barb said...

I so enjoyed your crystal ball photos, Cathy. Do you also use it to look into the future?

Sarah Huizenga said...

This looks like the challenge you needed to push yourself again. I love what you did here, and how you walked us through what you did.

JUDITH said...

I love all the comments from your group. You did such a great job with the ball. I am going to have to take lessons. I seem to rush and don't take time to study my surroundings. I loved the snow photo best but the swans where great also. Can wait to see the next post.

Ida said...

Now that was really fun and such a different way to look at the world. Your favorite shot with the point and shoot was my favorite here as well.

gina said...

Cathy, this is such an exciting way to photograph, and certainly a way to get out of your rut! I love these images, especially the one of the swans. It's magical! Thank you for sharing your technique. I may have to try it. :)

Sandra said...

Love your crystal ball photos, Cathy. Such fun to see the world upside down! I can see you're enjoying this way of taking original photos!

seabluelens said...

Cathy, these are wonderful and so inspiring. I especially love the swans and the upside-down snow scene. Great idea and lovely execution!

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