Crystal Ball Photography…

‪”We travel for romance, we travel for architecture, and we travel to be lost.” ~Ray Bradbury

One of the things I love about photography is traveling to new places, and trying out various creative techniques. I keep a few favorite tools in my camera bag which include neutral density filters, a beloved Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue polarizer, and a funky fish-eye lens, anything that gives me various ways to create unique photographs. One technique you can try is to shoot through a crystal ball. This technique creates a beautiful reflection with your subject. I brought my crystal ball to the Sanford Riverwalk area on New Year’s Day. The crystal ball attracted several groups of people who were absolutely mesmerized by the reflections produced by looking through the glass at different angles. I invited a few people to take photos with their phones which was great fun, and everyone was happy to see the exquisite reflections produced through the crystal ball. I mounted my large crystal ball on my tripod, you can see how it looks below.

Choose an aperture that works best with your subject and background. You can completely blur the background by using your widest aperture, or retain definition by stopping down (narrowing the aperture). I rotated the photo of the lighthouse shown above 180 degrees to change the reflection to right side up. If you are hand holding the crystal ball, choose a lens for your camera that allows you the closest focusing distance to fill the frame with your subject. I like the combination of my Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens, and my Nikon D500. Try a variety of lenses to see what works best for your composition. For the photo below, I liked seeing the graffiti defined in both the subject and the background. I use the 80mm size for photographing the ball in my hand, and the larger size ball for everything else. Use a large microfiber cloth to protect the crystal ball from scratches and fingerprints. If you are in the sun, keep the ball covered as it works like a magnifying glass, I promise you a ray from the sun can burn anything in seconds, including your fingers. I am bringing several crystal balls to my upcoming photo tours and workshops. Have fun with this technique, as the subjects are endless. Keep me posted with your photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+!

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