If you find yourself in a photographic rut and need to break new creative ground, look for different photography mediums. One way you can do that is by gazing into the future with crystal ball photography.
This is an amazing piece of equipment for any photographer to have. It works like an external lens and is very versatile.
In this article, you’ll learn all about refraction photography, and how to take great crystal ball photography.
Equipment for Crystal Ball Photography
The equipment you’ll need is simple.
- Crystal ball – Essential for this form of glass ball photography. There are various sizes and even different colours.
- Camera body + Macro lens – This is the best combination for crystal ball photography. It allows you to fill your frame with the ball, and also to blur out the background.
Extra Equipment for Easier Crystal Ball Photography
- Wide-angle lens – More useful when you want to include a wider area of the background in your frame.
- A crystal ball holder – This can be useful to keep the ball still when the surface has no natural resting place. If you can find a natural resting place this will create a more impressive photo.
- A bottle top – An alternative to a crystal ball holder. Upturned, this has a circular edge that the ball will sit on without rolling away. The surface the bottle top is placed on must be flat.
- An old sock – To prevent the ball from getting scratched, place it inside a sock when in transit. Some crystal balls even come with their own pouch!
- A tripod – This is useful if there isn’t another place to position the ball. You can use the top of your tripod, in combination with a crystal ball holder. Make sure the tripod head is flat!
- A glass filled with water – No crystal ball? No problem! You can also create refraction inside a wine glass filled with water. The more spherical the shape of the glass, the better.
- Twigs or pebbles – Sometimes the ball will need a little help staying still. Placing a few nearby twigs or pebbles behind the ball prevents it from rolling away.
How Does Refraction in Glass Ball Photography Work?
The effect of refraction occurs when light passes through an object of denser mass. This bends the light as it passes through the object of denser mass.
This effect is obvious when you place a pencil inside a water glass. You’ll notice that the pencil is distorted and larger in the area that is in the water. That’s because of refraction.
Now fill a glass with water, and you’ll see something special inside. The image is inverted within the wine glass. This is the effect you’re going to use with a crystal ball.
Of course, most crystal balls are actually glass balls made with K9 glass. The glass provides that denser mass though, and you have a lens optic right there.
How Does a Lens Ball Work?
Inside a glass ball, the light is bent until it is inverted within the ball. This creates your upside-down image, one of the key characteristics of refraction in glass ball photography. When used well, this will add to your photo.
The glass ball works in much the same way as the optics in your camera lens do. As such, it can be seen as a very basic lens. In recent times the popularity of this form of photography has seen the name re-branded as a lensball photography.