Using a Crystal Ball: A Creative Way to Get Wide Angle Shots
Here’s a really fun and easy way to get some unusual shots by using a crystal ball and focusing on the image inside of it.
A crystal ball inverts the scenery so everything inside looks upside down and captures a really wide angle. It’s sort of a poor man’s fisheye lens, but more flexible in what you can do with it.
You can get a crystal or glass ball or sphere by robbing a sorcerer, borrowing it from that crazy tarot card lady around the corner, or buying one off eBay (which is what I did since I don’t live near Hogwarts Academy.) It cost me less than $50 including shipping.
A lot of the shots looks great if you rotate the image 180 degrees (flip it upside down in your image editing program) so what’s reflected inside the crystal ball looks right side up and the background ends up blurry (out of focus) and upside down.
Play with the placement of the ball closer and farther away from the camera lens and be sure to focus on the image inside the ball – dslr’s are a lot better at this on manual mode since autofocus will often not focus properly. Turn off the flash, and be aware of any glare that’s coming from your side of the ball.
Added bonus: when you’re walking around with a crystal ball in your hand (like I just did in Miami Beach), people will think you’re a sorcerer. Especially if you’re wearing a cape or laughing maniacally. If you can get past the initial fear, people might even pay you $5 to tell them about their future. And afterwards, you can take a picture of them upside down. Everyone wins.