My wife bought me a “lens ball” for my birthday – basically an optically clear ball of glass which acts like a 180 degree round fish-eye lens. Before work today I went for a quick walk into Secret Falls – and had a ball! A few days after some heavy rain, the water level was perfect for splashing around in the creek bed and having a play.
I’ve never used a lens ball before so this quick outing was a bit of an experiment. I discovered you need to keep the lens clean and manually focus inside it, or you can end up catching your reflection – wearing dark clothing I think is essential. I tried a few different positions, lens’, lengths and distances.
I balanced the ball on rocks, put the camera on a small tripod very close to the water to get the right angle and took a few shots at different focus points and exposures. The main “problem” I found was depth of field, with the lens close and in focus, the background was blurred, but it produced some great results.
The following photo combines 3 manually focused RAW images in photoshop, including the one of the ball above using 12-40mm Pro lens @40mm, set up further back from the falls.
Very happy with these initial results, I look forward to trying a few more things out like in-camera focus stacking and coming up with new and interesting ways to see the world through a glass ball.
While there are some pretty cheap lens balls to be found on ebay etc., I don’t know how good the optics are. This one is from Refractique – look them up on Insta @refractique or Facebook if you’re interested.