Part 5

Exercise 5.1

Exploring the effects of using a lens ball

The brief for this exercise suggested photographing a subject I have empathy with. The definition of empathy implies engagement with a person or persons, but I chose this subject because I think woodlands are magical places, and I feel as much empathy as if they were alive. I love seeing the seasonal changes and colours, the wildlife, the flowers, the sounds echoing though the trees. A safe haven from life.  In addition, I love exploring the way objects can be distorted by viewing them through a lens ball or prism.  It brings another dimension to the image, the ability to manipulate the image using the position of the lens ball as well as by changing the camera settings.  This sequence of photographs was taken in Wytham Woods, a woodland owned by Oxford University and used for research purposes.

It was the first time I had used the lens ball, and was unsure how they would turn out. I spent half a day wandering around taking photographs of the trees and undergrowth to produce this series.  My favourite is the first one in the series because unbeknown to me a fly had walked across in front of the lens ball as I took the shot and until I downloaded the photograph to my laptop I had no idea.  The fly does serve a purpose, however, it gives perspective and an indication of the magnification of the trees viewed through the lens ball.


The second photograph was disappointing, the first one in the sequence below.  I wanted to show the rainbow colours in the ball itself, and intended to have the ball out of focus with the background in focus.   Unfortunately, the part of the background was also out of focus.  Had I taken more time to check the photographs before I left, I could have retaken it.  The eighth photograph is an improvement on the first, but still the rainbow colours are not evident.


Overall, I was pleased with the results, and have used the lens ball since on other subjects.  Every image viewed through the ball is different, and only a slight move of the  camera can transform the image completely.  And the woodlands are still as magical whichever way they are photographed.

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