Bring Me the Orb!


A couple weekends ago we went camping at a favorite spot, Mt. Abel, with a big group of my family members. We love it up there because it’s generally uncrowded and, since it’s at about 8,000 feet, always cooler than it is down below.

My aunt bought this crystal ball on Amazon with the idea that it might be fun to take some photos with, and she was RIGHT! The photos turned out really fun and we kept saying “Bring me the orb!” to each other like a bunch of dorky wizards.


I found that it’s a really fun way to get a new perspective on things that might qualify as over-photographed — i.e., sunsets and flowers. It definitely gives a fantastic feel to a photo that might otherwise be pretty but unremarkable.


Some tips on shooting with the orb:

  1. Manual focus is your friend! Most of the time the autofocus function on my camera (a Canon 6D with a 24-105mm f/4 lens) wasn’t really effective for capturing sharp images within the ball.


  2. Find a stand. Unless you want a bunch of pictures of your hand (which is fine in small doses, I suppose, but gets old pretty quickly), find something to rest the ball on that blends in with your background. We used a pinecone, a branch, and a stick in various shots.


  3. Play in post! Once I got home to edit my photos, I had fun rotating and cropping the images to play with the perspective. I turned this photo upside down so that the landscape was upright and I think the effect is really surreal.


  4. Use a friend! This project was definitely easier with a buddy to hold or place the ball while I set up my shots. I’m so grateful to my husband for his infinite patience with my shutterbug tendencies.


  5. Experiment with the abstract. I don’t generally do abstract photography, but I did enjoy just playing with colors and textures to get more moody pictures with the crystal.


This was a fun experiment and made me want to play with props more! Any suggestions for other fun ways to spice up photos? Feel free to comment!

Published by clairelaminen

I am a Ventura, California native with a compulsion to create. I'm a storyteller, through writing, photography, and occasionally music. Weekends are for camping with my husband, reading, and hunting for vintage treasures, which I sell in my Etsy shop, Peace & Goodwill. My favorite things include lavender lattes, swimming in the ocean, true crime podcasts, The X-Files, and Peaky Blinders. I hope to become a full-time writer, bestselling novelist, and a continually improving reflection of God's grace. Proverbs 16:24

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