Friday, March 16, 2012

Putting Stuff in Front of the Lens

One thing I do like about digital is that I can get some idea I want to try out and I can get quick feedback.  Also if I don't like the results I can delete them and not feel bad like if I had wasted a lot of film. Now it may be getting to be a routine however this year I saw a cheap magnifying glass and wondered what that would do to a picture. I remembered that I had tried that before and when I went back and looked at the old images it was at this time last year that I had that notion.  So there must be something about Spring that inspires me to want to stick things in front of a lens. 

The first thing I tried is a magnifying glass that I got from the dollar store.  While it has too much distortion to be much of a useful magnifying glass it does make some interesting pictures.

This one causes distortion just about everywhere although the center is fairly okay.  The diameter of this one fits exactly over the lens.  To take a picture I focus first and then apply the magnifying glass.

Another one has a clear not magnified center surrounded by extreme distortion. It is not hard to see why these were being sold five for a dollar.

I suppose this would be called some kind of tunnel effect.

Another thing i tried is putting some clear jell on a plastic lid I saw laying around that was close to the same diameter as the lens I was using.  Some people will do this with a UV filter and use Vasoline. I didn't want to do that to one of my UV filters and the most handy jell was some Vicks. 

Again I focused first and put the jell thing on to take the picture. For this one I just had the jell on the edges.

Putting the jell all over did the following.

And wiping the excess jell off on my sleeve gave this effect.

Then for some reason I decided to shoot through the lens of my sunglasses.

It may seem like a funny thing to do, however I like the effect that shooting through sunglasses had on this image taken of a fairly white statue in very bright sun.

Next thing I saw a plastic pipe about two inches long that looked like it would fit just right on my lens.  While by itself it caused a little vignetting I wanted more of an effect.  So I cut a square in a piece of cardboard and taped that over the end of the pipe.

The result here is an image that works well when cropped to a square shape.  I actually think I may eventually find this discovery useful.

Here is another of Santa still hanging around.

Lastly, one of the things you can stick in front of your lens is another camera. It is called TTV for Through the Viewfinder.  With this technique you get some old film camera that has a large viewfinder and use your digital camera to take pictures through that viewfinder.  A camera with a large bright viewfinder like the Kodak Duaflex is ideal. The first model is thought to be the best because it doesn't have a lens hood to obstruct the view.  My attempts were made with the Duaflex II since that is what I had on hand.

One of my few attempts at TTY. 

I can't say that I ever caught the TTV bug.  I'd prefer to use these cameras with film as nature intended.  If you haven't heard about this practice and would like to find out more I will make no judgement and even provide a link.

So that is a summary of some experiments.  There is a gallery with some more images along the same line.  Putting stuff in front of the lens Gallery.


  1. Ted I have shot thru my glasses before. It's a fun effect. I enjoy your photos.

  2. Thanks. It is fun to experiment.