Experimenting with My Fantastic New Photography Toy: The Lensball

This was one of those spontaneous purchases (yes, I'm a terribly impulse shopper). There I was, just scrolling down my Instagram feed and there, luring me from screen, was an ad for this new gadget called a Lensball.

I was intrigued, enough, to open it up and see some of the comments, then do a little research. I can't even put my finger on what I got so excited about but, I just knew that I had to have one. So, 5 minutes later and $40 poorer, my new Lensball was on its way. Now, I will warn you, it doesn't arrive very quickly. I will admit that, toward the end, I was really starting to worry that I'd been ripped off by one of those internet scams that everyone hears about. With more and more photos popping up of people using their Lensball, I just told myself to be patient (which, as anyone who knows me will attest, that is NOT an easy thing for me to do).

Eventually, it did arrive, in a very well-packaged box. I was so excited to try it out but it was dark, by this time, and I had to work the next day, so I planned to take it with me for a boudouir session that I was doing at a resort on the beach. Of course, the day my crew and I arrived, there was too much work to get done. Plans of getting a nice beach sunset photo with the Lensball (and some other experimental photography ideas I had planned) went right out the window when one shoot ran an hour over and the last client arrived 4 hours late.

As my main assistant (and love of my life) finished up the packing and headed for checkout, I made my way down to the beach. I was only allotted 20 minutes so time was of the essence. I first tried to get a shot on the wooden walkway to the beach. However, I felt the beach was too far in the distance and the overgrowth of vegetation just didn't make it a great spot. It also quickly came to my attention that the Lensball needs times to acclimate to changes in temperature. It fogged up (and stayed that way) for about the first five minutes, no matter how many times I wiped it down. So, off I hiked across the sand with my still-healing broken leg, to get down closer to the water (and with a broken leg, it feels like ever 10' is a mile). I thought it would be a cute idea to get a seagull in the Lensball but I was not able to talk any of the loitering gulls into standing still long enough for me to do it.

With time running out, I found a good spot and pulled out my now fog-free Lensball out and starting looking through it, finding a good composition. After I found the angle with least distractions and no glare,  put it carefully on the sand. Another note-to-self moment hit me, right then, that it might have been a darned good idea to bring a beach towel, garbage bag or at least something to keep me from being covered from chest to toe in wet sand but, alas, it hadn't even dawned on me. True to my motto, "whatever it takes", I just laid right down in the sticky sand to get the shot.

My next time using the ball was on my dining room table, late at night, because I was bored. I played around with various light sources and had a blast. After that, I used it for a sunset photo at the remnant of an unused, old bridge, not far from my house. I wanted to get some of the distant lightning, in the Lensball, but that just wasn't meant to be (at least not THAT time...bucket list). A few weeks later, I tried to get a rainbow shot with it. I did get the composition right, with a vibrant, full rainbow in the Lensball. Sadly, as I was by myself and standing in 3' tall grass, handholding both the ball and my heavy Canon 1D X with the Canon 100mm prime on it, I gave up after only getting a few shots that I saw weren't really working due to motion blur. I kept one that was slightly better than "meh", just because I'm not sure if I'll ever get another change to try capturing a rainbow in a Lensball. My most recent outdoors attempt at using it was to capture a sunrise photo. Lastly, just this morning, I thought I'd try to capture a pattern so printed two sheets of checkerboard.

All in, the Lensball has been a blast to use! I still have so many ideas that I can't wait to try. Yes, it may be a fad but I can't call anything that gives me this much pleasure and is so fun to play with a failure. This was one of my best $40 investments, so far!