Holiday Photography — With a Crystal Ball

I’ve written about bokeh — or lovely blurred backgrounds — in previous posts.  Now, let’s toss in a crystal ball to create something different.

Christmas tree photographed through a crystal ball.
I used f/22 to get the starburst on the lights and tiny sparkles in the background.

Here’s the set-up.

My friend, Patti Edens, is photographing the Christmas tree
through the crystal ball.


Patti took this shot of me photographing a lighted
bridge through the crystal ball.
We’ve placed the crystal ball on a towel on top of a tripod.

Here’s where you buy a crystal ball:

  • Patti bought her 3″ ball from The Crystal Company
    • This is a small ball that fits in the palm of your hand.  You’ll need to get closer or crop.
  • I bought a 4.5″ ball from Amazon
    • This weighs 4.7 lbs and is the size of a small cannonball.  It’s easy to fill the frame with a 100mm lens.
Here’s lessons learned and observations.  All images have been flipped to make the scene inside the crystal ball appear normal.
Decorations in office windows.
I used f/22 to make the edge of the crystal ball crisp and clear.
That gives smaller circles of light in the background.


Decorations in office windows.
I used f/6.8 and that makes the edge of the crystal ball soft.
The lights in the background are larger and softer.
Nice bokeh!
The view through the crystal ball can be captivating to the photographer.
Stay mentally focused on what you’re seeing through the ball.
The image through the ball is okay but a bit confusing.
f/22 to get starbursts on the lights.


A cleaner view through the crystal ball.
We changed our position to the tree to get a simpler composition.
f/22 to get starbursts on the lights.
Canon 24-105mm lens at 105mm.


Including the entire tree in the background.
f/22 to get starbursts on the lights in the background.


Same as above but using f/6.8 to get a nice bokeh.

More photos from our outing with the crystal ball tomorrow.

Questions or comments?  Feel free to post them below.

Author: kathyadamsclark

Professional photographer leading workshops and tours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: