Shooting Through Crystals
Here’s another cool ‘shoot through’ technique (with some unique advantages) to add to your image creation arsenal. Crystals, specifically the ones that are clear, refract light as they are denser than air. These crystals are then cut refractions that create highlights and spectrals and it’s this quality that we are going to exploit photographically. When light is shone through them those highlights and refracted reflections can create some terrific effects when they are very out of focus. The easiest way to do this is to hold the crystals in front of the lens with a shallow depth of field whilst focusing on your subject in the distance.
Another key attribute that will aid the effect is to not only light your subject but the crystals in front of the lens too. This can result in some great bokeh and colour artefacts. I mention colour artefacts because this can be another of the unique properties associated with crystals; rainbow effects. Usually, along with the density of the crystal rainbow, colours can be seen as a result of shining light through them but antique crystals were also coated with lead and this is the main reason they shine so beautifully.
This shot was taken between two crystals held either side of the lens. By shining light directly at the crystals too you are able to create additional colours and highlights in the foreground. Crystals come in many different shapes and sizes so it’s worth getting a few different examples to generate different sized refractions and effects.
Look out for the lead coating when choosing antique crystals. Most antique crystal was coated this way to enhance the ‘rainbow-like’ quality of light refractions and it’s this effect that can create very interesting bokeh in your shots.
These shots were captured with an 85mm prime lens at f1.8.
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