I love nature photography, going out into the world and capturing the earth’s beauty with the lens of my camera, and there’s nothing like a photo shoot in the woods to give you a sense of creative imagination. It was just recently that I found myself with a group of good friends, hiking on a local nature trail in the Midwest, a crisp chill in the air and the sunshine on our faces, when a wild deer with a huge set of antlers rushed out onto the path, giving us the perfect opportunity for snapping some pictures. It was a rare, beautiful moment – surrounded by camera lenses glittering like eyes, the animal stayed perfectly still and patiently began to graze on the grass under its feet. We’d never been so close to a deer in its natural habitat before.
Stand Out From The Crowd!
Most of my friends were as usual shooting with conventional lenses and a couple of telephoto zoom lenses, but when I reached into my backpack and pulled out my big glass prism, holding it carefully in front of my own lens, I was surprised to find that the sound of stifled snickering had replaced the tranquil silence. “What’s wrong with my prism?” I found myself wondering out of curiosity. . “What’s so funny about me using it as a photo filter?”
Upon asking this very question, my best friend, Laurie, replied with a loud eruption of laughter. “How do you even get any good shots through that piece of glass?” she chuckled, shaking her head. “Haven’t you ever heard of digital filters? Why would you want to try to take a photo through a glass shape?”
Experimenting “In-Camera” Gives Unique Results!
It would seem that in the age of iPhones and selfies that digital filters and editing effects would be the only practical way to go, but there’s a drawback to using some digital image editing tools, especially if you’re a professional. If overdone, digital tech can give an unnatural false appearance to photos – but why choose to use a prism instead of purchasing a lens filter? Actually, glass prisms and other experimental filters have long been a favorite tool of the trade in any professional photographer’s bag, especially during the 1960’s and 70’s, when Kodachrome and Super 8 and other vivid film stocks were still all the rage. Prisms work just as well with digital photography as they do with film, they’re fairly inexpensive and they require no special type of lens – all you need is a piece of cut glass (mine is a triangular shape) to hold in front of your camera while taking shots. Why would you want to do this? Well, prisms are a fun, simple way to give regular photos a creative twist all their own.
Your Images Stand Out From the Crowd!
Some prisms cast hundreds of little rainbows across the lens, giving pictures a retro style like something from an old hippie movie. Others trap rays of the sunlight that segment photos into elaborate, beautiful designs. They’re especially popular with fashion photography, wedding photography and portraits, but prisms can be used with almost any type of photo, and anybody can easily use one without having to install it or fasten it into the camera itself. The magic of prisms is that they make your photos look different each time, so you never know what sort of spectacular art the end result will be. This is because prisms show perfectly the properties of light and the ways that light can appear to the human eye, especially in terms of rainbows and color. They’re a pocket-sized little item that never runs out of ways to give photos a unique quality.
My friends, most of whom are avid photographers, had cracked up at the sight of me holding up my prism and snapping photos of flowers in the woods, but upon seeing the end result, photos that required no rendering, alteration or added computer effects, they were completely shocked in disbelief. They looked professional but not fake, flooded with natural light and color in all the right places, and the flower itself hadn’t been blurred or obscured. Suddenly they were all asking me how I’d done it. “You seriously just used that glass thing?
I was happy to say that day that my photos were the talk of the group, and I was glad to recommend to them that they each pick up a prism of their own. As we continued on our hike, I found that my own little prism really came in handy, especially when we arrived at our destination, a sparkling waterfall beneath the afternoon sunlight. My prism made the light hit the water at such a sharp angle that it appeared as if it were almost glittering. I was glad to have it and share it with my friends, but I’ve been considering getting some new ones – after all, prisms and other glass photography filters come in a huge variety of shapes and styles for different lens effects. It’s up to the individual photographer to find the right prisms for the effect or style that they’re going for.
They are Inexpensive and Portable!
Prisms are easy to find on most online stores and in camera retail shops, too. A lot of people experiment with household items like glass bottles, eyeglass lenses and glass laboratory equipment, anything that has a way of giving images that wonderful kaleidoscope aesthetic. No matter where you decide to get a prism or how many you carry with you, they’re a tool that every photographer should definitely have in their arsenal, not to mention a fun way to express your talent and personality with the pictures you take.
Check out our Prism here!