Crystal ball photography has become popular which mainly started from a group on facebook. My first purchase was a 100mm globe which is large and heavy to carry, although I will still use it for local filming. So I have now purchased a 60mm globe which will be suitable to take on holidays. For best results shoot in the shade which was easy for me taking pictures in a local forest with my digital SLR.
Trying to hold a heavy ball in one hand and camera in the other many of my pictures were not as sharp as I would have liked, but then you should not except too much this is like looking through a water drop not a poor man's fisheye lens. I did swear a few times and nearly dropped my sphere in the river itchen because the larger size globe sphere acts as a magnifying glass and will quickly burn your hand. Place the crystal ball on a cut tree stump you have a smoke effect as it burns the stump, but don't set fire to the forest. You would not want to stand one of these globes in your windowsill they would be a fire risk. Well it gets worse, because on the 16/05/2015 I was filming a lovely carpet of Wild Garlic flowers through my crystal ball at Garston woods which is a RSPB Nature reserve. It was not till I got home I found a burnt hole right through my jacket at chest hight from carrying my large sphere and other scorch marks. It was my favorite jacket and I should not have been wearing it at the forest, my jacket is completely ruined now. I did get some nice pictures though. So is you see a man running in the forest on fire, your know its me.
I was pleased with the pictures although any imperfection inside the glass ball do show on the pictures especially on straight edges like buildings, which can be left as an effect or cloned. The first pictures taken around Winchester were just snap shots from my compact camera. Because the G1X compact camera has a large sensor which requires a larger lens-element movement the macro is very poor. I brought this camera for landscapes not crystal balls; so I had to use a 10x Vivitar close up filter to focus on the Crystal ball image. It is important you're set your camera on manual focus.
The resulting pictures of the globe have to be rotated in Photoshop unless you like the upside down effect and I did take some pictures of the same scene without the crystal ball so I could blur as a background although my hand did not look out of place in most pictures. So the following morning I returned with my SLR to Winchester and the New Forest National Park this time shooting with a tripod and a blue sky was much better leaving me a hand to shade the globe from the sun if needed. A polarizing filter should help with reducing reflections although not all reflections are bad its worth experimenting. I think now I will always carry a crystal ball, size depending on location and what gear I am carrying and people love the pictures. You can take some spectacular pictures with a glass sphere something anybody can do with little cost.