Marbles and Crystals, In Conclusion

The photographing of marbles into planets has been going on since January this year. The crystal images have been in progress since March. I spent a great deal of time putting together this final version of images (and video) of both these objects, so a longer sequences can be shown during my final show.

Starting with the marble planets: It has been brought up to me that my “planets” needed something else to them to look convincing. For me the best way to accomplish this was re-shooting several favorites (and new collections) while getting rid of the planets that did not meet up to par (mostly due to bad lighting or hotspots). When I re-shot the marbles this time I used off-camera video lighting instead of a flash ring and chose to use longer exposures with each step of focus to achieve a more consistently lit planet. I finally got around to applying some dulling spray and used it to coat my favorite reflective marbles, which helped me avoiding the hot spot problem I’ve been having up until this point. More depth was accomplished in these new versions because the lighting was side-lit as opposed to my original front-lens lighting with a flash, which now gives each planet a slightly rounded effect.

Music for this video comes from an artist who makes experimental music by the name of poppy nogood with additional “noises” like the space frequencies I found from NASA explorations, crickets at night, and train sounds slowed down usually between 45-85% to match the musical speed of the atmospheric soundtrack underneath.

Below are 7 new versions now part of the Little Planets series, which contains total of 20 planets I now consider to be best realized as a group. There were a total of 37 marbles I photographed, and I’ve kept these versions for an animated gif sequence.


Now onto the crystals: The crystals turned out to be a very time intensive process, with the rendering of videos, composite stacking of images from multiple depth of field, and photoshopping the “glitches” that arise from such compositing via Photoshop’s layer aligning and blending process. I’m very happy to say that I’ve increased this image series from 4 images to a total of 12. Below are all the new versions of the Geode series.

Update: 10/23: The music will be presented in between each video, and the viewer can make their own connections to the two. Before I got the sounds implemented the length of these two videos was designed to be the exact same. Originally I planned on showing these two videos across from one another but now I’m leaning towards using the same sound source in between each video and having them projected in a dark section of the gallery space (using the two half walls) as large as possible.

Getting back to the images, the newer images I shot this past weekend were done a bit different. I experimented with different lighting techniques, both front-lit, back-lit, and a combination of the two. The original macro photographs of my goede crystals were done using the ratio of the lens to determine focus. This time around I used a video slider and hand-crank to slowly move the camera itself “through” the geode. This allowed for a much smoother and less distorted transition of focus. One more point to this strategy when moving through the geode: the off-camera flash due to my rapid succession of images (around 40+ images) with low batteries caused an accidental flicker effect that looked very interesting to me when I checked out the image sequence. This is apparent in the last three segments of the geodes video above.


After I finish the video component to these two series I’m moving onto some new material. It’s taken me long enough and it’s time to move on.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *