Camera manufacturers spend an awful lot of money ensuring that their lenses are well corrected for any focusing errors, and are contrasty and sharp. Well, it’s time to get your images all wobbly again! You can get creative images by shooting through distorting materials such as uneven glass, cheap optical toys, and even hot air.
This cityscape, taken from a high tower, was shot through a fabulously uneven bit of window glass. The hexagon makes a great frame for the image, which is very impressionistic, with broken outlines and almost the effect of brush strokes.
In this image the cityscape is even more distorted. It’s more an image of the details in the glass than an image of what’s behind the glass. The bubbles in the glass add a further air of unreality to the image, yet the four vertical sections give a sense of order at the same time.
Here the distortion has been made by water on plain glass. It’s actually shot from inside a car in a car wash, with rinsing water running down the windscreen. I made sure the focus was set on the distant subjects so the nearer water would be nicely diffused. The right hand wall of the car wash and the left hand side hedge give good lead-in lines to the composition.
This image is through a cheap child’s optical toy; an plastic insect eye kaleidoscope. The subject, an orange, is split by the toy’s 16 facets into 16 separate versions. The sides of the toy are blue, and these give an excellent colour contrast with the orange.
This final image shows the distortion caused by hot air mixing with cooler air. The mixture of cool and warm air has varying density which gives varying amounts of light refraction. The hot air is coming from the funnel of a heritage steam train in Minehead, Somerset, and it’s breaking up the outline of the CAFE sign and wall behind it. I would have loved to have been there when the sign-writer realised that the accent still need to be added to the E, but there was no space above it. “I’ll just stick it between the F and the E, no-one will notice”!
It’s great fun looking for this kind of image, so get out there and get wobbling!