Lens distortion? I love it!

Yesterday, Nov 11th, was my birthday and a friend gave me an optical toy as a present.  It was an insect-eye “kaleidoscope” that had a faceted lens at the front.  The lens produces distorted multiple versions of whatever is in front of it.

insecteye-thing-blog

It’s got a quite deep wooden housing as it’s made to suit the human eye, but I wondered what would happen if I tried taking pictures through it.

insecteye-rearlights-blog

The hole you look through is quite small, so a DSLR lens or even a micro 4/3rds lens is too big.  I used a zoom compact which fitted the hole nicely.  I found that the lens need to be zoomed out somewhat to avoid giving a circular image in the centre of the frame, although the circle is an interesting effect.

insecteye-glass-blog

Zooming till the image fills the frame produces images that have a little bit of “cubism” in that the different facets show a slightly different view of the subject.  There’s a lot of colour fringing

insecteye-glassthing-blog

The pattern repeat makes the images tend towards the abstract, whilst the colour fringing and edge distortion focus your eye towards the centre of the image.

It’s a fun thing, and we are, after all, supposed to have fun with our photography.  I’m looking forward to trying out more ideas…

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