Instagram is awash with photographers who are obsessed with using depth of field techniques to create incredible shots and astound the eye. Throw in a few refractions, reflections and real-world locations and you've got a perfect mix to create some great looking photos.
In admiring some of these images we came across a simple glass ball known as Lensball being introduced to capture a new perspective on the world. This little glass sphere creates some pretty interesting effects in already amazing images.
Tree ball and sunset
The first of the photographers we found using Lensball was Luke Jackson-Clark (@luke_jclark). Luke regularly puts the glass spheres to excellent use to create some pretty spectacular images.
In this photo, an already awesome sunset is transformed with a play on perspective that seems to see the tree in the background being captured inside the sphere like a summery snow globe.
London's Tower Bridge
A mildly damp day in London presents the perfect opportunity to play on reflections even more. Placing the Lensball on the floor, Luke Jackson-Clark manages to not only capture the reflection of Tower Bridge, but also the reflection's reflection in the wet pavement stone below.
We loved the colours of the sunset and the beauty of the capital this image managed to portray.
Tower bridge from another angle
Another angle of Tower Bridge caught through the eye of the glass sphere. Luke Jackson-Clark's photo once again captures a brilliant sunset over London with the bridge looming tall and small in one image.
A plane trapped in a globe
We've seen a few photos with overhead aeroplanes being the focus of the image - seemingly flying between buildings at perfect angles. With this photo, Luke Jackson-Clark manages to make it look like he's somehow caught the plane in the globe or is giving us a glimpse into another world.
Fire in place
Another Lensball user, Josh (@higher.aperture) manages to put the glass spheres to excellent use in his images. In this one, a roaring campfire flips perspective on its head and gives the appearance of a floating ball and a soil ceiling.
We like how the lick of the flames gives the impression that the ball is warped out of shape.
Bright lights and brilliant colours make for a pretty awesome perspective shot in this photo by Josh. Shot at night, this Lensball focussed image appears to create a spherical night sky full of purple stars caught within the glass globe.
A dark street
Another excellent use of the reflective qualities of a puddle mixed with the refractive powers of the glass sphere. This bokeh image brings clever focus to an area of the photo that's otherwise blurry and lost in the background.
With some masterfully careful balancing, Josh manages to create an awesome flipped view of this illuminated bridge. A brilliantly clear view of the world behind that's otherwise obscured from view.
We love how the curves and bridge and lines of the surrounding pavement play havoc with the eyes.
A matter of perspective
Many of the photos featuring Lensball play tricks on your sense of perspective. This is a great example, with a flipped image giving the impression of a ball defying gravity and logic - held in place by a gloved hand but on a ceiling made of pavement.
The droplets of rain and surrounding lighting add character to the photo and draw the eye causing you to question what's happening.
Colours and tones
Another inverted image shows the glass ball carefully balanced to show off the colourful surroundings. The out-of-focus background is neatly captured in the midst of the globe and looks magnificent. Urban environments somehow make for marvellous images when caught in this way.
This flipped photo seemingly sees Josh carefully balancing the Lensball on his fingertip to capture a photo showing off the urban jungle in the background. Striking colours and sharp lines help create some brilliant focus in an already awesome snap.
Is it raining light bulbs? Dazzling light, delightful colours and a dash of inversion help create a wonderfully striking photo. This image taken in Austin, Texas successfully captures the beauty of the inner city at night.
Sunset photos are a strong Instagram favourite. The flipped perspective created with Lensball only adds to the majesty of natural colours created as the sun goes down. The image casts clouds, colours and a flipped horizon into the spherical glass and the results are fantastic.
Apparently putting a Lensball into a drinking fountain creates some pretty interesting results too. The water seemingly disappearing inside the ball, while an ocean writhes around into the globe. Are we looking through a portal into a stormy other world?
The lights cast brilliant colours onto both the fountain and the sphere while fading off into the blurry background. Certainly another impressive image by Josh.
Lighting the way
Josh clearly has a keen eye for what will work. In a corridor with some pretty funky lighting, the Lensball helps create an interesting new perspective. The twisting lines of the light lead the eye into the depths of the hall and make us wonder what's at the end.
We'd imagine this lighting was already incredibly impressive even without the introduction of the bokeh photography. Here all the wonders of the colours and intricate details of the light are neatly captured in the tiny ball - both highlighted and hidden at the same time.
Lights wrapped around the world
On a cold winter's night, this flipped photo shows the twinkling lights wrapped around nearby trees. Liquid reflections add to the atmosphere of the image and create an incredible perspective.
US Capitol Building
Another incredible Lensball user - Steven Schulz (@sshoolz) - creates some impressive photography results with the humble glass sphere. In this photo, he apparently manages to hold the US Capitol Building in his hand.
Reflections for days
In another building photo, Steven Schulz manages to please the eye with multiple satisfying reflections. These images work so well at night when the lighting really shines. The tiny crystal clear building is brilliantly captured within the sphere.
Reflecting on Einstein
A wet autumn day makes for a perfect snap of Einstein's statue apparently staring at his own reflection in the glass ball before him. The lights at the edges of the sphere make it almost shimmer like a bubble.
Lines and spheres
In yet another brilliant image, Steven Schulz uses the curving lines of the world around him to create a new and interesting perspective reflected in the glass globe. People passing by and the lights of the surrounding buildings appear in the centre of the sphere and create a marvellous majesty for the eye to enjoy.
The US Capitol Building from below
Another photo of the US Capitol Building captures the majesty of the building from another angle. The clarity of the building captured within the sphere with the blurry lines in the background almost speaking to the complex thoughts that happen daily within its walls.
A floating glass ball adds impressive perspective to the latticework of this bridge. Steven Schulz uses this image to conjure some crystal clear imagery of the blurry surroundings. The results are pretty spectacular.
A bridge in the hand
A flipped perspective on an upside down world. This photo wonderfully shows off the lights and shadows on this bridge that stretches off into the background.
A creative shot at the Marine Corps War Memorial pictures the photographer inexplicably in front of the scene with the Lensball hovering above his hand. The patriotic statue in the background appears in tiny detail within the walls of the glass sphere.
Another Instagrammer by the name of Carlos Hernandez (@atxcarlos_h_photography) is also a big fan (and superb user) of Lensball. He uses the little glass globes to create some pretty impressive shots, like this one of a flipped perspective on an urban world. Strung up lights and a building block blur into the background but come into strong focus in the glass world within the sphere.
Lines and lights
Glass within glass. Light within light. This photo nicely catches the light from the window pane and bends the straight lines of the frame within the curves of the sphere for some interesting results. We loved the lighting of this one and the incredible results from an otherwise simple location.
Through the magnifying ball
Another magnified view of the world. With this snap, Carlos Hernandez takes a spiral of lights and pushes our focus through the middle of the sphere. A brilliant view of simple lighting that's as moody as it is wonderful.
Fun with sparklers
Our next Instagram sensation is Steve Zeinner (@steve_zeinner). This photographer uses Lensball in a variety of locations to warp perspective or create a fantastic focus on the surroundings. In this photo, the use of a waterside location, heavy metal chains and an active sparkler make for a really atmospheric display.
Palm trees and perspective
In a much more enticing location, a welcoming view of the sunset is flipped through the eye of the Lensball. Most of us dream of a lovely spot like this for our holiday, but this photo is certainly a nice twist on an otherwise cliched tourist photo.
It turns out that Lensball adds a really interesting perspective to a spiralling staircase. The crystal clear view of the world above appears to give a view of the future journey upward.
Hot and cold
Steve Zeinner says of this photo:
"For man looketh on the outward appearance but God looketh upon the heart. Remember that Your actions reflect what’s truly in your heart."
This image appears to capture manmade structures and nature together - with long icicles dangling down neatly while tall skyscrapers stretch upwards in the background. Finished off by a brilliant sunset.
The Dixie Terminal
Lensball works well at capturing the lines of impressive architecture too. The hallway of the Dixie Terminal reflecting wonderfully in the glass and on the highly polished floor below.
From manmade locations to the wonder of nature. Steve Zeinner puts Lensball to work in wonderful ways, wherever he is. This snap shows a peaceful waterfall running down the mountainside with the beauty of nature captured in the globe of glass.
Enter my world
In this snap, Enzo Romano (@_enk) beckons us to enter his world. An upside-down view of the Italian landscape, with the spire of a clock tower magnificently captured within the Lensball. Almost looks like a local snowglobe purchased by a visiting tourist.
A view by the sea
This time at the shoreline, Enzo Romano makes the most of the reds and oranges, to create a brilliant hue within the glass globe and its surroundings. The nearby houses are flipped for all to see.
Sun after the rain
A moody skyline and a little post-rain photography make for some great results. The calm waters prove the perfect partner for the still reflections from the Lensball too.
Jordan (@jjs_vision) clearly has some passion for the wonderful images Lensball helps to create. This brilliant photographer can be seen putting the glass ball to use in a variety of locations. In this photo, he's flipped the perspective on the monument at Stoodley Pike - Todmorden, England. This monument dates back to 1854 when it was first built to remember the fallen of the Crimean War.
Painting with lights
A spot of long exposure photography and a Lensball carefully balanced at the edge of a busy road at night creates some pretty pleasing results. The lights of passing vehicles painting the air and giving a dash of colour for all to admire.
Reflecting on nature
Jordan is another photographer to make use of Lensball and surrounding reflections to reflect and refract the world around him. With the glass globe neatly placed in a stream, all the colours and wonder of nature are neatly captured, reflected and a flipped in interesting ways.
A camera perspective
We really like this photo. It looks like Canon has taken the inspiration from Lensball to release a new globe-like lens for its EOD 6D camera. The local cliffside of Flamborough Head is flipped nicely inside the globe and perfectly shows off the chalk of the headland. Wonderfully white walls of the cliffs being washed by the waters below.
St. Paul's Cathedral
Another flipped perspective on a popular tourist destination, this Lensball photo shows St. Paul's Cathedral from an angle you've probably never seen before. The rainbow colours of the nearby pedestrian's umbrella add a dash of character to the photo too.
London in lights
Shot in the dusk hours, this image was captured around New Year when London was still wrapped in lights from the Christmas period. The twinkling seasonal lights look even more impressive when reflected in the glass walls of Jordan's Lensball. This photo makes it look like the lights are covering the floors and the ceiling too.
A perfect photo to ring in the weekend - the bright a colourful lights of the city amusements reflected in all their glory within Lensball. A cool beer beckons in the edge of the shot. Lovely.
Wish Upon a Star
We love seeing photographers using Lensball to capture tiny parts of the surroundings. We can't help but think that this photo by Spencer Dinning (@spencer.dinning) might have been subject to a little editing, but it's still marvellous. When you wish upon a star you get some great results.
Ferris wheel fun
From the wonder of nature to another fantastic snap of manmade fun. This image by Spencer Dinning reflects the lights of a Ferris wheel, the dazzle and lure are made even more appealing with a bit of depth of field photography.
Sunset by the bay
A brilliantly peaceful snap by the bay shows all the wonder and colours of the sunset. The reflections of the water themselves reflected marvellously in the glass globe.