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Fisheye Rumble in the Pond Chapter 33: Fisheye Camera Recap

Imagine that the discussion that you just read is a big, beefy pot of stew. Between the goldfish and the Lomographers, we mixed a ton of ingredients into it to get the right flavor. Now, as a Scientist-chef of sorts, it’s my job to dole out that stew into bite-size and easily digestible portions. With that analogy in mind, I’m going to present four fundamental tips which (based on the evidence that we have heard) will advance your skills and proficiency with the Fisheye camera. And without further ado...

Tip#1 Get Close!
When it comes to photography, these eight letters are often the only thing that prevent a “blah” image from being an “awe yeah!” image. Don’t be afraid of your subject – go right up to him/her and get a close-up shot. Fill your frame with their fabulous features! When you’re rocking the Fisheye camera, this basic principle is even more critical – as the closer that you get, the more awesome the distortion and Fisheye effect becomes. Sometimes, it’s nice to capture a crazy landscape or such, but as a rule: the majority of your Fisheye photos are best when taken too-close-for-comfort.

Tip #2 Recognize the power of wide
Your Fisheye’s perspective is way different from anything else you’ve ever experienced before. As such, you’ve got to think in terms of the fisheye shot. Everything around you, on top of you, and below you is going to end up in the photo. You’re going to suck all of that content into one concise little circle. Any vertical structures will bend along the circular curve at the edges of your photos. Any noses close to the lens are going to get sucked in towards you – while eyes, hair, and stuff like that will recede back into the distance. Nearly everything in your shot will be in focus due to the huge depth of field. Start to think in these terms, and you’ll find that your Fisheye photos are getting better and better with each roll that you shoot.

Tip #3 Try the flash
No night-time gloom or lack of light should ever put the brakes on your Fisheye fun. Just charge up the little flash and keep the party going ‘till six in the morning (six in the mooaaning!) But this is important – your camera’s field of view is huge and the flash is not strong enough to cover the whole thing. Truth be told, any flash would have a hard time illuminating 170-degrees. So it’s extra important to be close to your subjects while firing the flash – so that they’re properly lit and the Fisheye effect comes through. A cool technique is to place them right against a wall with a pattern – like a brick wall. Get close and fire – the flash will be bright enough to light up the whole wall, and you’ll see the pattern bend as it gets barrel-distorted at the edges.

Tip #4 Cross processing is your friend
This is one of Lomography’s most beloved techniques, and with very good reason. It’s unpredictable, really vivid, and completely addictive. Start with a great slide film, (Kodak Ektachrome, Fuji Velvia, Fuji Sensia, etc) shoot it on a very bright day, and then ask to cross process it. That means developing it in color negative chemicals (C-41 chemicals rather than the proper E-6 ones). As described before: the colors are insane, the contrast is huge, and the whole effect is surreal. Fuji films tend to give blue, green, or sometimes pink results. Kodak stays kind of natural in color balance, but the contrast and saturation goes through the roof. The results will vary from film to film, and from lab to lab.

“Rumble in the Pond” is a 368-page hardcover book bursting with 170-degree Fisheye madness. Inside your will find exclusive tips and tricks, Lomographer profiles & interviews, an informative history of Fisheye lenses and goldfish breeding, and several hundred eye-popping barrel-distorted fisheye images. Get your own ""Rumble in the Pond" Fisheye Book": now!

written by ungrumpy

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