June 21, 2016 / 

Jullietta Stoencheva

How to make a wet tennis ball look like a galaxy...
with your smartphone

How to make a wet tennis ball look like a galaxy...  with your smartphone

Spinning tennis ball or spiralling galaxy? This shot by Ritesh Meena, a photographer from the Pickit community, captured the attention of many when he first posted it on Pickit earlier this month. He got plenty of follow-up questions from fellow community members, asking how he got the shot and to everyone's surprise, he answered: "I took it with my phone".


"I don't posses any high-tech DSLR or digital camera, all I have is my smartphone - a Lumia 1020", Ritesh told Pickit. "I love it a lot", he continued, "I have taken thousands of pictures with it and still I keep experimenting with new concepts every day". In the following post, Ritesh tells us how to take "wet ball galaxy" shots with just a smartphone. 


Ritesh: I was looking for inspiration for creative pictures on the internet one evening and I came across a picture of a wet tennis ball that looked exactly like a spiralling galaxy. It attracted me a lot. I researched the concept, and I found out that there were many pictures of this type, but all of them were taken with expensive DSLR cameras. It made me wonder whether I could take a similar shot with all the tech I had - a mobile phone. I decided to try, and I used my Lumia 1020 for fulfilling the purpose.


So what was the process to take the photo?

Well, to take this shot you need 4 things:

  • A smartphone or digital camera
  • Water container
  • Tennis Ball
  • An assistant


STEP 1:  Make the settings of camera appropriate for the shot.

a.  Make the shutter speed as fast as you can. I kept the shutter speed at 1/16000 but you can keep 1/8000 also, it will work fine.

b.  Make sure that your FLASH is ON. It is necessary to do so, else you will get a blank black shot because of using such high shutter speed.

c.  Set the white light according to your surrounding and desire. Here I set it as Incandescent because this was the best for me.

d.  Set your focus. It may take time as you have to fix the position of ball and set the focus properly. There is no fixed setting for it, it varies from situation to situation.



Read more: Choosing the right images for your next PowerPoint deck


STEP 2:  Dip you ball in the water container. Make sure you dip and keep it for a while so that it can absorb a good amount of water.



STEP 3:  Now spin the ball. It’s very important how you spin it. Different ways of spinning it will result in different types of galaxies. But one point to keep in mind is that you throw it from down - up and not from up - down, as it will give approximation and time for the person to click the shot. Try to throw it in the area where you kept your phone focus. After some trials you will surely get a proper idea of the place where to throw the ball, with what speed to throw it and which way to spin to get the desired result.



STEP 4:  The last step is to CLICK the picture. The CLICK button must be pressed at the very right moment. It will need a proper coordination between the person who is spinning the ball and the one who is clicking the picture.

Tip: Try the same process with a dark background or at night to get a proper galaxy with white stars around your planet ball.




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