Adding more flexibility to the lens ball

I’ve had lots of fun with my lens ball (or crystal ball, or glass ball, whatever you like to call it) the last few months. And while I love how it works to use existing natural spots to put it, like the ones seen below, I often found myself frustrated.

I don’t love the look of a hand held lens ball, and I couldn’t always find a good spot to put the ball. And then, I was at Yellowstone and there were many places I wanted to use it but there wasn’t a good spot. Lots of frustration! Towards the end of the trip, I ended up stranded at White Dome Geyser for about 30 minutes. This is a geyser that erupts every 10 minutes or so and is a nice tall plume. I wanted to use my ball! In the absence of any railings, rocks, tree stumps or branches….I had to try and figure out something! I had my tripod with me, and I used a few random things from my camera bag, covered by the microfiber sack I carry my ball in, and managed this:

It’s not great, but it worked! I started thinking about how I could make something more attractive – and stable! – to sit on top of my tripod and support the crystal ball.

Initially, I started thinking about finding a way to drill 1/4 inch holes that could screw into the tripod screw. Abandoned that idea as too complicated. Thought about a couple other options, but finally settled on one that would be easy on/off and would still allow the ball support to be used on a flat surface. The answer was simple: magnets!

I purchased a set of two small nut adapters that were 1/4 inch and would screw onto the tripod screw. I also bought some flat magnets an inch and a half in diameter. Some superglue attached the magnet to the adapter. Then I shopped around several thrift stores, and picked up some short candle holders, a napkin ring, and a wooden shape of unknown purpose. Glued other magnets to those items, being careful to keep the polarity so they would attract and not repel.

It made a good strong connection between the two, while still being able to easily take the ball support off and on my tripod. You can see the magnet is strong enough to keep this candle holder attached at an angle.

You can see the whole range of ball supports I have so far here:

And some pullbacks of them in use with the final images: