Watch this refractography tutorial on how to capture otherworldly images without using a lens


posted Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 2:04 PM EST

Photographer Rob Turney has released a video for a very interesting technique that involves refracting light directly into your camera's sensor to create incredible otherworldly images. Dubbed refractography, it's a type of light painting that does away with your camera's lens entirely, instead sending a warped beam of light directly to the sensor.

In the tutorial, Turney lays out just how you go about taking the types of images that he has in his portfolio. It requires taking a bright source of illumination, like an LED flashlight, and then putting a pinhole over it to allow through just a small beam of light. That's then shone directly at a transparent object, which is used to refract the light into the camera. By rotating and moving the refracting object, beautiful and bizarre light patterns can be created. To colorize the image, you can use gels to transform the light beam into different hues.

Many people will, doubtless, be wary of shooting with an SLR without a lens attached, i.e. opening the sensor to the air for the duration of a long exposure. But the images that this technique produces are really quite stunning. Tourney's photographs have a very specific look and feel to them, but a quick browse of the refractography Flickr group shows just how varied the resulting images can look.


(via ISO1200)