Many photographers (myself included) have jumped on the Sam Hurd bandwagon by waving glass prisms in front of their lenses while creating images. And why not? It's unique, unexpected and given the right light, can produce some beautiful results. But on a recent video shoot, I discovered that you could create a similar effect by using a Nalgene Water Bottle.
Here are the details.
You'll need a brand new Nalgene Water Bottle which will run you about $10. If you shop on Amazon for a prism, you'll pay roughly the same amount or possibly more. But can you drink water out of a prism? No. So there you go. When you buy your Nalgene Bottle, make sure you don't succumb to the temptation of buying a colored one because if you do, this whole thing won't work. (Colored lids are fine).
Fill your Nalgene Bottle with approximately 16 ounces of water. For those of you who like myself hate Mathematics, that simply means fill it half way. You can also experiment with different amounts of water to produce different effects. Next, you'll hold the bottle up to the lens and shoot away as you see fit. I like to favor one side of the lens or either the top or bottom. Keep in mind that this effect depends on available light and with my discovery, there were two differences from a typical shoot: 1. I was using a tripod and live mode on my camera. This allowed me to see a live version of what was happening with the light, the water and the subject. 2. The subject was backlit with constant light. As photographers, we don't typically shoot with constant light. That's more of a video thing. And while this was a video shoot, you could very easily setup still shots using constant or available light and put your Nalgene Bottle to creative use.
Make sure and take care of the Nalgene Bottle. Certain scratches might look cool in pictures but once the bottle's clarity fades, so will the effectiveness of its ability to manipulate light. The great thing about using a water bottle is of course that you also have water to drink. Fill it all the way up, drink half and use the rest to create awesome images and videos. I'm posting a few that I've created using this technique along with a recent video so you can see the motion effects of the water and the water bottle. Enjoy.