Photography for the intrepid

Mind over matter: I used distraction to help small children deal with pain when I was a nurse, and I employ the same trick frequently with my own kids now. Today the pain is mine, and I picked up my camera for some therapeutic "play" this afternoon. It really took my mind off what's going on, and it was really fun! Here are some photography tricks you might like to experiment with if you've got a camera with a detachable lens:

Playing with a Holga lens, disconnected from the Holga body and held in front of the shutter of my DSLR. This yields some fun light effects. You need a spot meter for these types of photography, as your internal meter won't be reliable. The results are also unpredictable (they also are with a Holga lens, but especially so with one not actually attached to a camera). In order to focus, you have to twist and/or tilt the lens until the part of the photo you want in focus comes clean to your naked eye.

Can't afford a good close-up lens but craving the alien landscapes not visible to your naked eye? My dad taught me this great lens trick that he discovered in the 1970's: disconnect your lens, turn it around, and hold it flush with the camera body. This will give you a fixed focal length of about 1-2" (depending on your lens) and a fixed aperture of about 0.7. You can take some stunning close-ups this way - but beware! The internal mechanisms of your camera are open to the elements so you might want to stay away from water and do this only on a calm, dry day if you're outdoors. Your internal meter won't work for this lens trick either, so you'll have to mess around with shutter speeds until you get what you want. I find that with my camera, I have to go up about 10 clicks on the shutter speed, and the internal meter tells me I've underexposed the photograph.