Creative Images with Lensbaby
I'm sure you're wondering, "What the heck is a Lensbaby?" and I don't remember how I came across this fun little lens manufacturer but I'm glad I did! The Lensbaby lenses are designed to swivel so that you can focus on one area of your shot and allow the rest to blur at varying degrees of softness. I like creating shots that are a little more out-of-the-box and thought this little lens would be a perfect new addition to my camera bag.
I read a lot of information about the lenses online, watched a lot of videos and how-to's on the different lenses they offer, talked to some people at the camera shop and decided to spend the money and get the Composer Pro with the Sweet 50 optic lens. So, come along with me and see what I did...it will be an adventure, I promise!
As with any new tool, there is a bit of getting used to it and so I was prepared to take a lot of really bad photos with my new lens! First things first, this lens works by choosing your aperture on the lens, so when you are looking at the back of your camera it shows an F-stop at 0. This being said, you set your camera on either Aperture Priority so the camera can decide on the shutter speed based on your aperture setting or Manual mode and you can decide on your shutter speed. I found that the ISO settings needed to be a little higher, too, with the smaller aperture settings. I found that it was also important to swivel the lens slowly to find the "sweet spot" as this is a LENS that you use on manual focus...that means YOU are focusing the lens, and so I tended to take more than one shot slightly moving the focus as well as the camera.
The weather was not particularly nice or pretty so I stayed inside with my new lens. Knowing that I was going to take horrible pictures bothered me to no end so I looked around the house for interesting things to shoot that would turn into something amazing! I found this horse statue...and as you can see there is not a definite focal point in this picture.
As I sat on the couch that evening with my new lens like a kid at Christmas I tried taking some of my daughter because I liked the dark background of the couch.
Then there was the ceiling fan...
and the new leg lamp. Yes, my mother gifted my husband the leg lamp from A Christmas Story and we placed it proudly in the front window...
"Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window."
As you can see, I was desperate!! This shot of the fringe turned out I thought...
And here I got creative with the guitar...
The next day I took it outside to take some pictures of the horses because I thought they would look unique and more like art. The lens is a 50mm which lends itself to distortion when taking pictures of horses, but I was willing to play. Boris was my first furry little supermodel. Sweet little Boris! So here in this first shot, as you can see there is no clear focal spot, or "sweet spot" of focus. A wiggling little donkey made that rather difficult!
I like this picture because it simply lets me know that there is potential for some real creativity with this lens and the horses.
Sweet little Boris...
Then there was Bob standing in the doorway of the barn. The sweet spot looks to be just below his ear rather than on his eye here and I think the overall lighting should be curved to brighten it...so I did in the photo on the right. The bottom picture is pretty good as far as getting my sweet spot on his eye better but I think Bob looks annoyed!
** Photography tip: Getting that black behind your subject is attained by putting your subject in front of an open doorway and adjusting your settings to keep that background dark.
(My ISO 1250, shutter speed 1/1250, aperture -- ?? As the camera doesn't register it and I didn't jot it down but I think it was around either 2.8 or 4. I did lighten the bottom shot a little bit in post processing, too)
Then there is Frederick! He always likes to be right up on you when you are in the pasture but I took some shots anyway! I did not lighten these but I think they are a bit dark, too. I actually sort of like the shot on the right. The bottom shot you can see that he moved out of the sweet spot, which looks like it is on the trees behind him!
Then I took a walk out to the pond and had my trusty loyal sidekicks along to play it up for the photographer and keep life fun!
Nothing great, here, just showing you my learning curve. You can see the sweet spot pretty well in these...and how far off I was from it!
Big Chief posed for some portraits
On a snowy day I went back out with the horses to see what I could come up with. I liked the way the tilted shots came out because I think they capture the mood/emotion of the moment. The sweet spot is right on Bob's tail which helps give it the look and feel that you can capture with this little lens. I liked the close-up shots of the horses eating together because it reminds me of the penguins braving the blustering cold and huddling together.
What do you think?
You gotta love Frederick...he tries, bless his little heart! Bless my little heart, too...I'm desperately trying to find that elusive sweet spot, feeling like I need glasses, and hoping that not all of my pictures turn out horrible! It's driving me crazy! Some are so blurry because he kept moving so much and getting closer to me that there was no time to refocus and get anything decent....but I shouldn't blame it all on Frederick. First rule of horsemanship...it's not always the horse's fault!
I keep telling myself that there is a learning curve with this lens and that showing you will inspire you not to give up and not to be afraid of making mistakes along the way.
Are you inspired?
These are "artistic", right?
I decided to work with some subjects that were much less mobile and more detail oriented. I started with close-ups of the horses' coats because the patterns were so intricate
There is just no resisting Frederick as a subject. My ISO at 2500 was extremely high for these and I don't have a good answer as to why exactly other than I tried working with the smaller apertures for a larger sweet spot. When I chinked, I decided to leave them...you know, for artistic shots!
One of the things I have started doing with my other lenses is to turn off the auto focus...note that I turn off auto focus on the LENS. I wanted some photos that were not in sharp focus and that gave just a ghostly hint of the subject. Try it with your camera and see how you like it...
A little blown out but still interesting, I think...and I really like that last shot. The sweet spot is actually a little above his eye but I like it anyway! (and yes, I adjusted some things in post processing on that last one)
So today, I am actually going to leave you with a call to action! First of all, let me know how you liked the pictures with the new lens by commenting (yes, I know you need to log in but that keeps robots out!) or sending me an email directly.
Second, share this blog on your social media by clicking on the links for Facebook and Twitter. The art of photography is just that...art. Art is meant to be fun, creative, and shared and I hope that you enjoyed sharing my first experiences with this little Composer Pro w/Sweet 50 optic lens from Lensbaby.
I'll keep practicing and trying new things and that is the third thing I want you to do. Try something new and keep practicing...whatever it is you enjoy doing. Until next time...