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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

 

Festive masks for the season.

Festive masks for the season.

 

A week ago I finally received my belated birthday gift (belated as it was not released yet) a LenBaby Composer. A Lensbaby is a prime camera lens that rotates in a ball socket, instead of having a plane of focus there is a movable spot (sweet spot). Because of the rotating and unusual focus it is a manual lens without a CPU. The lack of a CPU translates to manually setting the exposure (no exposure metering in the camera).

After a week I find that it is a fun lens. While certain subject appear dull with a normal lens my Lensbaby allows for a new take on the same subject. What’s more it brings out a higher degree of creativity. My particular lens is 50mm so aside from the unique ball socket and manual exposure it is the same as my loved f/1.8 50mm lens. Except that the Lensbaby has a maximum of f/2.0. 

Aside from finding the “sweet spot” choosing the aperture is also unique. Normally a lens has a small computer inside allowing for the lens aperture to be set by the camera or going furtyher back there is a ring to set the aperture. This lens has neither. Instead the aperture is set by physically changing out the aperture ring. The rings are made from a semi-soft magnetic material that is held above the lens by three magnets. The lens comes with a small tool that holds the rings with a magnet on the back switch them out.

This may seem like an inconvenience and it would be if you were shooting in continually changing lighting conditions or fast subjects. However I feel that for the most part this type of shooting is not the target of a Lensbaby. What it does allow is for custom apertures. The background blur of a photo is caused by the focus but the shape of the blur is determined by the aperture. That is why some lens produce certain pointed stars. Kits are sold allowing for custom made aperture disks, but I thought it can’t be that hard.

 

My simple aperture alteration tools.

My simple aperture alteration tools.

With tools at my disposal I took some post-it notes and a knife and jury-rigged some test apertures to see what would happen. Because I used purple notes that did not block all light a slight purple tint invaded my test photos. Here is how my purposefully out of focus Christmas tree came out:

 

First attempt.

First attempt.

A bit more creative second attempt.

A bit more creative second attempt.

 

So far I like the lens. I am not yet fully versed in how to use it, that will come with practice. I still find it funny that my lens acquisitions are in a way slowly regressing in ease of use. First I had autofocus VR lens, then a prime non-VR manual lens and now a Lensbaby that lacks exposure metering (with my camera at least). And yet it is the simple lens that are spending the time on my camera.

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Constraint

 

One of my personal favorites.

One of my personal favorites.

Constraint breeds creativity.

When I want to take photos and I don’t know what to point my camera at I limit myself. My favorite way of doing this is to just take a single lens and photograph anything interesting as I walk somewhere. Since I am in school I do this either between class or on the way to class. Of course I need to give myself extra time else I feel rushed.

Another constraint is to just use a single focal length, I do this by taking my 50mm prime lens which forces me to stick to 50mm. 

Only photographing flowers or buildings or colors can help stimulate creative photos as well.

A few days ago when walking to class a flare of yellow caught my eye. I was taking random photos and I found a pair of perfect sunflowers that were hiding in a median of the bike path. It was a good serendipitous moment.

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