Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh Baby! A new lens for my Canon

As their packaging suggests, I'm a new father. Had a baby last week. Thankfully, this baby doesn't require changing poopy diapers or getting puke all over my work clothes. I ordered a new lens last week, called a Lensbaby. Here is a link to their website. I've heard about this lens in the past, but never really looked into it.

Whoa! The Lensbaby lens can be tilted to your liking!

See how the left gnome's head is sharper than the rest of the photo, the Lensbaby was tilted to make that area sharp

Sharp in the middle area, out of focus on the sides. Like it or hate it?

*As always, click on the pics to enlarge*

First off, I'm a sharpness junkie. If my photos are out of focus, I'll try my best to sharpen them using some sort of post production software. If that fails, then onto the next picture. Well what the Lensbaby does is gives you a sweet spot that IS in focus, then depending on how much you bend the lens, yes, I said bend the lens, you'll achieve out of focus areas on the photo. Get my drift? Basically you get to bend the lens in any direction and to any varying degree to achieve blurring to your liking. It gives you similar results to tilt/shift photography. Pretty cool, huh?

Two photos for comparison. Lensbaby tilted towards the presents in the first pic, towards the ice skaters in the second. 

Now I suppose you could get a result that is similar using photoshop or some other software, but after reading a bit the result is different. But what fun would that be? I went out this afternoon and decided to give it a trial run. Temps were around 32 so it wasn't too bad outside. Unfortunately the sky was pretty gray and blah looking. That can either be good or bad for the photography. Great in that you don't get any harsh shadows cast from the sun. Bad in that colors are pretty bland and the sky is just boring. Anyway, off to the Old Market.

Sometimes the blurring can give a sense of movement 

After 2 1/2 hours with no gloves on, I decided to call it a day. Get home...about 80% of my 254 pictures were blurry! I mean way too blurry to use! Of course they looked in focus on the camera LCD screen and I thought I was going to get some great images. some reading, turns out that the aperture disc that I had used (f2.8) gives a very shallow depth of field. Should have known, I've never had a lens that fast before. But because of the cloudy sky, that was what I decided to go with. A bigger aperture allows more light in, but you lose depth of field. That is how you get up close subjects really sharp and then you'll have a blurred background. The fact that I was bending the lens made it even worse! Also, the size of the aperture helps to determine the size of the sweet spot according to Lensbaby. Shooting conditions didn't really allow me to test this.

Oh well, I was able to salvage a few photographs. All about the learning curve, right? This type of photography is totally new to me, either you like it or you don't. So far I like it. It gives me a different perspective on a regular scene that you might walk by on any given day. Just need to retrain my brain and remember that I'm going for an artistic surreal feel. I'll have to give it a go on a sunny day, get some more depth of field and see how those turn out. Stay tuned!

 Too cute! Pug with boots

Who needs carbon fiber bikes? Steel is real 

I like how the lights on the left side are blurred and exaggerated 

Getting the horse carriage shot was harder than I thought. Had to wait till they were moving, also traffic would stop right in front of me. Then when I took the shot, the horse wasn't even in focus! 


  1. Those are great Mike. I really like the shots with the lit up carriage. We were down in the Old Market earlier in the day. A guy in an SUV pulled up in a parking spot close to the horse and carriage that was marked 'no parking'. I would not recommend doing that unless you want the feel the wrath of that driver.

  2. I also like the carriage shots, good job. Patty