Monday, November 21, 2016

11 Years of Lensbaby Magic!

11 years ago today, I opened the box of my new Lensbaby 2.0, and started to see the world in a new way. Though my first images were far from perfect, there was something about the effect that I fell instantly in love with. Here is a shot from my first walk around the neighborhood with my new Lensbaby:

The more I used that little lens, the more I understood what I could do with it, how I could draw attention to just one area of the frame, and how beautiful and fascinating blur could be.  Even when I missed the focus, there was still something I loved about these photos, straight out of my camera.

Can a lens change your life? Can it show the world the way in which you see it? Can it allow you to capture bits and pieces of things that the rest of the world walks right by? Can it allow you to grow as a photographer in ways you never thought possible and bring you immense joy? For me, the answer to those questions is yes, all because of Lensbaby. When I discovered Lensbaby lenses I was just starting out as a photographer, eager to learn as much as I could. The first time I saw a photo created with one of their lenses, I knew I had to have one, but I had no idea how that decision would change both my life and my photography. Through my use of Lensbabies, I have captured amazing beauty, simplified complicated subjects, embraced challenges, encouraged others to look beyond the obvious and to see in a new way. I have been able to share my view, my voice and my creative vision. I am so grateful for what these lenses have brought to my life and for the growth they continue to ignite in me both personally and professionally. Thank you, Lensbaby!

Here is a link to a video showcasing my recent Dahlia photos, all taken this year with my Lensbaby Sweet 50 or Velvet 56. I do love my Lensbabies! Oh- and if you are thinking about purchasing the Velvet 56, it's $70 off right now at!

Happy shooting!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Twisted Collection

I am happy to announce my second collection of color textures! My Garden Collection has been a big hit, and I have been working on several new collections and have finally narrowed the selections down to these nine. I've been testing them and having lots of fun with them, here are some samples:

To celebrate the new collection, I am offering a 10% discount on everything in my Texture Store with the code: twisted.

Happy Shooting!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lensbaby's New Twist 60

It's time to Twist!

On Monday, Lensbaby announced a new lens and optic, the Twist 60! The lens is a 60mm f/2.5 model for full frame SLR and Mirrorless cameras, and there is also an optic version that works with the Lensbaby interchangeable Optic Swap™ System. The Twist 60 produces a large sweet spot of focus, with swirly blur and a slight vignette around the edges of the frame to isolate a subject from the background.

It's been raining since my Twist 60 arrived, but this morning was clear and sunny, I couldn't wait to try out the optic. Because this optic works best kept straight ahead, no bending, I put it in an old Lensbaby Scout lens which doesn't bend, and headed out early this morning to see what I could find to shoot. (You could use the Composer/Composer Pro and just lock the lens in a centered position.)  Spring is taking it's time coming to Maine, so I tucked a  "stunt feather" in my pocket to play with just in case I couldn't find much to shoot, as well as a macro diopter so that I could try shooting closer too. I put the optic on f/2.5 for all shots for max blur.

Here are the first images I made:

Right away I could see the wonderful swirly blur and slight vignette around the edges, and how it made my subjects pop right off the background. I also found that my most successful shots were those that included plenty of well lit background area that was a good distance away from my subject, that separation was key.

I also wanted to see what would happen when a subject was pretty much all on the same focal plane, and was happy that the swirly blur was still visible with these frosted leaves:

I found a lone Bamboo leaf that had survived the winter intact:

I also made some photos with my stunt feather:

I tried my macro diopter too, but mostly I found I preferred the images that included more background to really see all that delicious swirly blur:

I came back in the house and sent a note to my friends at Lensbaby telling them I'd fallen in love again. I can't wait to try the Twist 60 when my flowers start blooming. I highly recommend this new optic and lens!

Happy Shooting!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

See In a New Way

We are experiencing a very warm Winter here in Maine, so my usual favorite Winter subjects like frost and ice and snowy landscapes have only appeared sporadically. I've done a little flower photography inside, but really haven't been shooting much and have been feeling less than inspired. When that happens, I try to see in a new way, and the easiest way to do that is to put a Lensbaby on my camera. This morning it was 50 degrees outside, with light fog, and I love shooting with that sort of light, so I grabbed my new Lensbaby Composer Pro ll and Edge 50 optic for the first time and headed out.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Edge 50, it is a selective focus optic, but instead of the typical Lensbaby sweet spot of focus, this optic, like the Edge 80, provides a slice of focus through the image.  The aperture range is f/3.2 to f/22, and it can focus as close as 8 inches away from your subject.

I kept the aperture at f/3.2 for max blur, I really wanted to be able to simplify my backgrounds while walking around the yard, seeing what I could find to shoot. Here are a few samples:

It was a good morning, I am feeling more inspired and so happy to be outside shooting!

Happy shooting,

Friday, December 11, 2015

My Texture Collections

I love adding texture backgrounds to many of my images, and have been collecting textures for years.  You can find textures everywhere, my collection includes images of frost, rust, paint, water, wheat, plants and more and also painterly images I create from scratch. I love adding them to images that just need a little something more in the background.

This morning I finally made my textures available for purchase on my site and I am excited to share them. I have more collections coming, but the first 3 are now available for $9.99 each:

Though these textures are black and white (color collections coming soon!), I use them on both color and black and white photos:

You can find my Texture Collections on my website here. I am also working on some tutorials for working with Textures, watch for those after the Holidays.

Happy Shooting!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Camera Movement Fun

I love making images while moving my camera vertically using a slow shutter speed. Some people call this Vertical Panning, some call it Intentional Camera Movement, call it whatever you'd like, I call it fun! 

                                                                           f/9  1/5 sec.

 Deliberately moving your camera during an exposure can result in some stunning abstract photographs. I love this technique, it's a wonderful way to see your subject differently! It does take some practice and is often hit or miss, each photograph will yield such different results. It’s well worth the effort to shoot lots and lots of these. You may need to use your polarizing filter or neutral density filter to get the necessary slow shutter speeds for these images if you are shooting on a bright day.

                                                                        f/25 .5 sec
f/14 .4 sec

f/4.5 .3 sec

 f/32 .4 sec

Find a subject with lots of interest, containing pattern, line, color, shape, or contrast. Set an exposure that allows you to use a long shutter speed, I usually start with 1/30 second or slower. At the moment you press the shutter, move the camera in a straight line, up or down. Too little movement will just resemble a blurry photo and too much movement will result in loss of all detail. Experiment with movement speed and shutter speed until you find a combination that works for you.

Photographers often use this technique to photograph trees, their long lines do make them excellent subject matter for the technique. But think beyond trees... you can pan buildings and other landscapes, and also smaller scenes, just look for a frame filled with line and color. This can be a great thing to try on a very windy day when you are just not going to get subject sharpness, or with a subject that isn't in prime condition, blur is very forgiving! It's also a great way to create photos when you just aren't feeling very creative. Panning will get you out of that slump!

Irises f/9 1/6 sec

Lupine F/32 1/8 sec

 Try adding a little curve to that vertical motion for a different effect:

Tulips f/18 1/30 sec

iPhone shooters can pan too, my favorite App for this is called Slow Shutter, here are some images I  made in Charleston while panning with my phone:

Happy Shooting!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lensbaby's New Velvet 56

On January 27th, I posted this tweet to my Twitter followers:

"Photographers- Ever open one of your new photos and feel a huge surge of emotion? I had that today, what a powerful, wonderful feeling!"

     What sparked that surge of emotion? It was when I was just beginning to beta test the newly announced Velvet 56 lens for my friends at Lensbaby. I was really excited to start shooting with this lens because of it's Macro capability, but was unprepared for the amazing look of the images I created or the emotional reaction those photographs would spark. Here is one of the first images I made, right out of the camera:

The lens is fabulous, and allows me to capture the way I see flowers!  The Velvet 56 has true 1:2 Macro capability,  I can get about 5 inches away from my subjects, yet also focus to infinity. It adds an amazing  ethereal glow to the images, which is unlike any other lens I have used. Shooting wide open adds more of that diffused glow, and stopping down captures details with a very unique look and feel. The lens has a solid feel to it, and the manual focus is super smooth.

I did lots of test shots with the same subject at different apertures to get a feel 
for the effect using different F stops:

I tested this lens shooting inside at home and also on several trips:


 In Florida:


 and Santa Fe:

This lens will also be fabulous for Portraiture, I look forward to exploring more
with it in that area. So far I've only persuaded my cat to pose:

Many more images to come, all of this traveling hasn't left me 
with much image processing time!

Adding this lens to my collection makes me feel that my best work is yet to come, and for a Photographer, there is no greater gift. Thank you Lensbaby!

Happy Shooting!