Lensbaby – Trying it out

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus – 1/40, F/4 and ISO 400

I have had a Christmas Cactus for approximately 2 years since I bought it on sale at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens Store. I also bought an orchid. The Cactus was in bloom as was the orchid. Once I brought them home they both lost their flowers and have struggled to bloom again. Well, all that changed the other day. My Christmas cactus has gone wild with blossoms. It has put forth a profusion of hot pink blooms and it is screaming for me to photograph it.

Cactus from Above
Cactus from Above

Since I am learning the Lensbaby, I thought that would be a new and interesting way to photograph the cactus.  The Lensbaby is a lens which has a small bellows that allows the lens to bend. The particular type of Lensbaby I have is the Composer Pro and since I have no other means of comparison, it seems to do what it is reputed to do. The lens has the ability to change the f/stop or aperture just as you would an ordinary lens. The stops go from f/1.2 to f/16; f/1.2 would be a wide opening and the f/16 would be the smallest opening. With the wide open aperture, your image with a lensbaby would have a small point of sharp focus with the rest of the image going blurry gradually. With the narrow or small opening, your image would have the most focus throughout with blur on the edges.

Cosmos Flower
Cosmos Flower – 1/4000 s, f/4, ISO 320
Maple Leaf
Maple Leaf – 1/8000 s, F/4, ISO 320

In order for an image to appeal to the viewer, it is important to have your focus point in focus. And if you are photographing a flower, you need to choose the focus of your subject and make sure that is in sharp focus. Of course, it is possible to break that rule and there are probably instances where lots of blur works as in action shots.

Bob Lost in Thought
Bob Lost in Thought – 1/60 s, F/4, ISO 1250

If you are shooting people with your Lensbaby, you need to make sure that the eyes are in focus and let the rest of the image go to blur. The viewer seeks this point of focus in an image.

So, as I practice with the LB I notice that if you bend the lens, it gets more and more difficult to find the point of focus, especially if you have the aperture set to wide open, such as f/1.2. A good compromise is to set your aperture at f/4 or f/5.6. This gives you a little leeway to find the area of focus in your image.

Daisy Looking Adorable – 1/1250 s, F/4, ISO 4000

A few more images using the Lensbaby and then I’ll turn it over to you to go try it out. Let me know what you think.