Something a little different

On a recent outing to Helmsdale, I made this:

River Helmsdale: road and river

River Helmsdale: road and river

Made with a Lensbaby selective focus lens, it is one of the few times I’ve really managed to use the lens in a way that resulted in a meaningful image, rather than just something that used the Lensbaby for the sake of using it.  Photographing flowers with it is just incredibly boring; I do have some interesting portrait ideas I want to use it for, but haven’t quite organised the model for this yet.

I stood on the opposite bank looking across the river for some time.  I felt the road bridge in the top right appeared to be more of a gaping mouth into complete darkness, and the stream that came down into the main river was somehow escaping from it.  I played about with a 50mm f1.4 lens, but when I looked through the viewfinder, I didn’t feel it really communicated sufficient menace (or rather, I couldn’t visualise what post-processing I would need to do to enable that to happen).  The Lensbaby – that I almost didn’t bother taking with me on that day –  was just right.  All I’ve done to the image in post-processing is cropped it to 5×7, adjusted the levels/curves a bit, and added a vignette.

There is not much here that could be regarded as representative photography, which is just what I wanted.


3 thoughts on “Something a little different

  1. Mike Green

    I had a good look at the image prior to reading your article, Michael, and it most definitely conjured up menace and a sense of something alarming happening or about to happen. So, clearly a successful shot, given what you’ve written about it.

    I must dig out my Lensbaby sometime and try to work out a good opportunity to use it. Like you, I quickly tired of photographing flowers and such with it and producing generic images (at least, mine were!) 😉


    1. Michael Marten Post author

      Thanks for commenting, Mike.

      I think the Lensbaby is a classic piece of camera gear that can so easily become an end in and of itself; finding proper uses for it necessitates serious thinking. It is in some ways symbolic of all equipment (“look at the amazing depth of field of THIS lens!” sort of thing), but because the effect is so very dramatic, it is more noticeable.

      Equipment should be transparent, I always feel: we shouldn’t look at an image and say “ah, a Lensbaby!” – but perhaps that’s a bit unrealistic! 🙂

  2. Mike Green

    You are entirely right, of course. I should bear in mind that I /have/ the Lensbaby so that when something presents itself which /might/ work with it, I think of actually using it!

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