No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, I am talking about my christmas present, which I tried out last week for the first time (don’t even ask….). For Christmas I got a Lensbaby Muse. If you don’t know what a Lensbaby is, it is a special lens that you can use with an SLR camera that has a special optics in it, so that you can take photos in a way that only part of the photo are in sharp focus. An example would be a focussed middle section with everything blurred out towards the edges. The great thing with this lens is that you can have the sharp part anywhere in the frame that you want to have it, you just have to tilt the lens in that direction.
I first wanted to get a Lensbaby Composer, which is the newest version of the Lensbaby lenses and allows you to lock the lens once you have decided on a sweet spot and has a regular ring for shifting focus. But the problem was that the Composer is a lot more expensive (even though Lensbaby lenses are far less expensive than your regular DSLR lenses) and that no shop in Germany had them in stock and I needed to get it before I went back to the US the week after Christmas. So I went for the Muse, which is the classic version of their lens and a lot of fun to work with. The hardest parts are that you need to shift your sweet spot with your hands and by doing so you also focus the lens. As you can imagine, I am getting a lot of out of focus photos at the moment 😉
The Lensbaby lenses are very much manual – its not just that you have to focus the lens, but you also have to use the lens in manual mode or Aperture Priority mode, since you have to set the Aperture into the lens with your hand. You get 5 or 6 different aperture rings with the lens and can buy additional ones that you can cut to your liking (for example using a star shape instead of a circle). Depending on the aperture you will get a different level of blurring from the sides.
In addition I also got the Macro kit for it, which is a fancy way of saying that I got two close-up filters 😉 They are specifically made for the lensbaby and get screwed onto the top of the lensbaby, like they would on a normal lens. With my obsession with flowers I had to have them 🙂
Now, my first try with the lens… I decided to take the lens with me for a trip to the Botanical Garden here in Atlanta. It was very different and strange at first because I hadn’t tried the lens much before this but I soon got into it and found out how to take photos I liked. Even though I had a „What now?“ moment in there, as well: Somehow I thought I couldn’t find a focussed sweet spot with the lens, so I thought that the wheel for adjusting for your eyesight had been somehow gotten changed, which happens to me from time to time. So I started changing the wheel – until I thought about it and realized I did not have any Autofocus-able lens with me… What to do? I tied to take photos that I thought were sharp and then checked them at a zoom level on my display till I felt that the sharpness was okay in the photos. Took me a while….
Overall, I really, really liked my first experience with my new lensbaby and have, in fact, already gone out again for a second try with it – to the Georgia Aquarium. I think, I am getting addicted to it….