It’s been many years since I bought my first Lensbaby lens. I had the Control Freak and then the first Composer. I always had a bit of trouble with the focus, but did enjoy using the lenses and optics. It was quirky and it was fun. But then something happened, I went back to film photography. My Lensbaby lenses were put away along with my Canon 5DMkII. Soon I was carrying a Hasselblad 500Cm and pinhole cameras most of the time. My digital world was collecting dust.
Move forward about 8 years. I felt it was time to start cleaning out and maybe selling some gear I don’t use any more. When I got to my Lensbaby drawer I pulled everything out and thought “I should use these again or sell them”. By now my go-to digital camera was a Sony a6500 as I was tired of the bulk and weight of my full frame camera and lenses. I had taken my complete Canon set up, two pinhole cameras, my Hasselblad with lenses and a Holga to England in 2011. I had signed up for a one-on-one photography workshop in Wales. All my gear was in a huge back pack. I swore if I leaned over too far that I would fall over from the weight and never get up. ‘Minding the Gap’ with all that weight on me was a challenge. My workshop leader, who was great by the way, offered to carry my bag. I assumed we were about the same age. I told him that if I was silly enough to bring all the gear then I had to carry it too. My one day workshop turned into two and it was a great time.
During that trip I took my Hasselblad to Lacock Abbey where Henry Fox Talbot came up with the invention on how to ‘fix’ a photo. It was the first negative, paper, but still it could be reproduced. I walked around the Abbey with my Hasselblad taking photos from the same spots he did and then came home and printed using his salt-paper technique. I was in love with film and medium format. That became my main focus of photography since that time.
After deciding to sell my Lensbaby lenses I thought I should first check out their website. I was hooked on film, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a peek. I had not looked at it in years. Well, that decided it. I was not only keeping my old Lensbaby gear I was going to add to it. I started with a Velvet 85. Then the following week it was a Composer pro II with Edge 50. I walked round the neighborhood and our nature park…..I was hooked. I became obsessed. My interest in digital photography was renewed. I have since added a few more Lensbaby lenses to my bag and with the new Burnside 35 being launched this past week….who knows. One of my favorites is the Trio because it has three optics: Sweet, Twist and Velvet all in 28mm.
I will never give up my film photography…never. But I love having the option of digital but with a twist(no pun intended). I was tired of seeing so many people post over-saturated and over photoshopped digital images on Flickr. I am more of a ‘out of the camera’ person. I don’t want to spend hours in front of a computer doing edits. I want to be out making images. Lensbaby lets me do that.
I have found the people working at Lensbaby, here in Portland where I live, to be most helpful. They answer emails quickly and helped me decide which lens would be good for my type of work. I have been buying directly from them. They will ship, but I’ve just gone to their headquarters and if I call ahead my lens is waiting for me when I get there.
On the Lensbaby website you will find many tutorials and a gallery of images using the lenses. There are also a couple of Facebook pages dedicated to their lenses: Lensbaby Unplugged and Lensbaby Artistry. Take a look.
I will post more photos as I become more comfortable with using the lenses and optics. It’s going to be a fun year.
(all photos were straight out of the camera. taken with a Sony a6500)