Lensbaby

Lensbaby is a special lens. I’ve had mine for… since… I don’t know! Since forever it seems; at least 10 years. I’m sure you’ll recognise some of these photos showcased below and now you may realise how I created a particular effect. Yes, Lensbaby is my secret weapon.

What is a Lensbaby? It’s a manual focus / manual aperture lens that has unique characteristics that enhance through selective focus on a topic or subject in a photo. I use the original Lensbaby Composer Pro 50mm. This lens allows me to literally bend the lens in half to shape the focus point. I first got it for my Minolta cameras. Minolta later dumped their camera division onto Sony, so my Lensbaby is for the “Minolta/Sony A” mount. I’ve since dumped Sony in favour for Canon, so instead of abandoning one of my favourite lenses, I’ve got an adapter so I can continue to use it.

I’ll admit, I’ve been using my Lensbaby less since I made the change to Canon. I hope that this blog post will remind me to come back to to this. One of my favourite projects was(is) the City of Ghosts project. The origin of it is from this one image. Here I was initially using a standard lens, but struggling with balancing the lighting, and working with a model who had limited experience. All the standard approaches was giving me very standard pedestrian results, which I was not satisfied with. So, I switched to my Lensbaby, and got this image.

Outdoor night portraits of a young Japanese lady in Osaka, taken with a selective focus lens.

What I’d really like to do is come back to my City of Ghosts project. As you can see is that the original shoot was done in Tokyo. It was fun to do. We were in the iconic Shibuya crossing. The one that features on blockbuster movies. The one that has anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people crossing at each light change. As we were shooting, the model was cold (it was early November); I was cold; my assistant was cold. There were lots of Japanese interested in what we were doing. Foreign tourists photographing my model, me, us working. But, we all wanted to get the best variety of photos possible.

The shoot started with my standard general purpose 28-75mm f2.8 lens. As you can see, the photos were nice. You can see the crossing. You can see the context. However, something was missing. It had context, but I wasn’t yet satisfied with the visual outcomes, so I switched to my Lensbaby.

What’s next? More. I’m now in Melbourne, with new people, with new scenes, and with more skills and knowledge. I hope to work with a model and develop a story. Not just show a pretty model in a scene, but to make a story for people to experience.

  • Learn more about other great lenses like this at: https://lensbaby.com/
  • If you’re a Melbourne-based model, and interested in collaborating in the City of Ghosts project, please contact us
  • If you are interested in funding and/or displaying the City of Ghosts collection, please contact us.

Workshops & Education

For the first time we’re going to start offering photography workshop courses. We’ve been asked a few times before to host beginner photography workshops, but because of time, we haven’t been able to follow through with that. Now, we can. We’re in Kyoto, and it’s the perfect place to help traveller photographers improve their game. There will be four main options:

  • Beginner Workshops
  • Intermediate Workshops
  • Mixed-levels Workshops
  • Special Skills (based on a specific theme or skill set)
  • Private tutorials

Full details are at: https://travelphotos.asia/workshops.html

Cherry blossoms in Gion Kyoto. Model: Brooke; Photographer: Andrew.
Cherry blossoms in Gion Kyoto. Model: Brooke; Photographer: Andrew.

All workshops will assume participants have a modern digital DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lens. Some Canon point and shoot cameras have easy to use Manual settings, and so these are often suitable too.

Beginner Workshops will assume that the participants have just got the camera out of the box from the store that very day (hopefully the day before). The focus will be to get participants aware of key concepts of shutter speed, aperture, iso, and white balance.

Intermediate Workshops are currently not offered. However, we will host two different special skills workshops instead.

Mixed-level Workshop Walk: Kimono portraits. Is an opportunity for everyone from post-beginner to intermediate level to learn how to use travel scenes, exotic environments, and local context to make next-level photographs. Currently, we’re organsing and searching for models who will wear a kimono and pose for us in Gion, so that there is a two-fold purpose, one to get great Japanesque photographs; and two, to learn environmental portrait photography.

Special Skills is a short introduction to a very specific genre of photography. Typically a theoretical explanation is given, basic demonstration, and guided practice is given. Currently in Kyoto, we will practice night photography.

More details and booking via: https://travelphotos.asia/workshops.html Contact us for more bookings.

Yasakusa Shrine Nishiromon Gate at night.
The main entrance to Yasaka Shrine at night