Learning the Lensbaby in Atlanta

A photo of a Atlanta's Jackson Street Bridge during a gorgeous sunset, taken with Lensbaby Sweet 50Learning the Lensbaby Sweet 50

I picked up a used Lensbaby Sweet 50 recently. I love getting used photo equipment from KEH. I've been able to get great quality equipment at much less than I'd spend on new stuff. 

The more I learn photography, the more interested I am in pushing the limits of the camera and trying new techniques. 

I'm always reaching for a painterly feel in my photographs - something along the lines of  Impressionism. That's why I find the Lensbaby appealing. It adds an Impressionist quality to the photos. 

First, though, I have to learn how to use it!

It's easier said than done. 

When it comes to photography, I've always felt like all I have to do is work hard enough and I can master whatever type of photo I want to get. Ha! 

So many things seem like they should be easy but when you get right down to it, they're not.

Lensbaby is going to take me a while. Right now, I'm a little frustrated with it.

What's a Lensbaby? It's a manual-focus lens that has a tilt-shift component. 

Here's a photo of the Lensbaby Sweet 50 on my Nikon camera:

Lensbaby Sweet 50 on Nikon D610

The front part of the lens tilts and moves. The idea is you point it at the part of the composition that you want in focus. You then manually focus that spot. The rest of the photo has a swirly, blurry, Impressionist look.

The aperture opens to 2.5 which also helps with the bokeh.

Because it's a manual lens, it doesn't talk to the camera, so I can't see what settings I used in Lightroom.

If I'm going to keep track of the settings, I'll have to write them down for each photo. I don't see myself doing that. When I'm out shooting, I get caught up in what I'm doing and I shoot a lot. 

In the cover photo for this post, I tilted the lens toward the Westin (the circular building). The 191 Peachtree Towers next to the Westin are also mostly in focus.

As you can see, the rest of the photo has lots of blur and bokeh. I'm pretty sure I had the aperture wide open and was using a fast shutter speed so I could capture all the colors in the sky. The sunset was amazing. 

I love it.

But I'm frustrated right now learning to get the part I want in focus to actually be in focus. 

The first couple of SLR cameras I owned were manual focus only. I'm no stranger to focusing without autofocus. 

It's the tilting part of the lens that makes the Lensbaby so hard to focus. It's not always easy to get the focus point where you want it to be.  

I have a lot of ideas for how I'd like to use the Lensbaby. I've got a lot of practice ahead of me - which I love.

Suntrust Plaza in Atlanta taken with Lensbaby Sweet 50

It's fun trying new things and working on improving my photo skills. I love adding new techniques to my knowledge base. I'm one of those odd people who'd be happy if I could just go to school my whole life! 

I do the next best thing - I take lots of photo classes and tutorials online in my spare time. 

Here's to learning new things! What's something new you'd like to learn?

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and a great weekend!

Lots of rain in the forecast for Atlanta this week - we'll see if it pans out...

See you between the raindrops!