My local camera shop (yeah! I have a local camera shop, Photo Connection of Colchester) had a ‘Demo Day’ with various Lensbaby lens and optics. We got to play with the products for an hour or so after a slideshow and talk explaining how the products work and the results people can get with them. In addition, we had the chance to borrow a lens and optic for a few days. After trying out their Composer Pro with Edge 35 and Edge 80 optics, I settled on their Double Glass Optic for the borrowing portion. This particular optic has little rings for the aperture, similar in some ways to the Lomography recreated Petzval lens. These are magnetic and you drop them down into the optic, and with my optic range from none (f2) down to f22. Lensbaby also has a ‘creative’ aperture ring set and blank rings that allow you to modify as you see fit.
If you are not familiar with Lensbaby, basically it allows you to swap optics out which have different focus characteristics. The Double Glass has a section of sharp focus surrounded by an area of soft focus. The apertures control how large this area of sharp focus is in the resulting negative (or sensor image) from small (f2) to fairly large (f22), similar to DoF. In addition, the Composer Pro allows you to change the angle of the optic in relation to the film plane, similar to a tilt-shift lens or some of the movements on a large format camera. The further you tilt the lens the greater the distortion. Coupled with the aperture, you can get some pretty funky looking photos. I, frankly, had way too much fun with this lens. I blew through 4 rolls of film in the course of maybe 2 hours of shooting. Which for me is about 4x more than normal. I decided to order a Composer Pro for my Pentax dSLR, but after getting my color film back from the lab, I am considering getting one for this Canon as well.
For most of my shots it was either f4, f5.6 or wide open at f2. I used my Canon EOS 3, which is a pretty modern film camera with high shutter speeds, and various shooting modes. For all the daylight shots I was in aperture priority letting the camera adjust the shutter speed based on the light. The night time shots were a mix of aperture priority and fully manual. I decided to use this lens for all my 52Rolls shots and this post is sort of the ‘dumping ground’ for other shots that I liked but didn’t want to fill up the 52Rolls post too much.
First my black and white shots, some of which I shot at night. I had a hard time shooting at night with this lens because in my normal mode of night shooting, I use the hyperfocus markings on my lens. A lot. Set at f8 or f11, do a seat-of-the pants exposure time and bracket. So instead I had to actually focus (horrors!) and with little light that is actually pretty tough.
First few I was purposely trying to get some bokeh with specular highlights. I had to adjust the level a bit on these, I probably should have used my handheld light meter for these shots, but oh well.
Immediately after the demo, I went to a local state park, Devil’s Hopyard. They have hiking trails, picnic areas, and a beautiful falls that I thought would be fun to shoot.
These next two shots I just changed the focal point by moving the Composer pro some. They are both kind of freaky cool IMO.