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Get inspired by our Lensbaby Ambassadors and image galleries in our Inspiration Center. Learn everything there is to know about Lensbaby and our lens effects, from the pros who use them!

© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

Exploiting angles to sensationalize the natural world


  • 4 min read

In nature, first looks have a way of fooling the eye.

If you don’t study it closely, you might miss the best angle to showcase nature’s story. Using a curled edge to make a landscape seem endless. Distorting the ends of the frame to put the focus on the real emotion of a scene.

The challenge lies in finding new opportunities to engage with the hidden shapes that surround us. All of the natural world can be your canvas if you have the right tools to twist and bend your environment.

With Lensbaby lenses, the surprising angles are always sensational. Chantal van den Dool and Michael J. Rüttger—two photographers enchanted by the essence of nature—create images with phenomenal edge. To them, the process is as important as the final product. Because crafting a slanted view that invites your audience in like never before doesn’t just happen overnight.

lensbaby-sweet-35__006 sweet 35photo by michael j. rüttger

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Like the natural world, a photographer’s journey constantly evolves.

It morphs and develops into a hybrid universe of seeing the art in every experience, and actually experiencing life. To keep things fresh, Chantal van den Dool goes to nature to discover the details that help relax and restore. The points in time when she can simply remark at the beauty around her.

chantal-vd-dool-velvet56-3 velvet 56 photo by chantal van den dool

“High goals for your photography come with high pressure,” Van den Dool says. “You have to focus on the enjoyment of taking the shot—of finding the story you’re tasked to share.”

Her routine is what keeps her rooted to growth. For Van den Dool, routine is more than just process. It’s where creativity flows, where surprise stems from both the scene and the tools you use. It helps her glimpse the lights and shapes that expose sense and style.

chantal-vd-dool-sweet50-2 sweet 50 photo by chantal van den dool

“The small moments have the power to move,” Van den Dool says. “The breath of steam from a horse in the early morning. Or the lines of a bug spotting a flower.”

Lensbaby helps Van den Dool show nature as the true nurturer. She started out with the Spark, and while she was amazed at the surprising view, the in-the-moment experience didn’t create the same feeling. But as the images went from camera to screen, she couldn’t believe the results. The way an unexpected angle can add power to an unheralded sight.

chantal-vd-dool-edge80-2 edge 80photo by chantal van den dool

Now, Van den Dool can direct the attention of her audience to where she wants it to go: to the colorful, the bright, the beyond unpredictable.

“Lensbaby reveals real hyper focus,” Van den Dool says. “Everything falls away except what’s inside the frame. The art is elevated, distinct, unique.”

Tips from the photographer:

What worked:

“Lensbaby opens up a whole new world of creativity. When I attach a lens, I watch an already creative image transform into something even more special.”

What didn’t:

“Action photos can be tough. I would love a fast-focus Lensbaby lens.”

What I learned:

“Abstractions can add to creativity. You choose where you want to focus, but everything else is fresh and surprising.”

chantal-vd-dool-velvet56-6 velvet 56 photo by chantan van den dool

Photography should never be boring.

Focused, yes. Motivated, always. But never boring.

That’s why Michael J. Rüttger sees the natural world with energetic enthusiasm, adding meaning and authenticity to an image. Whether it’s mesmerizing landscapes or sculpted portraits, Rüttger elevates contrast to try to tell nature’s story with truth and honesty.

“Photography is my second language,” Rüttger says. “A photographer should be curious, interacting with all their cameras and lenses, encountering new subjects that inspire.”

Rüttger gets his thrills from exploring, and he tries to make every experience that much more exhilarating by spotting the soul of an image. It’s the process of shaping and blurring. It’s the fascination of finding the subtle, stirring emotions in a curved valley or a luscious hillside.

lensbaby-sweet-35__003 sweet 35 photo by michael j. rüttger

The more he can control the viewer’s eye, the better. All in the effort to help them feel comfortable and confident in the what they see.

When Rüttger first saw what Lensbaby lenses could do, he had to get his hands on whatever created that distortion. While mastery didn’t come instantly, he found inspiration in uncovering and manipulating angles to boost intrigue. And he began to spot the path to defining his own style. With Lensbaby, there’s always something next. And Rüttger can’t wait to continue to test limits.

lensbaby-sweet-35__002 sweet 35photo by michael j. rüttger

“There’s simply no comparison for what Lensbaby can do,” Rüttger says. “Connecting quality and distortion in one frame. It’s like the world was meant to be viewed this way.”

Tips from the photographer:

What worked:

“Variety is covered. Lensbaby lenses create eye-catching effects for a wide range of shots. They’re very versatile, and even perform well in poor lighting.”

What didn’t:

“At first, it doesn’t seem like the Edge lenses’ slice of focus would be the easiest to work with. But with a little practice, it’s like it becomes your best friend.”

What I learned:

“Great lenses motivate you to be very good. So don’t try to force too many things. Let the scene tell the story.”

lensbaby-sweet-35__007 sweet 35 photo by michael j. rüttger
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