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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

A Walk with Lensbaby

  • 4 min read

It was one of those days when being home with my thoughts wasn't doing me any good. Instead of allowing the ruminating to set the day's mood, I grabbed my camera bag and got in the car. Asking myself where I needed to be, I headed toward the southeast end of our little island. I parked outside Blakely Harbor trail and began to walk.



Alone on the trail with the hushed sounds of the occasional car driving past, I began to notice the light and how it falls on the leaves and spills out onto the earth in speckled patterns. Or how it casts tiny spotlights onto bark and rock. A shallow pond to my right reflects back a dark copse of cedars that reminds me of winter. I continued on to a wooden shelter with tiny picture windows at various eye levels.


As I peered through the openings onto Blakely Harbor's glassy, rippled surface, I at once felt my breath lighten. The calm I needed began to wash over me in soft waves, slowly coaxing me back to the present and out of my head. Again, I'm reminded that nature is therapy.


Nearby I followed through a small opening to the water's edge and was greeted by seaweed crunching under my shoes and the sounds of the tide lapping back in. I took instant notice of the brilliant display of curved lines on the water. Crouching down low with my Lensbaby Sweet 80, I began to photograph the sight, tilting to find that sweet spot of focus. My Omni wands were perfect companions, helping to bring that calm and dreamy feeling into the image.



In the distance, the old sawmill land's vestige stands proud, cloaked in graffiti, a much-loved sentry of the harbor. A backdrop of tall evergreens supports the structure. With the Sweet 80 still attached, I decided that an in-camera double exposure would be an interesting way to capture the scene, bringing the evergreens closer into the composition.



If you are lucky to have the option for the multiple exposure setting on your camera and don't utilize this already, you are missing out! What can be more inspiring than experimenting with the tools at hand? Of course, we could use Photoshop or similar to create post-process double or multiple exposures, but why spend all that time in front of a screen when we can spend more time with our camera and creative lenses? But I digress!


"My Omni wands were perfect companions, helping to bring that calm and dreamy feeling into the image."


The incoming tide directed me back to the trail, where I encountered a group of young schoolchildren being led back out of the park. Their squeals and chatter about the day's low tide creature encounters rang through the trees.



I made my way to a benched alcove on the water's edge. Now angled toward the shelter and another expanse of trees, autumn peered out at me and batted her lashes. The season has arrived with its shifting colors and chilled mornings, though still in its early stages. I reminded myself to come back soon before the leaves are offered back to the earth.



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Mandi May

“There are many ways to be free. One of them is to transcend reality by imagination, as I try to do.” ― Anaïs Nin

Mandi is a native Long Islander who made the pacific northwest her home for the past 15 years. She found her muse in her natural surroundings and weaves this inspiration into her creative work. Lensbaby lenses have played an important part in her creative toolkit for over a decade. Through her lens she approaches her environment with curiosity and unique angles, producing images that often have impressionistic and otherworldly qualities that evoke a sense of dreaming.

Mandi received her BFA in Photography from L.I.U. Southampton NY in 2004. Since then she has held photography assistant positions, photographed artworks for reproductions, printed giclées for both local artists and art publishers, licensed her photography, and continues to exhibit her work locally. She currently resides near Seattle with her husband and two boys.






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