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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

When surrealism meets magical - Beta testing the OMNI Reflections wands.


  • 6 min read

Lensbaby Reflection Wand | Fujicolor 200

 

 

 


“The world is full of magic things …” (W.B. Yeats)

First and foremost, I would like to thank Lensbaby USA for selecting me to be one of their beta testers for the wonderful OMNI Reflections series.

It was a real surprise. I mean, it REALLY was a surprise, as the wands were already on their way when I received the email about the arrival of a surprise package.

I actually missed my wands by a few hours, as I was on my way to Italy, and of course, they were on their way from America to the UK.
Quite a Kafka story, right? And it’s not over yet!
The wands safely reached London, but since I was staying in Tuscany for August, I needed them to be shipped to Italy.
Sounds simple, right? Well, it was not so straightforward.

I’d like to express my gratitude to my ‘guardian angel’ in London for shipping the wands to Italy and for putting up with countless phone calls with Italian customs. I wouldn’t have been able to handle all these without you.
Thank you!

The wands reached Italy in about four days (supposably next day delivery service), and if this is not bad enough, they also got stuck in customs due to new rules, regulations, restrictions caused by Brexit.

A simple 24-hour delivery service turned into a week-long journey, and there was another massive worry: would the courier find me literally in the middle of nowhere in my mountain house?
Are you biting your nails already? Are you wondering if there’s another twist in the story? The shocking surprise was that the delivery guy did find me! I almost fainted when he was knocking on my door!
There he was! With my world traveler parcel!

It truly felt like Christmas! After a five-day self-isolation (due to Covid travel regulations), I was as thrilled and excited as a five-year-old as I ripped the box open with shaky hands to see what was hiding inside.

I immediately created a still life set up using some pears, and I fell in love right away with my new equipment.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Reflections Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/500 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflections Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/400 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflections Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/640 | Canon 5D Mark III

You are not only creating reflections with these wands but also magical and surreal interpretations of your surroundings.
For instance, reflecting windows on the pavement:

 

Lensbaby Reflection Wand | Fujicolor 200

or creating a new door on the wall:

Lensbaby Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/125 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/125 | Canon 5D Mark III


"I, of course, could not avoid playing around with some still life using an ordinary beer bottle placed on the window sill at sunset."


You can also beautifully mirror your subject:

 

Lensbaby Reflection Wand| ISO | 100 | 1/125 | Canon 5D Mark III

My second still life setup was a collection of wildflowers that I picked during my morning walk.
I found an old wine bottle, and I used it as a vase.
With the OMNI reflection (gold) and I created images that are more like paintings than photographs.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/500 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/500 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/500 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/250 | Canon 5D Mark III

During this trip, I was lucky enough to visit Rome and capture the magnificent and breathtaking vision of the Colosseum.
Standing by this ancient beauty was already quite a surreal experience, and combining this with the OMNI Reflections wands was truly out of this world.
I let the pictures speak for themselves, as I believe they say more than a thousand words.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/5000 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/4000 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/6400 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/4000 | Canon 5D Mark III

I, of course, could not avoid playing around with some still life using an ordinary beer bottle placed on the window sill at sunset.
The golden hour created such gorgeous warm tones, and the wands turned this most ordinary setup into something extraordinary.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/800 | Canon 5D Mark III

I was fortunate enough to shoot some portraits, and to be honest. This was the absolute highlight of my trip.
I have the biggest passion for photographing humans, but I had very little chance to capture people since the pandemic hit.

To create these portraits, I used window light also at sunset (in the same room as I shot the bottle images).

The wands created an imaginary world around my model … The windows were facing the entrance of the Vatican Museums, and I reflected the gate onto the wall and in some of the images onto my model.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/400 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/500 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/500 | Canon 5D Mark III


While I was in Rome had the greatest opportunity to experiment with analog photography, and I, of course, took my chance to combine it with the OMNI Reflection wands.

 

I would like to say a very special thank you to the talented film/street photographer Lorenzo Battistuzzi (Instagram:@photography_by_lorenzo) for lending me his beautiful camera and his assistance patience while I was capturing the beauties of Rome on film.

It’s been eight years since I last exposed a roll of film, and it was not easy.

Thank you so much for putting up with my grumpiness (caused by the 40+ degrees of heat and the feeling of clumsiness and inadequacy).

I’m very proud of these images, and they wouldn’t have happened without his expertise and support.

Thank you.

 

After returning to the UK, I photographed my favourite perfume bottles in my little home studio.
The wands did not disappoint me in London either.
They added not only beautiful reflections but colours, textures, and depth to my images and turned my ordinary studio into a scene of a fairytale.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/400 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/125 | Canon 5D Mark III

Lensbaby OMNI Reflection Wand | ISO | 100 | 1/200 | Canon 5D Mark III

I have been counting the days for this incredible product to be finally launched so I can share these images with the world.
It has become my absolute favourite Lensbaby gear, and I cannot wait to create new artwork with these amazing magic wands.

 

Want your shots featured by Lensbaby?⁠
Be bold and shoot extraordinary! Make sure to tag your photos on IG with #Lensbaby, #ShootExtraordinary, and let us know what gear you’re using. 📸 ⁠

 


Noa Smith

 

Noa Smith is a published and exhibited fine art photographer and creative mentor, who specialises in lifestyle, portraits and weddings.

Noa has been a photographer for over twelve years working mainly with a traditional 50 mm lens.

In the past two years her photographic vision has changed entirely due to a life altering event.

She needed a new medium to be able to express how she sees and feels the world around herself.

In December 2019 she started shooting with the remarkable Lensbaby Optics.

Capturing her subjects in a perfectly imperfect way has become her main point of interest.

Being a Lensbaby photographer gives her the greatest artistic freedom.

Noa publishes her work as Noa Creations, and she is based in London and Tuscany.

 
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