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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

Mirror Passenger


  • 7 min read

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand | ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

 

 


"Just like always, still I want some more,
mirror sideways, who cares what's behind...."
{mjk + Deftones *passenger}

A guide to creating beautiful, in-camera painterly portraits with the Omni gold mirror wand.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand | ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

Concentrating through the viewfinder, I manually focus on my subject, adjust the frame, then introduce the gold mirror wand into the front of the frame. Mirror sideways, I bring in what's behind. Snap, slowly adjust the mirror, snap. Snap. Snap snap snap snap. A painting is created in-camera. Not in post with editing and oil paint filters ( although you can add those later if desired ). Sounds difficult or specialist, but I promise you it's not, and I'm going to give you a few tips and walk you through how I create my painterly images and try to keep it simple and easy.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand| ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

You may be asking yourself how this OMNI is different from the others in the OMNI lineup on offer. Well, in my experience, the other OMNI focus on flare, color, and bending reality. This OMNI focuses instead on combining or reflecting two different but complementary realities into one image.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand| ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

Firstly let's consider focal length. Anything over 50mm will garner the best results. Unlike other Omni, which follow the golden rules for prism photography, I found I got the best and most desirable results when shooting using the gold/silver wand combo and the Lensbaby Edge80 Optic paired with the Composer Pro ll. Then I got even better results when used on my crop sensor x1.6 = 128mm effective. Manual focus is best because it's easier to shoot when you've 'set and forget' the focus instead of trying to find focus through AF (autofocus), then dropping it or losing it while manipulating the wand.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand| ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

If you have other OMNI, you may be used to using the OMNI wand ring mount to hold your wand/s for you while you shoot, but I highly encourage and suggest you try handholding them instead. Yeah, that may sound daunting or 'scary,' but in reality, it gives you more control and better pictures and requires less dexterity than one would think.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand | ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor


"...focus on breaking the rules and creating art..."


Subjects and location are vital to creating great art or visually appealing images to the eye. Subjects, no matter what they are, should be isolated from their surroundings. I mean not 'lost' in the scenery or frame because they will be completely lost once you introduce the reaction into the image. The location is more key and important than one would think, as you need three factors and little easy math.


1- space for your subject,
2- foreground/background,
3- and the elements you will be bringing into the frame to create the painterly effect.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand| ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

Take a few test shots before introducing the wand. Make sure you are shooting wide open!!!! This is so important as shooting wide open seamlessly removes the wand's edges from the images and blurs it all in together.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand | ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

Now to touch on the math a bit and try to make it easy to understand, so please bear with me while I try to explain easily. Make sure you are the same distance from your subject as you are from the wand's subject, aka the reflection you are introducing to the image. This ensures you have nailed both in focus. Place the wands subject at 45 degrees from your shooting position. It is easier to use the mirror to bring in the reflections subject from that position. So, in summary, subject at 12oclock and mirror subject at 12:15 or 12:45 and yourself at the points where the clock's hands rotate from. So you have made an L shape with 3 points. The subject, you, and the wands subject.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand| ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

Once ready, use continuous, or burst shooting depending on your camera's settings and start firing away as you play with the wand as close to or even touching the lens front ( but not the lens glass, haha ) as possible. Play with angles, poses, subject, light, focal points, and wands till you start to get images you like. Time of day doesn't really matter because you will get amazing results no matter which time of day you choose to shoot. Golden hour, of course, brings such warmth, glow, haze and flare when using the gold side of the wand. The gold side also gives me the chance and control to set bokeh on fire.

Overcast days bring in soft diffusion and are my fav days to get out and create for many reasons. Once ready, use continuous, or burst shooting depending on your camera's settings and start firing away as you play with the wand as close to or even touching the lens front ( but not the lens glass, haha ) as possible. Play with angles, poses, subject, light, focal points, and wands till you start to get images you like. Time of day doesn't really matter because you will get amazing results no matter which time of day you choose to shoot. Golden hour, of course, brings such warmth, glow, haze and flare when using the gold side of the wand. The gold side also gives me the chance and control to set bokeh on fire. Overcast days bring in soft diffusion and are my fav days to get out and create for many reasons.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand| ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

The soft diffusion of light gives me complete control over highlights, shadows, and reflections. Bright sunny days bring in strong reflections and some magnificent flares, and strong blown-out haze. It all depends on what you are shooting and the subjects, mood, etc., and what you want your images to look like, and the weather that day. There is no real difference between the two sides of the wand apart from the gold warmth that can be added in by using the gold side. The silver mirror side is amazing at reflecting your subject creating an alternate reality/mirror image that can make your images stand out from the crowd.

This technique, although it may sound simple enough in theory, in practice can be a bit harder than one might think if not shot against the right backdrop/background to stop the reflection from being lost in the frame and blending in. Indoors with singular lighting is best for this type of shot and can create the most stunning clean, artistic images of your subject.


Secondary subjects or subjects for the wands reflection are your biggest challenge. Finding things that can be bought into the frame without detracting attention from your main subject and complementing them and the frame/scene can be difficult.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand | ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

Consider secondary subjects for the wand such as:
- foliage
-branches ( but be careful and mindful of branch placement over the image as you don't want branches sticking out of heads and weird lines that distract ).
-flowers
-haze
-clouds
-flares
-roads
-smoky bokeh
-trees
-flame bokeh with the gold side of the wand
-other people
- color out of focus
-ferns
-textures out of focus
-animals
-buildings
-the sun
-flares
-things relevant to the scene or emotion you're trying to capture.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand | ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

It's an endless list, but one that your location will limit. Be mindful that the wand will bring in anything behind/beside you, so it pays to set up and keep your work area clear of any distractions.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand| ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

Don't be afraid to try macro with that longer focal length. It's not any harder or easier to get the same results when shooting macro. The best tip I have for shooting macro is a simple one. Set your focus to where you want the frame size to be, then use your body to move forwards and backward to get that focus sharp on your subject, essentially using yourself as a focusing ring.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand | ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

You may be thinking, "well, this is all well and good for hobby photography, but what about using it at a client session"? Well, ABSOLUTELY! Yes, whip it out at client sessions and have a play. The options are endless as to what you can achieve with this small piece of kit. I know I will be whipping it out at future client shoots to help my images stand out from the crowd, provide them uniquely, and help me create painterly in-camera images.

 

Lensbaby OMNI Silver and Gold Wand| ISO | 100 | EOS 1000d xs Rebel Crop Sensor

The final piece of advice with this OMNI and photography in general.... don't get hung up on sticking to the rules of photography as you will not have a good time, and if you're like me, you'll just get angry and give up, haha. Instead, set yourself a simple task... focus on breaking the rules and creating art, NOT a photograph. Hopefully, it should flow from there and feed it positivity when reviewing your images, so it does.
Mirror sideways...

 

 

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Kelly Gladwin

Kelly is a fine art photographer and wedding photographer for Chick-Inn Ma'am Photography from Invercargill in the south island of New Zealand.

She can be found shooting the night sky or Aurora Australis during the dark hours or shooting her interests (animal / pet / nature etc.) during the daylight and creating art or doing client work. Lending more to the artistic side of shooting, Kelly has won several awards and acclaim for her images.


 
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