Photographers are taught to take pictures of their subjects from many angles. It’s especially important in nature and macro. Walk around your subject they say. Turn your subject. Look how the light falls at each location. At each angle. What happens though if your options are limited? Or you simply can’t walk around your object for one reason or another?
I came across an answer to this question without realizing I was even seeking an answer. While on an outing with my local club, last year, we had set out to shoot the sunset at a local nature preserve. Unfortunately, the skies were a dud so I decided to play around with my Omnis.
There was one tree that stood alone in the park. It wasn’t a particularly pretty tree either. The skies were dismal. It was the middle of January so it was cold. The light lacking. I didn’t let that stop me though. I put my camera on my tripod. I had carried that thing over the river and through the woods as the song goes, so I decided it was time to use it!Then I pulled out my Omnis. And I started playing!
Frequently I tell people you just have to “play” with your Lensbabies. Remember when you were a child and you played for sake of playing. Just to see what would happen “if” you tried something. When failing wasn’t frowned upon? Yeah…go all the way back to there. What would happen if you just said, “What if I tried the stretch wand” or “What if I tried the rainbow film?” If I was standing next to you at that tree in the nature preserve and you asked me that question I’d look at you and say “I don’t know. What would happen?” My answer is not meant to be flip or callous. If you looked at me long enough I’d eventually say “Just try it and find out It’s the click of the shutter. What have you got to lose?”
As a former educator I like my students to explore their ideas. I never liked giving the answers. I still don’t. I like to lead you in the direction you need to go and then let you find your way!
Lensbaby products aren’t meant to be a perfect equation. You can’t set your ISO, your shutter speed and your aperture and get the perfect image. Well you can, but if you want back to the same location the next day and stood in the same place with the same settings you wouldn’t get the same image, especially if you were using an Omni. Photography and Omnis are about light and it rarely reflects through the same way at every angle. It’s really hard to repeat the effect of the Omni once your move it. That’s the beauty of it though. Move it slightly and you have a new image or a cool variation of the original
I was recently viewing this set of images to put in a book, I do for myself every year, when I realized that these are some of the most original images I’ve done. They were truly out of my comfort zone. The more I tried each different Omni, the more Omnis I tried. I was loving the results. They were like nothing I had ever created before. Each of these images was created in camera with minimal post processing. And all with my Omnis! It wasn’t until I working through the process of culling my images for the book that I realized I had a way of changing something that I may see every day for a week and having it feel like a new image or, as in this case, making many images out of one subject in a single session.
If you want a new challenge, consider this one! Take a singe subject and make unique images in any way you choose. Call up that child inside you and just play for the sake of playing. For the sake of learning the answer to “what if?” You might just surprise yourself and find a whole new genre of photography you enjoy or a technique you want to revisit! At the very least you should have some new, creative images for your collection!
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Cathy Kuhlman is a self taught photographer who loves pushing the limits of light and focus. You’ll find her using nature as her subject, from the smallest details in her macro work through to the largest landscapes and everything in between. She loves finding ways to infuse light and emotion into her work as a way to express how she sees the world.Instagram Website