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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

Travel Photography with a Lensbaby | Kate Hailey


  • 3 min read
Many consider travel photography to be all about tack-sharp imagery but Kate Hailey is always looking to capture something more unique. Read on to discover why she uses the Trio 28 and Sol 45 to capture memorable moments a little more creatively on her adventures.
The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi with Trio 28

As photographers, we are often encouraged to ensure the sharpest focus and detail in images. This approach is necessary for certain genres, like product photography, when youre truly focused on showing details of something youre trying to sell. However many genres allow for a varied approach. Many consider travel photography as one best suited to those tack sharp images. In my travels, I find Im capturing anything from street photography to landscapes and portraits. Im always hoping to find something unique but we can also create something unique, from perspective, selective focus, exposure, and even lens selection.

Lenses from Lensbaby encourage a creative, in many cases, softer approach. From the beginning Lensbaby has proposed Seeing in a New Way, to create unique images, to capture experiences or the world around you. I suppose Ive been using Lensbaby lenses off and on for at least 6 or 7 years, from their Composer system to the earlier Spark and most recently the Trio 28 and Sol 45. As someone who was fortunate enough to grow up with creative parents, from painting to photography to music, pushing through the standard was always a welcome thought. As Ive explored my photographic world, with Lensbaby, that journey has been joyous and nostalgic.

Over the past few years, Ive owned a Trio 28. This little gem was designed for mirrorless cameras, and is quite versatile, allowing three optics in one single lens: Sweet, Twist and Velvet. If you are at all familiar with the Lensbaby line up, you know each of this are quite unique on their own, to have them in one lens has been very enjoyable. If youre not familiar with these particular options the Sweet lens tends to have a good bit a blur and a blade of sharpness. The Twist provides a bit of swirly bokeh. The Velvet gives you a nice spot of focus with soft edges.

Dubai and the Trio 28

This is a series of images, I captured in the UAE. In my time in Dubai, I was able to explore and photograph the older parts of the city and neighbourhoods, I found the people welcoming and the environment beautiful.

Dubai, along The Creek with Trio 28
Dubai, along The Creek with Trio 28
Dubai, along The Creek with Trio 28

For me, this softer focus provides a sense of nostalgia, it transports me and makes me wonder what it was like there, 20 or 30 years ago. I also find the softer tones add a really lovely effect to the overall image.

Ras Al Khaimah with Trio 28
Ras Al Khaimah with Trio 28
The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi with Trio 28
The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi with Trio 28
Joshua Tree & the Sol 45

More recently, I was able to test out a Sol 45. I took it on the road with me from Seattle to Los Angeles, the long way, via Crater Lake, Yosemite and a few other spots. On an early morning at Joshua Tree National Park, I captured these images, with the Sol.

The Sol offers more of a tilt-shift look, and with the aid of focus peaking, I was able to ensure I had some great, sharp edges, blending in with this super fun tilt-y blur.

Joshua Tree National Park with Sol 45
Joshua Tree National Park with Sol 45
Joshua Tree National Park with Sol 45

Probably one of my favourite shots captured near Joshua Tree, in Twentynine Palms, is this.

Twentynine Palms with Sol 45

There had been a little rain, then it cleared, I wasnt sure there was going to be a sunset at all, then I peeked out the window of my hotel and was wowed.

As I was putting together this post and reviewing these images, it brings back those fond memories from my time in Dubai and on that road trip to California. My love of travel is long and adding a Lensbaby or two into the mix for my images, has added another level of joy to those experiences.

Check out more of Kate's work on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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