Lensbaby Unplugged Member of the Week
Interview with Cheryl Ritzel
Q: What is your favorite shoot you've ever done?
A: My favorite place to take photographs is Gibbs Gardens. I visit there several times a year. My other favorite shoots have been during my travels, in particular, I was lucky enough to go to New Zealand which was spectacular around every bend of the road!
Q: What inspires you to reach for your camera? How often do you reach for your camera?
Q: What are your favorite Lensbaby Lenses to use in your session?
A: Every new lens I get from Lensbaby becomes my new favorite. I started with a Spark 2.0, then I got the full Omni creative system, and then I got a Composer Pro set with several optics and macro diopter filters. Since I love macro, the Composer Pro with the Sweet 80 + macro has been my go-to lens.
Q: How did you hear about Lensbaby, and what encouraged you to purchase a LB lens?
A: I first heard about Lensbaby maybe a decade ago? I needed inexpensive gear for a "fun photography" week-long workshop with teenagers and bought two of the original Spark lenses and they were a big hit. Later I thought I would buy one for myself and that is how I got my first personal use Lensbaby - the Spark 2.0. Since then each purchase has been inspired by viewing sample images online, the Lensbaby Shoot Extraordinary classes, and the desire to expand my creativity.
Q:What was your journey to becoming a photographer like?
A: A lot of trial and error! I am constantly trying new things and exploring ways to be more creative personally and with my students. There have been many fails. Photography brings me so much joy, that the trials and difficulties don't seem like much to overcome. I have loved photography since I got my first camera at age 7, so there is too much "journey" to document here, but in a nutshell it is like climbing a mountain, sometimes you have to reassess the path you are on to see which way to go or you have to go down a bit or climb over some boulders before you go back up!
Q: What is your favorite subject to photograph and how would you describe your photography style?
A: My favorite subject is flowers or anything macro. I don't know how I would describe my style. I like soft and delicate in the focus or depth of field, but not an airy edit. I prefer darker or moody tones like dark greens, purples, and I love a dark vignette or background too.
Q: What do you love the most about photography?
A: My camera is a mini time machine that captures one moment experienced by me that will never repeat for me or for anyone else. Ever. In all of time. That is amazing! Then I get to share those moments with others. And with my students I get to show them this same joy as they learn about their cameras and composition.
Q: What helps you when you're struggling with a creative block?
A: I just pick something random and take photos. I have photos of all kinds of things - weeds, spoons, figurines, toys, books, and I just try to get creative with it.
Q: Would you consider yourself an adventurous photographer, or do you tend to stay in your comfort zone?
A: Adventurous, but within a small radius of home. I love trying new things but I don't travel much. My adventures to try new things or techniques have to be things I can do in my area - so no underwater shark photos for me.
Q: What else would you like to see from Lensbaby in the future?
A: I have no suggestions or ideas, but I love what you offer so far!