Welcome to Lensbaby Journeys. We have asked photographers to write about their journey with photography and with Lensbaby, however they want to approach it. Each piece will come directly from an individual photographer in their own words, accompanied by their photographs. Our hope is that these journey stories will resonate with you, inspire you, and push you forward on your own path.
What is your Lensbaby journey, Anita?
Observing nature and looking at details is my thing. I always had an analog camera just for holidays, but I bought my first digital camera in 2006. It was a Canon all-in-one with lots of zoom. Most important for me was the macro button. It was always on macro.
I have this memory of standing in a flowershop looking at a picture on the wall. It was a macro of clover leafs with drops. It was long before I starting taking macro pictures, but I remember thinking that I really wanted to make pictures like that.
I am an amateur and learn and figure things out as I go. I went through different phases. The first was discovering the macro world. This kept me going for a while. I just took pictures purely intuitively. And at home I was thrilled to see even more detail – like little bugs. And of course drops…lots of drops. I was obsessed with drops! For a long time I looked for inspiration on the page of a photographer who made lots of pictures of drops.
After a few years, when I realized what was not ok with my pictures was my camera and not me, I bought a Canon EOS 40D with a 100mm macro lens. I had to get used to the shallow depth of field and focusing properly. I still enjoyed discovering the macro world, realizing that for dragonflies with drops you had to get up real early in the morning. Until I felt I was taking pictures of the same things over and over and I felt stuck. I also had not mastered the light – some pictures I loved but I could not understand why. And I did not know how to make them consciously. Now I know it’s all about the light.
Then I stumbled upon the page of Andrea Gulickx. Wow, I wanted to create pictures like that too! The light, the colors, the bokeh, the feeling of seeing a glimpse of a world where everything is peaceful and beautiful. I had heard of the name Lensbaby but had completely the wrong idea. I just thought I needed a macro lens with a rounder aperture. I changed my camera for a full frame camera and an even better macro lens. This improved things but I still could not figure it out, until I realized I needed a Lensbaby lens.
I bought the Composer Pro with the Sweet 50 in the spring of 2015. I really struggled with it. I had a full time job and only time in the weekend. I always need to come home with something that makes me happy, so the Lensbaby was more in the bag than on the camera. I just had to spend more time with it.
In the meantime Andrea had started to give workshops. I followed one in the late Summer of 2015. It was all about finding your light. This was a missing piece in my puzzle. It took some practicing but now I finally understand how to look at light, where to go. I see now why I love one picture more than the other.
This year I lost my job. Not nice, but now I can seize the day when the light draws me outside. It really makes a difference when I can go back and try again. With more time I was also more relaxed. It makes all the difference for me. I had time to really practice with the Sweet 50 and finally made the pictures I was looking for. I love being outside, walking around and looking for small nuances in light and contrast. This in combination with the Lensbaby lenses is just pure bliss. My macro lens has been used only once last year to compare it with the Twist 60 with macro converters, but now it stays at home.
The last few months I have bought several other Lensbabies. Instead of looking for specific subjects – one of the phases I went through, but where I really got stuck because the light is more important – I now walk around and let the light guide me. This is also what more or less happened in the beginning, when I knew nothing. I walk around, watch the light and point my camera. Light, different contrasts, can come from everywhere. Light bounces from leaves and petals, it can also be far away between the trees. This, in combination with the magic of a Lensbaby lens, is just so much fun. And again it’s a surprise to watch the images at home, to see what the lens has added to the image.
After the Sweet 50 I bought the Twist 60. Now I also have the Edge 80, the fisheye, the Sweet 35 and the Velvet 56. At the moment I am playing with the bokeh to see what I can do with it. I almost always use the converters or go to macro. When I got stuck with my normal macro lens I thought about buying a wide angle lens, to go for other subjects. But I have an eye for detail and am drawn to detail. So I am so glad I can now stay with macro and still make images in a different way.
In the beginning I made pictures of things, close up. Now I want more in the frame, to tell a story or evoke an emotion. I had to learn and unlearn the last years. I have to be aware of everything in the frame – foreground and background. And to let go of the mind, stop overthinking.
Read more about Anita and see more photos on her Instagram.
Do you have a Lensbaby journey story? Share it with us for your very own feature! Email us at [email protected]