Shutterings and Mutterings - photography blog

Ladybird poppies photographed by Beowulf Mayfield using a Lensbaby Muse

Impressionist style with a Lensbaby

A gift of tickets to the Hampton Court Flower Show promised the opportunity to see some interesting flowers, albeit in rather crowded conditions. The weather forecast was not brilliant and it seemed wisest to look out for detail, ideally with splashes of colour.

There are already plenty of perfectly-focused, perfectly-exposed floral pictures in the world, so I try to take a different approach.

I captured the picture above using a Lensbaby Muse - a wonderful creative device that has the optic mounted on a spring. Focus is achieved by gently squeezing on the lens rim and exposure has to be determined through a combination of a careful eye on the light meter, frequent checks on results and a little patience.

My Lensbaby also happens to have a plastic optic, which gives images a very soft, impressionistic look. Glass optics are available and these can provide a sharper “sweet spot”. One day I’ll get one.

The aperture has to be set manually by placing a ring over the optic - the lenses come with a set of standard round apertures. I chose to use the f2.8 ring because I wanted to blur out stray background distractions and use a relatively fast shutter speed.

The Lensbaby Muse takes a while to get used to and requires more than a little patience. However, when I’m looking for an opportunity to capture something a little different, it’s one of my favourite lenses.

You can see more by visiting my Flickr photo stream.