Welcome to the Lensbaby Artisttry Newsletter, where you'll find Lensbaby tips, tricks tutorials and other delights. Created by the Lensbaby Duo: Doug and Roxanne Sahlin.
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November 25, 2013

Welcome to the second edition of the Lensbaby Artistry Newsletter, your source for Lensbaby tips and tricks, industry news, photographer profiles and much more. In this edition:

Table of Contents

Editor's Corner

We're getting close to the holiday season, a time of the year to spend with friends and family, and to be grateful for the many gifts we all have. I am thankful for the gift of our Lensbaby Artistry page, and am grateful for the gift of creativity, which I'm sure was instilled in me at an early age from my lovely mother.

I wish each and every one of you a joyous holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate. Thanks for being a part of our Lensbaby community, and thanks for subscribing to our newsletter. I hope you enjoy it. If you have any ideas for upcoming newsletters, or if you have a Lensbaby question you'd like answered, please feel free to contact us: Contact Doug and Roxanne

One Woman's Opinion

The power of imagination makes us infinite. ~ John Muir
My Lensbaby is the key that opens up a world filled with creativity that sets my imagination free. Where does your Lensbaby lead you?

Tip #1: Lensbaby Rainbow Flare

You can add an artistic rainbow flare to your Lensbaby images by pointing your camera toward a strong light source like the sun, making sure that the light source is not in the frame. As you can see in the following image, the light source is from a window to the right of the apples. When you get the light source in just the right position, you'll be able to see the flare in your viewfinder. This technique works with most Lensbaby optics, but is more pronounced when using the Plastic, Single Glass, Soft Focus and Sweet 35 optics.

Lensbaby Radio

Lensbaby has created a very cool podcast called Lensbaby Radio. You can subscribe to the podcast for free through iTunes by clicking this link: Lensbaby Radio Lensbaby Radio is hosted by Scott Sheppard. As of this writing there are four episodes featuring interviews with:
  1. Lensbaby Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founcer Craig Strong
  2. Lensbaby Photographer and Instructor Kevin Kubota
  3. Lensbaby Photographer and instructor Kathleen Clemons
  4. Lensbaby Photographer and author Corey Hilz
New episodes have been taped. If you subscribe through iTunes, you'll be notified when new episodes are posted. This is yet another way in which Lensbaby is supporting photographers who have purchased their products.

Think Tank Black Friday Specials

Our friends at Think Tank Photo just announced an exciting Black Friday special that actually starts now!  With this special offer you get a $50 rebate on their renowned rolling camera bags.  And, should you order a roller plus one of their popular Urban Disguise shoulder bags you are eligible to receive a $100 rebate!  And, to top this off you’ll receive free shipping not only on these items but on all Think Tank Photo gear!
To partake of this special holiday offer simply click on the image, and you’ll be directed to Think Tank’s roller page.  There you will find a link you can click to download the rebate form.  Really easy!
Think Tank’s rolling camera bags are renowned for being the best made, most innovative rollers available.  Each comes with easily configurable inserts, innovative security measures, and Think Tank’s “No Rhetoric Warranty.”  The rollers are sized so as to make it easier for you to roll your valuable photography gear onto airlines as carry on, as opposed to having to check it. Think Tank Black Friday Special

Lensbaby Artistry October Images of the Month

We've had some wonderful images posted in our Lensbaby Artistry Challenge galleries. I'm sure it's getting to the point where Craig Strong is having a difficult time choosing the best images and runner ups. Here are Craig Strong's picks from the October Lensbaby Artist Challenge Gallery.

Best Image of the Month: Sherri Davis


© Sherri Davis
Theme: Motion
Title: Childhood Memories of the Fair
Composer Sweet 35 Optic

Craig's Comments: Sherri's image captures an iconic vision of a fleeting childhood moment. The sense of motion speaks of memories that move farther and farther away until they reside in emotions of long ago. This image gives a framework by which those emotions may revisit our soul.


1st Runner-Up: Anita Michniewska


© Anita Michniewska
Theme: Brilliant
Title: Splendid Life
Optic: Lensbaby Composer with Double Glass
Aperature: f/2.8

Craig's Comments:  Anita's "brilliant" image is cleverly designed & composed. The color palette of the model and the background blend seamlessly - and therefore, a Lensbaby is almost necessary to make this image work and pull the model's face out from the background.

2nd Runner-up Adam Sparks


© Adam Sparks
Theme: Limited
Title: The Traveler
Lensbaby Muse with Plaastic Optic f/5.6

Craig's Comments: Adam's haunting image of a lone elephant crossing a rutted road in a crater in Tanzania speaks to the limited theme. How many craters with elephants walking in ruts are there on this planet? Not many I would guess. Love the composition and framing (between the ruts) of this gentle giant.

For those of you who are new to the group, our sponsors give gifts to the photographers who created the top three images for the month that were posted in the challenge gallery. This month's gifts are as follows:
Sherri Davis
  • Lensbaby Fisheye optic from Lensbaby
  • Perfect Photo Suite 7 from OnOne Software
Anita Michniewska
  • Creative Aperure Kit, Cleaning Cloth and Cleaning Pen from Lensbaby
  • Topaz ReMask from Topaz Labs
  • Canon EOS 5D MKII Cheat Sheet from Photo Bert
Adam Sparks
  • Creative Aperure Kit, Cleaning Cloth and Cleaning Pen from Lensbaby
  • Nikon D800/D800EI Cheat Sheet from Photo Bert
The challenge continues until March 2014. You'll find the challenge rules posted to the top of our Lensbaby Artistry Facebook Group.

Creating HDR Lensbaby Images

Doug experiments with different applications and techniques to create and process his Lensbaby images. To learn how Doug uses bracketed exposures and HDR Efex Pro 2 to create Lensbaby images with a high dynamic range, click the following link: Creating HDR Lensbaby Images

Photographer Profile

Robin Cohen

Originally from New, York and now living in Los Angeles, California, Robin works full time as a psychologist, psychoanalyst and hypnotherapist. She explores how people express unconscious life in daily experiences and helps them understand how to deepen meaningfulness in their lives.  She finds that this dovetails very much with her photography obsession... her work is often labeled as dreamy as she often tries to explore what is being communicated between the lines in a landscape or relationship, rather than what is directly seen. Robin says she has been a serious photographer for about 3 years. She works on her photography daily either shooting, processing, or learning.

Lensbaby Artistry: What or who influenced your interest in photography?
Robin: This is going to be a really strange answer.  The thing that most got me immersed in photography is the Google + community.  Before Google+, briefly in the 80s I created photos infrequently with a film camera, and then later started taking some more photos with my smartphone.  When G+ started, I started using it with a friend of mine.  No other friends were on it (from the outside, regular world of LA), and I did meet some interesting people who were interested in the same things I was, such as psychology, culture, social justice, technology, etc. (notice we were not interested in photography)...  I was ready to stop doing G+ because there didn't seem to be much going on, but I liked the little group of people who I knew.  I started just randomly posting some photos I took here and there... I liked to fool around creatively with the smartphone photo apps so they were pretty wild and interesting, and another person in the group started posting her art.   People had great reactions to my photos.  Then I noticed that there were these "Daily Photography Themes" so I started posting there.  I saw some amazing work and I started wanting to figure out how these other people did things.  I also started getting a lot of great feedback, and started having relationships with other photographers and absorbing a tremendous amount of knowledge about photography.  I'm very much a "monkey-see, monkey-do" type of person, so if I saw some photo that I was wowed by, I would try to figure out what the photographer did to make it that way and start practicing and improving my skills. 
Lensbaby Artistry: What make and model is the first camera you owned? 
Robin: Excluding that film camera I had in the 80s, the first camera I had during my true phase of becoming a photographer was an Olympus XZ-1 which I just got 3 or so years ago... This camera has all of the DSLR like settings, however it doesn't let you change lenses.  This camera, I think, was very instrumental in getting my style started because it wasn't really a great camera and I wasn't a great photographer, so in order to correct and enhance what was lacking in my photographs, I had to start playing around with post processing.  I used the processing to create pretty surreal and abstracted images, so I became creative in order to make a much better photo.
Lensbaby Artistry: What camera do you use now?
Robin: I use a SONY NEX 5N.  I love this camera... I wanted something that was a DSLR or DSLR-like, but that I could throw in my purse and take everywhere if I wanted.  I also needed something that wasn't that heavy and wouldn't strain my neck if I wore it for a long time. 
Lensbaby Artistry: Which Lensbaby optic is your favorite?
Robin: I do like the Soft Focus optic a lot... it is great at the beach/ocean... it captures beautifully all the refracted and reflected light.  I also use the Sweet 35 a lot since I like the ability to change the aperture and I like the gentleness that it is capable of.  I have a history of really enjoying the Single Glass optic a lot as well.
Lensbaby Artistry: What subject matter is your favorite?
Robin: Yikes!  I like shooting so many things.  I think I like doing beach photos a lot… it has everything I love.  There are the reflections that are wonderful, the wonderful play of light on the waves, and then the surrounding landscape..  
Lensbaby Artistry: What lenses do you use other than the Lensbaby?
Robin: I use the kit lens that came with my SONY.  I also use my daughter's CANON 50 mm lens because it has such a great DOF.
Lensbaby Artistry: How did you arrive at your style of Lensbaby photography?
Robin:  Another strange answer... I arrived at my Lensbaby style before I had a Lensbaby!  As part of my desire to create a sense of dreaminess and unreality to my photos, I often added blur to my photos.  I used Topaz Labs Lens Effects to create areas of motion blur and/or bokeh.  I loved doing this.  At some point on G+, I noticed some photos with that wonderful type of effect and I discovered they were created with Lensbaby lenses.  The Lensbaby optics created in a much more natural and organic form the effect I had been working towards through post processing.  I have been in heaven ever since I started using the Lensbaby!  In face, the other day I realized that  I never use Topaz Lens effects anymore!!
Lensbaby Artistry: What type of atmospheric conditions or time of year do you prefer to photograph in?
Robinn: FOG FOG FOG! It adds such an amazingly dreamy and dynamic element to any photo...
Lensbaby Artistry: What advice do you have for Lensbaby photographers.
Robin: My advice to other Lensbaby photographers is just to experiment and have fun.  I think that sometimes when we are successful and happy with a certain type of shot, we lose interest in trying out new things because it becomes aggravating or discouraging to look at photos that we created that are crappy, when we know we can create photos that are pleasing.  I have always been a person that takes way too many photos on each outing or project so I try as many things as possible.  I also try out a lot of different things in post.  It is all so much fun!  I think I have been lucky to stumble upon this and teach myself photography.  I never have had the idea that I know what I am doing, and I think that is good because it allows me just to experiment with everything.  So the best advice I have is to immerse yourself in your "beginner's mind" even if you are an old pro... allow all of your knowledge to stay in the background, guiding you unconsciously, and just let your novice self approach each shot, viewing it with a new eye.  Another piece of advice I have is that the things that you photograph don't have to look like what they are, i.e. a sunset or a tree.  You job is to make it look the way you want it to look, the way it makes you happy.  Finally, this last piece of advice is the hardest one that I have following: don't look to others for approval.... I find this very difficult especially when I am posting photos on G+ or Facebook or Flickr.  Sometimes what I am developing for myself is just not appreciated by other people.  

You can view Robin's photography at the following websites:
Robin Cohen's Smugmug Gallery
Robin Cohen's Creative Mind Explorattions

Photographer Profile

Dustin Main

Dustin Main is a photographer and entrepreneur by trade originally from Saskatoon, Canada. Currently he is in rural Myanmar (Burma).  He has been traveling the world for the past 4 years as a digital nomad.  His work with his companies and partners allows him to work from anywhere in the world.  This includes his photographic work that is typically based around travel and culture. Dustin received his first camera as a youth, and became a digital photographer 12 years ago, which is when the photography bug well and truly bit him.

Lensbaby Artistry: What or who influenced your interest in photography?
Dustin:  I've always been interested in the surreal side of photography in particular.  Not necessarily the heavily processed, but instead, an image that sucks you in with a feeling.  Something that is worth more than a passing glance.
It's hard to grab your own take of something iconic, like the Eiffel Tower for example.  Many people have done it before you.  They likely had more practice, more time, and they're almost certainly better.  I'm driven by the challenge to "Make it Mine."  By this, I mean capture my own view, my own way of looking at a subject.  Even something that has been done a million times before like the Eiffel Tower.
Lensbaby Artistry: What make and model is the first camera you owned? 
Robin: My first digital was a Sony DSC-S75.  It was a 3MP camera with Zeiss optics and "manual" controls (that are put to shame today).  It marked the first time I really started creating with my photography, and here began my interest in infrared photography as well.
Lensbaby Artistry: What camera do you use now?
Dustin: I travel and shoot with a pair of bodies: a Nikon D7000 body, and a Nikon D90 body that has been modified for infrared photography.
Lensbaby Artistry: Which Lensbaby optic is your favorite?
Dustin: My favorite optic is the Sweet 35.  Having control of the apertures is key, as it's too much of a bother for me to change aperture disks all the time.  Plus, that's just more stuff to carry and lose.I usually pair the Sweet 35 with the Lensbaby Muse for the freedom to quickly compose my images on the fly.
I've had the Edge 80 for 18 months or so, and I've shot some really great stuff out of it.  I haven't quite mastered it though, and often find myself searching for the right subjects with it.  I typically pair this up with the Composer Pro.
Lensbaby Artistry: What subject matter is your favorite?
Dustin: While I tend to shoot a lot of culture and landscape because my locations are changing all of the time, things like repeating patterns, lines, and reflections will often catch my eye. These can sometimes have me shooting the same object or scene for 30-90 minutes, just experimenting with different angles and perspectives.
I also have "eye" for eyes (all types), and this has been a recurring theme in my work.
Lensbaby Artistry: What lenses do you use other than the Lensbaby?
Dustin: In addition to a pair of Lensbaby lenses and optics, I carry a Nikon 18-200mm f3.5/5.6, Nikon 35mm f1.8, and a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8.
Lensbaby Artistry: How did you arrive at your style of Lensbaby photography?
Dustin:  In many ways, I prefer that I can choose where I want the viewer to look into my image with a Lensbaby vs. a traditional lens.  When I came across Lensbaby years ago, I was immediately taken in, and my first Lensbaby was a LB 2.0.
I really like blurring repeating patterns/images out, and the Lensbaby was a natural fit for this. For me, it was a new take on it compared to shooting with a traditional lens with a large aperture.
Lensbaby Artistry: What type of atmospheric conditions or time of year do you prefer to photograph in?
Dustin: I prefer the dark and shadows in my images, so I shoot at sunrise, sunset, and the evenings.  Shooting with a Lensbaby at night is incredibly difficult, but it can be rewarding.
Lensbaby Artistry: What advice do you have for Lensbaby photographers?
Dustin: 1) Know what you want, and then shoot it.  If you have a scene, and you want to hit that sharp focus point, shoot it until you get it.  Don't let what could be an amazing shot just be an OK one because you didn't quite nab that focus and moved on.  While I love a soft, moody shot, a shot with an *almost* sharp sweet spot seems like a wasted opportunity to me.
2) Shoot on continuous if it'll help your odds of nailing that focus, particularly with the Muse.  Just try not to overdue it, or else you can quickly rack up dozens of similar shots that you'll have to deal with in post.
3) Shoot on a theme.  Some of my best-known theme work has been shot with Lensbaby lenses.

You can view Dustin's photography at the following websites:
Lightmoves Creatives:The collective he co-founded to supply unique culture photography to clients.
A Skinny Escape: Stories told with images from around the globe. 

Tip #2: Wait for the Light

If you don’t have the right light for your photograph, wait. The quality and quantity of light can change quickly, especially in the early morning or late afternoon. Light can make the difference between a mediocre photo and a WOW photo of a scene. If you’re photographing in the middle of the day when the light is harsh, but there are clouds in the sky, wait a few minutes until a cloud eclipses the sun. If it’s a thick cloud, you’ll have very nice lighting. If it’s a thin cloud, the harsh light will be diffused to an extent, and you’ll get a better photograph than you would have without the cloud cover. In addition to buffering the light, a cloud drifting by can add interest to a photo. Clouds can be used as compositional elements as well as light modifiers. Wait patiently until the cloud is in the right position to add interest to your photograph. The next time you arrive at a great scene but don’t have the right light, wait.

Doug Plus Rox Photography Books

In addition to being an avid Lensbaby Photographer, Doug is a multi-published author. Here is some information about his latest books. These are Kindle books, but are optimized for the Kindle application for the iPad. In addition the books also look great on the new Kindle Fire devices. Of course, they'll work on any Kindle, but the images are full color, so they look best on the devices mentioned previously.

Creating Better Images by Doug Sahlin
Your Guide to Becoming a Better Photographer

If you’ve ever wanted to stretch your personal digital photography envelope and create better images, this is the book for you. In this guide, photographer Doug Sahlin shows you how to master your digital photography equipment, create better pictures, and become a more creative photographer. This informative guide sells for $3.99. To purchase the book, or download a sample chapter, click the book cover.

Mastering the Lensbaby: A step-by-step guide to mastering your Lensbaby and becoming a more creative photographer by Doug Sahlin

Your one-stop Lensbaby resource: If you've ever wished you could create compelling images with the Lensbaby and the Lensbaby Optic Swap system, this is the book for you. Written by professional photographer and Lensbaby Guru Doug Sahlin, "Mastering the Lensbaby: A step-by-step guide to mastering your Lensbaby and becoming a more creative photographer", shows you how to come to grips with the most popular bodies in the Lensbaby stable: The Lensbaby Composer, The Lensbaby Composer Pro, and The Lensbaby Scout. You also learn how to use every Lensbaby optic and accessory.

Lensbaby Holiday Special

Buy a Lensbaby Composer Pro with Double Glass optic and get a free accessory kit, which which includes the Lensbaby 0.6X Wide Angle / 1.6X Telephoto Kit, the Lensbaby Macro Kit, and the Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit.  The 0.6x Wide Angle/1.6x Telephoto Kit and the Macro Kit are only avaiable as part of this Accessory Kit.

0.6x Wide Angle / 1.6x Telephoto Kit - allows you to change your Lensbaby’s effective focal length to either 30mm or 80mm.
Macro Kit - allows you to use selective focus on a very small scale. It features one +4 filter and one +10 filter, which can be screwed onto the front of your Lensbaby optic either individually or together, allowing you to focus from 2 inches to 13 inches away.

Creative Aperture Kit - The shape in the aperture disk will appear anywhere bright points of light are out of focus in an image. 

For more information, click the following link: Lensbaby Holiday Special

Copyright © 2013 Doug Plus Rox Photography, All rights reserved.

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