Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Solvitur ambulando

This may be a bit of a rambling post (ha ha) but recently, I have been walking at lunchtime.

Back in the U.K. I had a number of places which held some cultural, personal, or family significance. Each of these places was somewhere I could go to when I needed to focus my thoughts, and all of them required some degree of walking, driving, or both to get to. Since moving to Australia I have yet to find alternatives for those places, and so when I need to focus, I walk.

I have had a lot of things on my mind recently, and walking helps me to focus those thoughts into something coherent. Perhaps it is the near meditation of the rhythm of the walk, perhaps it is the absence of other mental distractions, or perhaps it is something else. Apologies to my short distance walking partner +Gordon Yeong, but in order for the thinking part to work I need walk on my own.

Some of the plus points to walking are...
  • Walking has obvious health benefits, and I do feel better for it.
  • As mentioned, walking helps me to focus and organise my thoughts.
  • When walking, you see new, sometimes interesting things and places.
  • When setting out, there is an empowering feeling that you could just keep on going.
  • When it's time to turn around, there is a feeling that despite how far I now find myself from my destination, all I need to do is to put one foot in front of the other, and eventually I will arrive.
  • Instagram goes with me, and I am getting shots I wouldn't otherwise get. 
Does anyone else walk to think, and if not, what do you do to focus your thoughts? Add your thoughts to the comments please.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


The thing I get asked about most when out on a photowalk (apart from the bemused 'what is going on' questions from the public prompted by the hoards attending the +Trey Ratcliff walk) are when I am using the Lensbaby composer on my camera. These questions have come both from members of the walk and passers by.

The Lensbaby composer system is easy to explain but difficult to understand, it is a low-tech lens with a sweet spot of focus in the center, the size of the spot varies depending on the aperture used, and the spot can be moved around the frame by tilting the lens which has a ball and socket design.

Aperture changes are made by removing a small magnetic disc and inserting another disc with a different sized hole. The actual aperture is not sent to the camera electronically, however metering in AV mode works just fine. Focus is manual using a ring, and getting this right takes some practice.

The core optics of the lens can be removed and replaced with a different one, so far I have the 'plastic', 'single glass', 'double glass', and 'pinhole'. Others are available. Each optic gives a slightly different look

Lensbaby shots are typified by the sweet spot which falls off to a progressively more blurred outer section. This is great for directing attention to a particular element in the picture, and great for adding a sense of motion. The pinhole optic gives a very soft retro look.

So why bother? It's something a little different, it's something fun, and with practice you can get some fantastic images with one. They are available from most good camera stores, or online. Not everywhere stocks them, I do recall a fantastically bemused look by the assistant in Ted's cameras upon being asked if they had Lensbaby, rather than try and convince him that they do exist, and are actually on their pro website, I decided to purchase elsewhere.

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