Christmas with a Lensbaby

Snow White ornament, Lensbaby, bokeh, Christmas

I have always been a fan of the selective focus images created by a Lensbaby. However, even the cheaper Edge model is a little out of my price range for what is essentially a creative lens & not one I would necessarily use everyday. I purchased the Spark a year ago but have found it somewhat awkward to operate & certainly tricky to achieve consistent results. Consequently, I recently bought a second hand Composer (it’s the model with the interchangeable, magnetic aperture rings) & have been experimenting with it ever since.

Now I realise you can achieve the effect generated by these lenses through Photoshop or other similar post production software & believe me, I’m not one of those photographers who obsesses about getting everything right “in camera”. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to composition I put a lot of thought into getting it right before I press the shutter but once I download the results, I’d only be fooling myself if I said they didn’t benefit from a little curves adjustment, hue/saturation layer tweaking & a touch of sharpening before being finished. However, there is something much more creative & certainly enjoyable watching the focus point change on the back of the camera before pressing the shutter as opposed to doing it later.

The festive photograph above seemed to lend itself well to a Lensbaby. Focusing on Snow’s face while having Father Christmas blurred yet still distinguishable in the background seemed to add to the festive spirit.


Depth of field

The ability to have some parts of a picture in focus while others parts are blurred was probably one of my main reasons for buying an SLR camera. One way to determine how much of a picture is sharp (known as ‘depth of field’) is by altering the aperture.


The narrower the aperture (large f/number eg. f/22), the greater the depth of field (ie. most of the shot in focus).

The wider the aperture (smaller f/number eg. f/4), equals a shallow depth of field.

Two other factors effect depth of field. Firstly, focal length. As you zoom into a subject, the amount of depth of field reduces. Think of how wide-angles lenses (used for landscapes) keep everything in focus while telephoto ones (sports events, close-up wildlife) tend to blur the background.

Secondly, the distance between you to your subject. The closer your lens is focused, the less depth of field you’ll capture.

So to summarize, if you want to maximise the amount of depth of field, use a wide focal length, narrow aperture & don’t focus on anything too close to the camera.

Tatton Park