26 November 2008

Lens Babies

Lens Baby
I recently bough a Lensbaby Composer lens for my Nikon. I guess I was taking a gamble as it wasn't exactly cheap, what with all the accessories and add-ons and stuff, and I'd heard the build quality could sometimes be suspect and they can be quite difficult to use, successfully. Well I found the build quality to be fine, maybe the earlier versions of it weren't so good but using it does indeed take a fair bit of practice and I'd say it's definitely not intended for novice photographers. But luckily with a DSLR I can just keep taking shots and adjusting the camera exposure and trying different aperture discs until I get the effect I'm after. I haven't taken any prize winning photos yet (not even close), just a bunch of shots from around the house and the garden, but even after a couple of days use I'm completely hooked on this lens system. It's amazing, quirky, sometimes frustrating but highly creative and utlimately very rewarding.
Of course I've heard the argument (a lot): "why use a Lensbaby when you can get a similar look using Photoshop?". The answer is that while the PS method has it uses (in post pro, for example) I feel it's a lackluster imitation of the real thing. That's not to say I won't be using Photoshop with my Lensbaby shots, I'll still be using it for further exposure adjustments, colour balancing, cropping and other such image tweakery.
But I'm also I'm pretty excited at the prospect using the Lensbaby with my D90 for HD video, something that would have been out of the question until recently. Shooting HD video with a Lensbaby looks far better than doing a simulated 'split focus' effect using a video application in post production. Even having to reshoot video to get the effect 'just right' it's still a lot quicker and better quality than hours spent experimenting, composing and then rendering in After Effects or FCP.
My first Lensbaby attempts are up now on my
Flickr pages:

14 November 2008

Return from Wroclaw

Carter Tutti @ Wroclaw Industrial Festival
On our return from Poland me and Cosey both went down with bad head-colds and generally feeling shitty. I have a theory that the stale recirculated aircon on Ryan Air flights is responsible for laying us low. Though it seems that every time we fly with any 'low cost' airline we get ill shortly after. Anyway... the Wroclaw trip was interesting. The city was quite sombre and grey, as were many of the people but the festival organisers were great: friendly, enthusiastic and very professional. We also did the usual touristy stuff, wandering and snapping. It seemed as though there was a gothic church at every corner, so lots of photo opportunities.
The acoustics at the venue were a little off kilter because of the extremely high ceiling but the show sold out and there were lots of hard core fans screaming for their fave songs. The atmosphere was pretty charged and everyone had a great time, including us.
Flikr images from the trip are here