by liz degroff: revealing the beauty in the everyday

blog

week 8, day 52

another new week and another new theme!  this week, instead of shooting for a concept, we're working on developing a technique- free lensing.

for my non-photographer friends, free lensing is a shooting technique where you remove your lens from your camera body and then hold the lens up to the camera's sensor to shoot while tilting the lens at different angles.  this causes the large majority of the image to fall out of focus, while leaving a specific area of the photo sharp and clear.

a few important notes about free lensing:

- if you're a nikon user (which i am *insert sarcastic thumbs up here*), then in order to free lens effectively, you need to hack your lens.  the reason is this- when you free lens, the aperture on the lens needs to be open as wide as possible.  nikon lenses close the aperture all the way down to a teeny tiny hole when removed from the camera body, and that prevents you from seeing much of anything while attempting to free lens.  in order to get the aperture to stay open on a nikon lens, you need to find this tiny little metal lever on the back of the lens and then slide it as far over as it will go and stick an equally tiny little piece of paper in the lever's track so that it stays put.  and also you need to make sure the piece of paper has a tail so that you can pull it out in case it falls into the lens (not that i'm speaking from experience or anything...).

- i love the look of free lensed images.  i feel like they're the perfect combination of artistic and clean, and they have a little bit of added interest.  they're also very soft, but can still be very emotive and powerful images when done right.

- it's really freaking hard to do correctly.  like, really, really hard.

i've tried to free lens a handful of times in the past, but i've always given up because i just can never get it to look the way i want.  i'm also a little wary of it lately because my grip and dexterity are not what they used to be, and up until recently my only lens choices were my enormous kit lens that i could never manipulate with one hand or my relatively pricey 50 mm that i would never forgive myself for dropping and breaking (which was bound to happen because, it's me).  now that i have my lighter, less expensive 35 mm, i'm not as apprehensive about trying it out.  

i have all these amazingly talented friends who somehow managed to free lens humans, who are moving and stuff, and i can't for the life of me figure out how they pull it off.  so instead i decided to start out easy today with subject matter that remains stationary and does what i make it do.  these aren't great, but they're not as terrible as i was expecting either.  i'm just glad i was able to get parts of the images in focus.

the differences between these 3 are subtle (excluding the fact that one is black and white), but that's kind of what free lensing is all about.  my goal this week is to push myself to try to free lens at least once a day, even if i end up going off prompt for the image i share.  we'll see :)