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Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment

From: Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

Video: Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment

Earlier, you saw me doing some macro work using a very expensive macro lens on my SLR. You also saw me using a pretty expensive point-and-shoot camera for some macro work. If you've got a Lensbaby, you've got another option. It turns out that the Lensbaby is actually a really good macro solution and a very affordable macro solution if you add a little attachment to it. I want to work on this flower here. There's this really cool-looking flower that's got all this kind of flame-like flower things coming out of it.

Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment

Earlier, you saw me doing some macro work using a very expensive macro lens on my SLR. You also saw me using a pretty expensive point-and-shoot camera for some macro work. If you've got a Lensbaby, you've got another option. It turns out that the Lensbaby is actually a really good macro solution and a very affordable macro solution if you add a little attachment to it. I want to work on this flower here. There's this really cool-looking flower that's got all this kind of flame-like flower things coming out of it.

And so, I am going to want to be able to get in close and I'm thinking that Lensbaby is going to be cool. Macro images are always shallow depth of field, but with the extra smeary out-of-focus bits with the Lensbaby, I'm thinking that this could end up looking really cool. Now, if you watched the macro chapter, you know one of the critical things about macro is being able to focus in close. So with the normal Lensbaby, I cannot actually focus any closer than this. And so that's hardly a macro shot. I'm really not in very tight there.

Fortunately, the Lensbaby company sells a macro kit that turns your Lensbaby into a nice macro lens. It's, in this case, two little macro lenses that screw onto the front of your Lensbaby. This one says plus 10 macro; the other one zooms out to plus four. I'm going to go with the plus 10 because I want to get in real close. So I just screwed these onto the threads on the front of the Lensbaby. You can see right there that the Lensbaby is threaded in there. Now, note that if you were focused inward, the threads are going to be recessed, and you're probably going to have a difficult time getting in there, so be sure to zoom that out.

And then this just screws right on to the front here, he says, unable to screw it onto the front. There we go. All right! With that there, I'm now macro-ready, and what that means is I'm going to be able to get in real close. I'm going to take the tilt out of the lens. I'm just going to have it set straightforward, and I'm going to get in here. Now, I want deep depth of field in this image. Macro images, because I'm so close, they are always very shallow. So I've put the f/11 aperture in here. That means it's real dark as I'm getting in here. There's not a lot of light in here.

So I have bumped my camera up to ISO 1600, and I know from experience that 1600, 3200, those are very usable ISOs on this camera. So I'm going to get in here and right off the bat, look how much closer I am in. I'm down to just a few inches here. So, this is really getting me into these nice macro distances. And focus, at this point, is really about tiny subtle movements in and out, and it may take you a while to find it and get settled, particularly if the viewfinder is dark. Just to be safe, I'm going to shoot a couple here.

I'm kind of bracketing my focus by moving in and out because the viewfinder is so dark. So, here's what I've got. I like it a lot. I have got a few in my bracketed set that aren't in focus, but this one is, and I like how the stem is just vanishing into that blurry background. Now, vanishing into blurry backgrounds is what the Lensbaby is ideal for, so what happens if I start tilting it around? What if I shift my point of focus to be at the very top and really let that bottom bit smear? I end up with something more like this.

And to be honest, there's not a huge amount of difference there. And I think you're going to find out with most of your macro shots with the Lensbaby; you don't actually pick up a lot of blurring around the edges because your depth of field is already so shallow because you're working at macro distances, so you might as well leave your focus in the center. That's going to give you a larger in-focus area. It's going to be easier to work with when you're into those really tight distances. So, this is a very affordable, very effective macro solution if you've already got a Lensbaby.

So if you think you're interested in macro, before you invest in a lens, if you already have a Lensbaby, I'd pick one of these macro sets and do a little experimenting.

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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses
Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

50 video lessons · 17168 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 4m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 46s
    2. Roadmap of the course
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 53s
    1. Words about focal length
      2m 6s
    2. Understanding camera position
      1m 47s
  3. 39m 19s
    1. What filters are for
      2m 37s
    2. Shopping for filters
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding neutral density filters
      4m 53s
    4. Applying neutral density filters
      3m 55s
    5. Polarizing filters
      3m 4s
    6. Some shooting tips for working with a polarizing filter
      2m 32s
    7. Using infrared filters
      9m 15s
    8. Processing the infrared image
      6m 7s
    9. Handling stuck filters
      3m 1s
  4. 38m 37s
    1. Working with ultra-wide lenses
      7m 19s
    2. Using a wide-angle lens
      4m 43s
    3. Understanding fisheye lenses
      4m 2s
    4. Working with fisheye lenses
      3m 59s
    5. Understanding fisheye exposure
      3m 3s
    6. Taking fisheye further
      4m 16s
    7. Processing fisheye and wide-angle images
      7m 38s
    8. Correcting tone in fisheye images
      3m 37s
  5. 35m 37s
    1. Understanding super telephoto
      6m 21s
    2. Shooting distant subjects
      8m 26s
    3. Compressing the sense of depth
      7m 53s
    4. Working with shallow depth of field
      5m 35s
    5. Working with teleconverters
      2m 38s
    6. Editing telephoto images
      4m 44s
  6. 16m 47s
    1. Understanding macro basics
      2m 47s
    2. Shooting close
      4m 52s
    3. Shooting macro
      5m 20s
    4. Working with a point-and-shoot for macro
      1m 58s
    5. Using a two-lens strategy
      1m 50s
  7. 16m 39s
    1. Understanding tilt shift
      3m 37s
    2. Correcting perspective
      4m 29s
    3. Creating the toy effect
      4m 41s
    4. Deepening depth of field
      3m 52s
  8. 32m 39s
    1. Working with specialty lenses
      2m 43s
    2. Using the Lensbaby
      9m 13s
    3. Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment
      3m 50s
    4. Shooting with a Holga attachment
      3m 4s
    5. Using an alternative mount lens
      2m 18s
    6. Using super-fast lenses
      1m 47s
    7. Correcting Lensbaby images
      9m 44s
  9. 39m 48s
    1. Correcting perspective
      10m 41s
    2. Creating the toy effect
      6m 31s
    3. Getting the lo-fi Holga look
      11m 17s
    4. Reproducing the effect of a Lensbaby
      8m 17s
    5. Cropping and enlarging images
      3m 2s
  10. 2m 47s
    1. Choosing whether to borrow or buy
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      47s

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