week 17: perspective : specialty lenses and creative purpose

We are continuing our focus on Perspective, and finishing up our first month examining the way choice of lens alters one’s viewpoint. This week we are utilizing various types of specialty lenses – telephoto, fisheye, macro, lensbaby, etc. – and seeking to be inspired by the unique qualities of these lenses or seeking ways to use those lenses creatively. Here are some descriptions of some specialty lenses:
• The telephoto or long lens is often used for portraits, as we discussed in prior weeks, or for sports and action shots, when one can’t get very close to the action.
• Fisheye lenses are ultra wide-angle lenses that create visual distortion, so the image is circular rather than rectilinear. These lenses allow an angle of view that is greater than 100 degrees – sometimes even allowing a 180 degree point of view!
• A macro lens allows you to get very, very close to your subject and may be used to capture details barely noticed with the naked eye.
• The tilt-shift lens is designed to allow the photographer to tilt the plane of focus and shift the position of the subject without moving the camera back. It is useful when photographing architecture, when one may want to avoid the convergence of parallel lines, though many photographers have utilized it when shooting portraits.
• The lensbaby (LINK: http://lensbaby.com/) brand of lenses are designed to give a creative effect, where one portion of the frame will be in focus, while the rest is blurred. In some cases, the lensbaby will mimic the effect of the tilt-shift lens. I used this lens to create these dreamy photos of Makenzie at ballet.

As the saying goes, restriction breeds creativity. The narrow purposes of these specialty lenses can inspire the photographer to rethink how she might approach an otherwise familiar situation. 

Our year-long collaborative blog project is dedicated to composition and artistry. Please click HERE to read more about our project. The gallery mosaic is randomly sorted every time you load the page so please Refresh the page in your browser to see a different view. Please click on the individual images to see a larger version on the artist’s website and, in some cases, a series of related images.

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