A few months ago, a friend of a colleague told me in passing how Lensbaby Spark helps children to understand aperture. I vaguely understood what he meant and nodded my agreement; but, I didn’t give the statement any further thought.
A month later, I brought my Lensbaby Spark to a vacation. Using its tilt-shift feature, I captured intentionally distorted – or, should I say stylized? – photos of people and landscapes. I stuck a round f/4 aperture disk on it and left the rest of my aperture disks at home. I liked the photos I captured, but did not use the lens again for a few months.
Recently, though, I decided to get to know the lens a lot better . . . to figure out the whole spectrum of images the lens can create . . . and, by chance, came to fully understand what he probably meant.
No one would mistake Lensbaby Spark as a regular lens. Its unconventional shape alone is a clear indicator of that very fact.
It’s a selective focus lens; and, we need to squeeze and tilt the lens to focus on the object(s) or subject(s) we want to photograph.
Left untouched/in its original state, the lens would capture a very out-of-focus photo of the whatever or whoever we want to photograph.
Below is a photo of dress form I wrapped with a string light. See how out of focus the dress form is? And, in contrast, see how defined the bokeh looks? I place a star-shaped creative aperture on my lens. And, this was pretty much what I saw when I looked at the objects through my camera’s viewfinder as well.
I used to think the only function of a lens’ aperture is to determine how much light we allow to go through the lens. That, and a photo’s depth of field.
More recently, I also learned that the shape of an aperture determines the shape of the highlights and bokeh we see in a photo. But, this is the first time I see the effect as clearly; and, it changes the way I see and think about light, and its roles in photography.
To be continued . . .
Stay tuned for part 2 (-: