I'm so glad you found me! I'm a San Francisco photographer, and this blog charts my journey in the ever-evolving world of photography. One of the things I love about photography is that it's a journey, not a destination. I'm constantly learning and meeting wonderful people. Please peruse the blog to your heart's content, then check out my website and feel free to contact me! (I love hearing from you.)

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow." – Imogen Cunningham

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen

Lensbaby Photowalk, and Some Brief Thoughts About the Lensbaby

This past weekend I went on a Lensbaby photowalk that I found through Meetup (seriously! great site, highly recommended, especially if you're in an urban area). I already blogged a couple of photos from it, here and here.

Many people signed up to go to the photowalk, but only 4 of us actually showed up. In a lot of ways, this was awesome. It meant we could stay together, but that our group size wasn't too unwieldy to be flexible, and we didn't slow each other down too much.

We met up at the Embarcadero in SF, and 3 of the 4 of us had Lensbabies, which was the stated purpose of the photowalk. (Didn't really matter though. Photowalks are awesome.) I've written about the Lensbaby before. It's an interesting lens, kind of neither fish nor fowl. Basically it's a 50mm lens that has a curved plane of focus, and also functions like a tilt-shift lens. Kind of. What all that means is that only one spot in the image is in focus. Also there are aperture rings you have to manually insert into the lens to stop down or open up. I shot outside at f/8, because I prefer a little less blur on my Lensbaby shots. It's nice to have something that's really in focus, as the images can be a little hard on the eyes otherwise.

It was overcast and so the light was really soft, even though it was the middle of the day. That was great, as the middle of the day is usually not my favorite time to shoot.

A view of the Bay Bridge
The sun came out a bit, and then we had some blue skies.

San Francisco skyline, Lensbaby style.
After a while I loaned my Lensbaby to another Canon shooter on the walk. This gives you some idea of what the lens looks like - it's pretty small. Which is another nice thing about it.

Not a Lensbaby shot. 50mm f/2.5

It's nice being in a group of photographers, even if we do look dorky. There's permission to take a picture of something just because it might look cool.

Also not Lensbaby. 50mm f/1.8 
So, would I recommend the Lensbaby Composer? (That's the name of the model I have.) I don't know. I really like mine when I remember to use it, but it's manual focus only, and changing the aperture is a bit of a pain, although it does feel nicely old school. But it's a bit expensive for a lens I only pull out every few months. And there are fewer photos I've taken with it that I absolutely LOVE.

But I did see that they have a new 35mm optic you can switch into it (as opposed to the 50mm length of the regular Lensbaby optics). In fact, there are quite a few optics you can switch in and out (once you've bought them). Pinhole/zone plate. Plastic (for the Holga look). Fisheye (which I have, and also almost never use). Soft focus even. For the most part, I think the double glass which it comes with is the most versatile. But your mileage may vary.

You should check out the Lensbaby Gallery though. Lots of amazing and inspirational photos there.


  1. Wow, I just found this. This whole time I thought your blog was your pro' website :P. This is a great blog. Very illuminated color scheme :).

    Ok, about your aperture. I don't know anything about the lovebaby lense yet, but what aperture are you normaly working with to get portraits with such nice DOF? I know you have the 50mm. I just can't seem to get this 'pop' in my portriate work. It's beautiful, Jess.

  2. Chad! So happy you finally found my blog. And this DOF thing is a bit tricky. Let's chat in person on Monday, it'll be way easier to explain it with some concrete examples.

    But this article is the best explanation I've ever come across on the web, even though it's a bit complex.


  3. (By the way, most of my portraits are 2.8 or wider, to answer the question simply. The one here was 2.5. But the length of the lens and distance to subject matter a lot. To be covered on Monday . . .)

  4. Oh, and if you really want to make your head hurt with DOF, read this:


  5. I love your LB shots, especially that Bay Bridge. It's spectacular.

    Im a big fan of the LB and really considering getting the new version. It looks SWEET.

  6. I saw a Lensbaby shot on an advertisment for the Cherry Blossom Festival!! The focus was around a majoritively naked Japanese man, but the effect was great in pulling attention to the photo and peaking interest.
    I really like your Bay Bridge shot too. I/m checking out the DOF stuff now. As soon as I get money, I'm going straight to buy that 50mm lense with the lowest apt numbers I can afford.

  7. I love the idea of a photo walk! Sometimes it's a little daunting to be a lone photographer, as if more photographers make the activity more legit. I find it's good practice taking pictures of people with other photographers around. I'm less shy in approaching subjects, then it boost my courage next time I'm alone.


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