Lensbaby Shooters Get Appy

Creative Aperture Kit Contest Winners Announced

By Diane Berkenfeld

muse, composer, and control freak lensbaby models for picture-soup.com article

(l. to r.) Muse, Composer and Control Freak models of Lensbaby, selective focus lenses.

Lensbaby (www.lensbaby.com) recently posed a challenge to the photographic community— come up with a new shape for their Creative Aperture Kit. The grand prize winner’s image would be showcased on the packaging, while the winning aperture and those of the runners-up would be included in the new Creative Aperture Kit for photographers around the world to use.

For those who don’t know what a Lensbaby is, it’s a selective focus lens. The Lensbaby is the brainchild of pro photographer Craig Strong, who launched the creative effects SLR lens system in 2004. Many photographers credit the Lensbaby for bringing creativity back into their work, myself among them.

The grand prize winner is professional photographer Troy Eiffert. Four runners-up were chosen too; they are Ivan DeWolf, Jerrid Jones, Andrew Kua and Bjørn Rannestad.

Creative Aperture Disks

Lensbaby Creative Aperture Disks are blanks that users can cut custom shapes into, in order to add one-of-a-kind effects to their photos.

The shape of the cutout, like a regular lens aperture—allows specular highlights (in the shape of the aperture) to be seen, out of focus in a photograph. Bright points of light, like street lights or the sunlight on a lake, are examples of specular highlights

It is easy to cut your own shapes into the aperture disk material with an X-acto knife or craft store hole punch.

The Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit 2 will feature nine disks in total, including the five winners’ designs and the following four which were designed by the Lensbaby staff: heart, star, bird, and sunburst.

The new kit are scheduled to be available by the holidays for $14.95 MSRP. The Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit Blanks are available for $9.95 MSRP.

The aperture disks are compatible with the Muse, Composer, Control Freak, Lensbaby 2.0 and Lensbaby 3G lenses and with the Double Glass, Single Glass, Plastic and Soft Focus Optics.

And the Winners Are…

Each of the winners are excited that other photographers will soon be able to create their own photographs using apertures they created.

Troy Eiffert

troy eiffert slots winning lensbaby contest image for picture-soup.com article

Troy Eiffert's grand prize winning image which will be reproduced on the packaging for the Creative Aperture Kit, along with his "slots" aperture disk. Photograph © Troy Eiffert.

Troy and Heidi Eiffert (www.studioUphotography.com) are award winning professional photographers. Their Lensbabies of choice are the Original Lensbaby and the Lensbaby Composer. In addition to those lenses, the Eifferts also own the wide-angle and telephoto adapters, app kit and the optics kit.

“I created the slots aperture to achieve a vertical, horizontal or diagonal painterly effect depending on how it was placed in my Lensbaby Composer,” said Eiffert.  “This is by far my favorite and most versatile aperture I have cut from the blank disks.”

“We use it for our personal art and quite a bit at weddings and with seniors,” he says.

“We love learning and sharing, and have recently begun teaching,” he explains. The couple is AfterDark Education (afterdarkedu.com) mentors and will both receive their PP of A Craftsman degrees this year, to add to their Masters degrees from the association.

Jerrid Jones

Soft Focus with Step Up ND filter jerrid jones aperture and image for picture-soup.com article

Runner up Jerrid Jones' image along with his "diamond" aperture disk. Photograph © Jerrid Jones.

Jerrid Jones (http://web.me.com/jonesyjerrid and www.mudbrickmusicvideos.com/) is a semi-pro photographer; and audio/visual engineer. While he specializes in recording musicians he also creates music videos.

He currently owns the Lensbaby Muse and Composer models, and is looking forward to adding the Control Freak to his gearbox.

“I first was introduced to the Lensbaby about nine months ago, and I’m having a hard time taking it off my camera; in fact, the only time I take it off is when I’m switching from Composer to Muse and visa-versa,” says Jones.

“It’s been really exciting having my app chosen; I never thought out of all the photos submitted that I would have been in the top five,” he adds.

Andrew Kua

Runner up Andrew Kua's image and "swirly" aperture disk. Photograph © Andrew Kua.

Andrew Kua (www.ndroo.com) is a photography enthusiast who migrated from digital cameras to toy/plastic/analogue cameras. He first discovered the Original Lensbaby a few years back. “It was a result of my search for something more fun and versatile than the usual lenses in the market,” he says. As the Lensbaby line grew, Kua upgraded—to the Lensbaby 2.0 and then 3G. Now that he’s got the Composer and Muse, together with the optic kit, wide-angle lens and fisheye optic, he’s given the older models to friends.

“It has always been an obsession with things less perfect (in photography) and thus my love for toy/plastic/Lomo cams …  [which] led me to the idea of creating an aperture disc that is less than perfect. The rough curvy design was ‘born’ out of this idea,” Kua explains.

Kua hopes more folks will discover Lensbabies and stop trying to “Photoshop” the ‘effects.’ “Nothing can beat the real fun of using the lens itself,” he adds.

Ivan DeWolf

lensbaby winning image by ivan dewolf for picture-soup.com article

Runner up Ivan DeWolf's image and his "dripsplat" aperture disk. Photograph © Ivan DeWolf.

Ivan DeWolf (www.flickr.com/photos/7349106@N06/) purchased his first DSLR (Canon T2i) about a month ago and soon began researching lenses. He owns the Lensbaby Muse and the app kit.

He says, “I was impressed by what I saw of the Lensbaby, and decided I had to try it. The night I bought the lens, I cut two apertures and took the winning photograph.

“I think the thing I like about the lensbaby is it’s imperfections; you have to struggle with it to get a “normal” clean image. Most lenses are a struggle to get something a bit abstract, without resorting to Photoshop. And I really appreciate the tactile nature of the “Muse”, but I’ll probably get one of the other Lensbaby lenses for shooting video,” he says.

“There is a beauty to urban decay and grime, and I wanted an aperture that would imply this in a humorous way. I also really liked the idea of breaking down a photographic image into a literally painterly bokeh,” DeWolf explains.

I really look forward to seeing great images captured using my aperture, from photographers I’ve never met,” he adds.

Bjørn Rannestad

Runner up Bjørn Rannestad's image and "whirlpool" aperture disk. Photograph © Bjørn Rannestad.

Photographer Bjørn Rannestad (www.fotoaalborg.dk) considers himself more than an enthusiast but not a full-fledged pro. He first discovered Lensbabies with the Lensbaby 3G, then got the Lensbaby 2.0, Muse and Composer to his lens collection. He’s since sold the 3G.

Rannestad says he had a couple of ideas in mind for apertures: “I wanted to make an aperture which made a fuzzy bokeh, but didn’t draw too much attention to the design itself. I also wanted it to be independent of rotation of camera/aperture.” Rannestad is fascinated with astronomy and spiral galaxies, hence the name “whirlpool aperture.”

He says he’s addicted to the Lensbaby. “What I like the most about the Lensbaby is the feel of it. Can’t explain it, but shooting with the Lensbaby becomes a part of you. I like the muse and 2.0 the most. No other technique can compete.”

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