Updated: Mar 20
The Lensbaby Spark 2.0 combined with the Omni filters may seem like an odd combination for a self portrait but I was quickly inspired by the challenges and had a lot of fun with the creative process on this one.
As stated by Lensbaby, the Spark 2.0 has a "dance-like process of focusing and tilting with internally adjustable apertures" further "with a squeeze to focus interface any Lensbaby user, new or experienced, can enter into a magical process of focusing and tilting that moves with their subject matter." You can combine the Spark 2.0 with any of the optics. I used the Sweet 35 which is known for a sweet spot of focus framed by soft blur.
For portraits, using the Spark 2.0 can be challenging especially if you desire sharp focus. That said, the Spark 2.0 really isn't about sharp focus and I would recommend the Composer Pro 2 (combined with the optic of choice) if that is the look you are trying to capture.
Can sharper focus be achieved with the Spark 2.0 though? Yes, I've had some success with portraits where I wanted the eyes in focus but it's definitely more of a challenge. I took some portraits during the festive season of my daughter (click the Lensbaby tab above and scroll down to Spark 2.0 to see them). Her eyes are in focus however, not as sharp as if I would have used a lens like the Sol 45 for example.
I have found the Spark 2.0 to be a creative workhorse. With the squeeze to focus, one's often left trying to figure out how to tell their story with less definition - something I actually really love. I decided I wanted the final image to be reminiscent of an old vintage post card with some wear and tear and hazy focus. I'm so happy I went with the Spark 2.0 because I feel it really did a wonderful job of achieving this.
I also wanted to add colours to create an almost vintage 'traveling circus' feel to the final image. To achieve this in camera, I used the Lensbaby Omni Filter system with the colour expansion pack. As stated by Lensbaby "shooting through crystals and other objects specifically engineered to create professional and compelling in-camera effects" further, "inject your imagery with mood and atmosphere...featuring a variety of coloured crystals, gels & films" with the colour expansion pack.
In other words, the Omni system does a fantastic job of creating beautiful in camera effects such as reflections, stretch reflections, haze, blur, rainbows, flares, colours, bokeh-all varying depending of the wand/filter combination and the way you tilt them. The Omni is pure magic!
TAKING THE IMAGE
As this was a self portrait and I was using the Spark 2.0 it brought on some challenges. I needed to hold my camera and squeeze to focus - finding focus in the mirror across the room from me. I took a bunch of images to make sure I landed one with a softer focus.
Then, I tried a few filters from the Omni colour expansion pack. I placed them around the edge of the frame, titling in slight directions until I saw colours I liked. It's important to note I didn't focus the camera at this point because I had to hold the filters and take the image at the same time. At this point I focused on colours within the frame. I decided on adding reds, oranges and yellows.
The two colour images I used in my final images. You can see the gorgeous yellow, orange and red's the Omni filters added.
CREATING THE FINAL IMAGE
To create my final image, I turned to Lightroom and Photoshop. In Lightroom, I selected the image of myself plus two images where the colour looked the best (I wanted more of the colour to be around the edges to draw the eye to the subject- me in this case).
Once I had my images selected, I took them into Photoshop as layers. I turned off the top layer and worked with the image of myself and one of the colour images. I added a layer and then painted off the colour from myself and within the mirror. As I got closer to the edges of the mirror I reduced my brush opacity to blend. Once I got the look I liked, I turned on the top layer showing the other colour image. I repeated the same steps.
Combing the images in post allowed me to take a self portrait using the Spark 2.0 combined with in camera magic of the Omni filters.
I personally love how the image turned out. The Omni filters have such a beautiful way of infusing mood into images while adding depth, visual interest and often a sense of movement.
I hope this post shed some light into the creative process behind my self portrait. If you have any questions about my process or Lensbaby products in general please don't hesitate to leave a comment or message me directly .
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