May 20, 2017

NEW LENS, NEW LESSONS

I recently adopted a new vintage lens for my Canon camera. I was looking for a lens that created that blurry-bubbly-bokeh effect, so I went for a 135mm - 2.8 Manual Pentax Prime lens. I have this awesome adapter that screws on to old manual film lenses - allowing me to use manual lenses on a digital camera! The new lens is teaching me a lot about ...
  • how to take full control of the cameras settings (aperture, shutter speed + ISO)
  • why practicing the skill of shooting in manual focus mode is important
  • how to play with light and make it dance!
But further than that, this new toy is taking me out of my comfort zone and opening my mind to perceive all sorts of little sparkly nuggets of insight + nature-inspired wisdom. {LIGHT + IMPERMANENCE} When you're having to manually control how much light is hitting the sensor in your camera + the speed of the shutter (vs. letting automatic mode do all the work), you notice even the tiniest transitions of light - especially when the sun is near the horizon at sunrise or sunset. With every slight shift of the sun, the camera's settings have to be reconsidered so the photo doesn't turn out under or over-exposed. When you're playing with manual settings with the sun as your light source, there is no such thing as a permanent setting. Just like the nature of all things ... everything is always changing. A beautiful, sun-inspired reminder of impermanence. {THE BEAUTY IS WHERE YOU ARE} With these photos specifically, I drove around the neighborhoods by the LOTUSWEI office and challenged myself to only take photos from my parked car. I definitely looked like a private detective when the camera was pointed towards a house ... but hey, no harm - no foul! ; ) I would drive around until I saw a plant that caught my eye, pull over, roll down the windows down and snap some photos from the driver seat. Normally, I would walk around the entire plant to see which background was the best, which angle created the best composition, etc ... But in a car, you can't really do that! Confined to the driver seat, I'm sure you can imagine the range of motion I was allowed. The precious lesson of this photo challenge: the beauty is where you are. {IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT} If you noticed that most of these photos are slightly out of focus, you have really, really good eyes + a sharp attention to detail. My new lens doesn't have automatic focus ... so all of these photos were taken in manual focus mode. When I previewed them on the small screen on my camera, they all looked pretty decent. But after getting them onto the big computer screen, none of them were perfectly in focus. Zero. My self-imposed perfectionism had me thinking about dropping these photos into the "Probably not going to use, but don't want to trash completely" folder on my computer. (We are so dang hard on ourselves, right?) But then I snapped out of it, and realized that in order to expand a skill set (the root of why I even bothered getting a new lens), you have to start somewhere! It's impossible to get better at something if you refuse to make room for the little bumps or failures. It doesn't have to be perfect, especially if the process brings you joy!   {CREATING SPACE OPENS UP YOUR PERSPECTIVE} I loooooove macro lenses. Getting intimately close to a flower, like a little bug exploring the petals, is SO FUN! You see things that the normal eye simply doesn't. So when I first snapped the 135mm onto my camera, it felt like I was in a foreign country driving on the left side of the road. I kept wanting to get closer and closer but with that focal length, the minimum shooting distance is around 4 feet! Forced to stand back and embrace the bigger picture, I was amazed at what a new perspective was capable of! I saw so many more shapes, colors + textures that normally would have been cropped out if I was shooting in my normal macro style. So that's all the insight this mindful-photo-practice sparked in my world. I would love to know if just LOOKING at the photos inspired any bubbles of wisdom to arise within you! Let me know in the comments below! ; )
2017/05/27

Jini said:

I SO enjoyed these amazing photos Taylor!! And I love the practice/parameters you set for yourself. I find that so often when we’re “forced” to make do with certain constraints, that surrender just opens up a whole new world of wonder, exploration and insight. Animals and nature really are the best teachers :)

2017/05/27

Sarah said:

Beautiful photos, and inspiring words. I needed this reminder to appreciate and celebrate the world around me. Thank you for sharing.

2017/05/31

Arija said:

These photos are fanominal. I am completely mesmerized at the beauty, and can really appreciate the manual focus. The photos in these articles are entrancing. I get lost looking at the colors, the depths, & the textures, and the ultimate is that the flowers make me feel so at peace, knowing Mother Natures beauty and mysteries are there waiting for me to discover them. I am a flower lover, Nature enthusiast and can appreciate all that you do over at Lotus Wei. Bless

2017/05/28

Teresa Nicola said:

Wow – these images are gorgeous! Cacti always remind me of resilience. Taking pictures of flowers is one of the ways I meditate. I like to take super close-ups as well, and your post inspires me to experiment broadening my perspective. Thank you!

2017/05/31

LOTUSWEI said:

Teresa, love this! Thanks for sharing! <3

2017/05/31

LOTUSWEI said:

So happy you are loving it! We are huge fans of flowers + photography too! ; D

2017/05/31

LOTUSWEI said:

Hi Sarah, thank you! So happy we inspired you. <3

2017/05/31

LOTUSWEI said:

Hi Jini, Yes, yes, yes! Totally with you. <3

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