Lensbaby-ing

By: Gustav Hoiland

Feb 12 2010

Category: lensbaby, new york, street

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ISO:100
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Oh Wonderful Manhattan

This image is brought to you by the magic of a selective focus lens (made by Lens Baby).  Selective focusing has to do with moving the lens around, physically turning it left/right/up/down, causing the image it projects to hit the digital sensor at an angle instead of straight on.  This allows you to keep just a sliver of the image in focus while the rest gets distorted and blurred out.  Here, the storefronts on the left are in perfect focus, while the streetlights on the right of the image are going all crazy, despite being the exact physical distance away from the camera. Blurred light is circular by nature, but here they become increasingly oval’d on the right.

There’s all sorts of motion in the image, created two different ways.  The first is caused by the selective focus lens which creates what appears to be motion blur.  The second is the actual motion of the taxi which is shown due to a long shutter speed.  This is all contrasted against the sharp storefronts on the left.  There’s so much energy all over the right half of the image that it’s almost difficult to pull your eyes to the left to see the stores.  As soon as you stop focusing your energy on looking at the stores, your eyes get pulled back into the mess on the right.

I’m not sure how to describe the color here, except that it’s desaturated and overall yellowy. The image viewed in black and white loses something big, perhaps the sense of urgency that is the New York Minute. More likely I don’t have the art vocab to properly describe what’s up.

There’ll be more selectively focused images up here in the coming days I predict.  Spending the weekend in New York, shooting almost exclusively on that lens I think, in addition to a portrait project of bike polo players to be shot on the big’ol Hasselblad film machine.

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