My Day: Freelensed / by Andrea Moffatt

The kids have been sick. Today they were finally all healed up, but we were still battling the boredom and crankiness that comes along with being cooped up for a few days. There are a few types of photography that I turn to when I need to find my center and step away from the kids (you know the kinds of moments I mean, right?). In these situations, I like to shoot in a way that requires quiet and concentration and less shutter clicks. Some of my favorite ways to slow down behind the camera are:

  • macro
  • film exercises (either shooting real film or shooting a limited number of frames)
  • freelensing

The light was delicious when I woke up, and in between the whining and a tantrum, I freelensed the above shots. (For those of you who don't know, freelensing is a technique in which you detach your lens and hold it ever so slightly away from your camera body. By tilting it slightly you can get really surprisingly stunning slices of focus that sort of look like a tilt shift lens. User beware: watch a few tutorials before trying this at home! I always use my cheapest 50 1.8 lens, just in case I would drop it.) 

When you freelense, you must go slow. It's really tricky to find the sliver of focus, and once you do, then you have to adjust until your composition is good. Once you fix your composition, you usually need to go back and tweak your focus! It takes lots of practice. I use live mode, but I still have to watch my light meter on the top of my camera- all while being careful not to drop my lens. 

Now that I can freelense without a lot of extra thought, it is a very calming experience. When I shoot like this, I feel like I just meditated. Even if I can only grab a little time for myself, I physically feel more relaxed as a result. I literally use it as a form of therapy. 

After I shot the morning light pictures, I decided it might make a great project for the day. Obviously I wasn't holding out much hope that the day would get better! ;-) I shot throughout the rest of the day-- it was the first time I've ever freelensed a whole day. 

I doubt it will be the last either!

It may have started rough, but the day still had plenty of things to smile about. After all, any day that ends in an Ice Cream Party can't be all bad, right?