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Books: Lens and Lensbaby

Recently, we have been posting quite a lot about lenses (Nikkor 18-300mmComposer ProEdge 80). We also got a lot of emails asking if we could recommend some books for readers interested in diving deeper into both the technical aspects and creative uses of them. As luck with have it, we were in the midst of reviewing two bookson the subject. The first is NK Guy’s The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer (published by rockynook). The second is by Corey Hilz, Lensbaby: Bending Your Perspective (published by Focal Press).

We like The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer because it summarizes in oneplace a lot of information about interchangeable lenses. The coverage is broad enough and the discussions sufficiently deep to give readers a quick, working understanding of interchangeable lenses. This is valuable for both beginners and seasoned shooters. Beginners will find lots of topics and terms they may not have heard of clearly explained. Knowledgeable photographers will find the book  a solid reference for things they may have forgotten or know from experience but are fuzzy as to why they are so.

The book is also a good resource for photographers looking to fill in some of their knowledge gaps, whether it be why the stated focal length of an older lens may magically change when going from a film camera to digital camera, how image-stablization works, or a number of other advanced topics.

One of those advance topics we have been delving into lately has been tilt-shift photography. The topic is well-covered by NK Guy, both in terms of the how and the why. There is also a nice discussion on our favorite perspective-bending, focus-manipulating, creativity-stimulating tool, the Lensbaby. Of course, a few pages will not do the topic justice. However, it was still informative and the author offers a nice take on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the design.

RainyDayPhotography readers interested in a comprehensive look at the Lensbaby should get a copy of Hilz’s Lensbaby: Bending Your Perspective. We read it cover to cover as soon as it arrived. While there is no substitute for going outside and shooting with the Lensbaby, seeing how others use this unique lens is an excellent way to learn more about its capabilities.

Lensbaby: Bending Your Perspective covered both the hardware (mounts, optics, accessories) and the various effects which can be achieved with them. Hilz talks about focusing techniques, tips for changing the aperture discs, and other suggestions which will make using the Lensbaby more enjoyable. In the book were also plenty of photo examples, how they were taken, and additional creative ideas to try. The one point we would make is that while this edition does cover the Optic Swap system, it does not cover the newer optics such as the Sweet 35 and Edge 80.

Both books are wonderful resources for anyone interested in building and or increasing the creative aspects of their photographic skills. We have enjoyed reading them and will hope to take the ideas we have learned from each and give them a try.

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