Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Fun Technique: Getting Your Lens Off of Your Camera

Posted in art, learning, perception, photography, technique by Jason Gray on July 5, 2011

I’ve discussed this previously, but I don’t believe that I ever showed any examples. There are lots of ways to rethink the possibilities of “that same old lens” that you have been using and are no longer inspired by. One of them is to remove the lens from your camera altogether. To do this, you should switch your mode dial to “Manual”; when the lens is removed, you will not have an aperture value, but you can still control your shutter speed (note, the light-tight seal is broken when you take the lens off of your camera, so while you are shooting this way expect that you will be using a much faster shutter speed than you would normally). Once your lens is off of your camera, adjust your aperture ring to wide open (yes you will need an aperture ring, and for that matter, zooms don’t work that well for this).

All shot with a Nikon D50 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens.

More after the jump–>

Now you are ready to start shooting! You can experiment in one of two ways; first, you can reverse the lens and then place it against the lens mount, which will turn whatever lens you are using into a magical macro lens; second, you can keep the lens facing the correct direction, but tilt the lens up, down, left or right. This will result in images that mirror the effect of a Lens Baby (think, poor man’s tilt/shift lens). Or you can combine both techniques as I have done for most of these.

The best part is that you can look through your viewfinder as normal, and get instant feedback if you are shooting digitally (works for film, too!). Have fun!

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  1. […] 3. Taking the Lens Off of Your Camera […]


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