Using Another Lens

Metaphorically, that is. For the photos below I used a 60 mm prime lens on my camera. The aesthetic lens I used was more intentionally abstract and experimental than what usually goes on in the mind behind the camera.



This group of Red alder trees was photographed using an in-camera art filter called Key Line (Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera) –  then lightly processed in Lightroom. What I like about the Key Line filter here is the way it emphasizes the linearity in the fine network of branches, last year’s heaps of dried grass and the bark markings.




These images were also photographed using the Key Line filter, looking out a window that had a blue-violet object placed in it. The object went out of focus; the trees outside are in focus, but radically altered by the filter. Cropped and minimally processed in Lightroom.


I’m attracted both to detailed linear images, and to fields of pure color without detail. Here I was photographing a small potted iris (Iris reticulata) indoors. There wasn’t much light, causing the camera’s automatic focus to search, sometimes unsuccessfully, for a focus point. Instead of switching to manual focus, I pressed the shutter when the image was out of focus to record the glowing colors. Minimal Lightroom processing.




In the first photograph I focused on the raindrop-spattered window and let the light shining through the trees outside go soft. For the second photograph I didn’t do anything unusual as far as camera settings go, but I looked for a simplified, more abstract image. I found it along the edge of a marshy bay.  Later, I made very subtle adjustments in Lightroom.  All the photographs were taken in the last few days, in and near home in the Pacific Northwest.


This week I made a big decision: I left my (more-than-full-time) job. With increased responsibilities at home, a full time job isn’t practical. The benefit is that I have more time – much more time – for photography.  I’m already enjoying it. More posts should be coming soon…


  1. That last one is spectacular! The water almost has an oil painting effect? Also a fan of the darker, muted tones. And congratulations on the decision to break free of your work entanglements – we’re looking forward to seeing the results of your newly acquired freedom!

  2. These are fantastic, Lynn. I have found some great effects by taking the sliders in LR past normally acceptable extremes (kind of taking your in-camera work and doing it in LR?). A lot of creative discoveries to be made there.

    I find myself to be very attracted and sometimes consumed by texture and line as well, but I chalk it up to my color-blindness. My visual cortex seems more attuned to such channels.

    So glad to hear of your new-found creative freedom. I hope that the situation works out for you financially as well. It will be well worth it, I am sure.

    If at all possible….
    …ditto, what Barry said, “Keep them coming.”!

    • Yes, funny about the sliders – it’s like what I’ve noticed with people who grew up with digital technologies – they just go for it, freely clicking and pressing things and pushing sliders, while we who late adopters have a tendency to be slower about freely manipulating it. Then when we do, aha!
      So you’re another color-blind person! No, not me, but someone close is. I’m told men with colorblindness were an asset in ‘Nam for ferreting out details others couldn’t see, being less distracted by the greens I guess. Yes, the finances aren’t perfect but there are always trade-offs.

      • Yes. I think we old fogies are still haunted by the idea that we are going to break something….irrevocably.

        My uncle (my mother’s brother) was actually one of early Navy Frogmen in WWII and was also color-blind. He also had better-than-normal distance vision and yes, his unique visual acuities were utilized in detecting camouflage and other fine details of line/texture vs. color.

        I’m excited for you.

  3. I particularly like the first three photos. They remind me of silk screens. Also, the last photo has a subtlety that I very much appreciate. I’m not so fond of the abstract swath of color, but on the other hand, learning how to produce that sort of image (which I think I can do, thanks to your explanation) will teach me something more about my camera. And for the hundredth time at least, I simply must carve out some time to learn PS and Lightroom.

    I’m glad you’re finding a way to adjust to new demands, too. I wasn’t able to quit working when I became my mother’s caregiver, but as an independent contractor, I had a good bit of flexibility. Without that, I’m not sure what I would have done. I’m glad you’ll be able to find more time for photography this way. We’ll all profit from that.

    While I could be wrong, it seems to me that this set of photos is a nice parallel to your life just now: a bit out of focus, requiring some artful adjustment, but beautiful in unexpected ways. Here’s to more!

    • Yes, silk screens, especially #2 and #3 – exactly! I didn’t think of that, so thanks. My advice on learning PS and LR is one at a time, and maybe you don’t need much PS at all. I don’t use it. LR can be a steep curve – I’ve had some horrible frustrating times with it – but I am confident you can do it! It’s a great way to organize your images, and offers plenty to work with for processing. I’m sure a class would help, too – I should have done that. (Of course if you ever could benefit from asking questions I am more than happy to try to answer, email, phone even, whatever). Your final comment is generous and apt. Thanks for being there/here!

  4. Really like what the Key Line filter did to your first image, and it was nicely composed to begin with. Your field of pure color is scrumptious. The next photograph, of the window, is,almost, its own field of color beyond the raindrops. All of these project contemplation. Leaving your job must have been a hard decision. It sounds like you are happy with it. And—yea!—more time for photography: that’s gotta be good.

    • Those trees compose themselves – they are beautifully arranged in the landscape. Hard decision, yes, for sure. More time for everything though, I’m thinking. Including following everyone else better!

  5. Well, what a post! I very much understand the job thing and wish you all the best – not working is wonderful, but I realise that you’ll be far from idle. And I like these pictures very much, but I’m absolutely blown away by the 4th down, the fields of pure colour – that’s gorgeous, and soul-uplifting too; and I like the next photo down very much too. All best wishes from me. 🙂

    • The raindrops on the window reminds me of your look, to a degree. I’m glad you like it, and the blurry one – that was thanks to intensely colored irises. Spring’s on the way – more color to come, I reckon! And light. Thanks for all your good energy, Adrian, it buoys me.

  6. Some amazing stuff you’re playing with here. Hope you find lots of time to take this to the max now! Problem is that I thought I’d have more time when I retired, but it didn’t seem to work out that way. Far too many fun things to do and there’s still the mundane chores to eat away at a good bit of it. Nice you could make that decision though! Wishing you joy and fun.
    PS… LOVE the crunchy detail in that first shot of the alders. I could get lost in there. 😀

    • Yes, I’m already seeing how the day to day chores take up more time than one wants but there’s still far more time than there was – look, I’m replying to comments within days! I’m following blogs more closely! Maybe I’ll even get the laundry done! 😉
      “Crunchy detail” – exactly. It was the right way to do that shot. I’ve done it before at other seasons, and differently. It changes with the seasons, as it should.

  7. Always enjoy how you push and explore your creative boundaries Lyn, what you see and what you feel. Congrats to you on the big decision and giving yourself room to breathe. Love and best to you both!

    • Yes, it’s good to be home…it’s so dark compared to Phoenix, as you see in the photos you like. But each day it gets lighter…
      Soon I’ll post some photos from Organ Pipe.

    • That’s nice to hear, Camila. The weather’s been pretty awful lately – we had the second rainiest February ever, so opportunities to shoot are scarece. There are always the archives though! And photos from Arizona, coming soon.

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