Freelensing

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While perusing the Internet for new photography techniques, I came across something referred to as “freelensing”. This technique is achieved by detaching the lens from the camera but holding it in place, then shifting the lens around to focus the shot. Shafts of light are “leaked” into the image, a high degree of bokeh is achieved (since the aperture is effectively at “0″), and one can capture extreme macro shots. This technique also somewhat demonstrates the principles of tilt-shift photography, where the plane of focus and the line of sight are no longer parallel to one another – basically, objects that are at different physical distances from the camera can all be in sharp focus if they lie on a straight line.

A person by the name of Luke Roberts seems to be credited with this technique, as every website that I came across for freelensing mentioned his name. It seems to have developed a following on Flickr, with a Flickr Group dedicated to freelensing enthusiasts.

My concern for the technique is this – when the lens is removed, the sensor is exposed to the open air, dust, and potential damage. So one would need to be very careful when using this technique, and ensure that the environment is clean and still to protect the inner mechanisms of the camera.

I must say that I attempted freelensing myself (in my kitchen, on some flowers), and I found it extremely difficult to achieve. I tried it with my 18-55mm kit lens, and none of the results were worth keeping. It was difficult to hold the camera in one hand, line the lens up correctly with the other hand, and also manually focus with that same hand. But it seems to be effective for many other folks, if the Flickr Group is any indication.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has attempted freelensing and find out what their experience was, and what their  methods are for successfully capturing images using this technique.  Feel free to tell us all about it in the comments!

Photo credit:
- “Freelensing” by Jesse Kruger on Flickr Creative Commons.

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