Renewing the Magic with the Sol 45

I have been testing something new from my friends at Lensbaby and am madly in love with this little lens! It’s called the Sol 45 and it has renewed the magic that Lensbaby has always brought to my photographs. This is a lightweight sweet spot lens, 45mm, with a fixed f/3.5 aperture and a 14 inch minimum focus distance.  It’s all metal and tilts within the rule of thirds and also locks into a center position. The magic comes with a secondary feature,  it has “bokeh blades”, two little arms that sit out to the side of the lens that can be moved in front to get texture in your bokeh, or left to the side when you don’t want to use them. You can also rotate them so the texture can go in any direction to match or contrast with the lines in your subject. So now I can add a texture to my background right in camera, how cool is that? It is also inexpensive at $199 and very simple to use.

Here is a shot of the inside of the lens with the blades together and also out of the way:

You can change the tilt of the blades easily:

I haven’t taken this lens off my camera since it arrived. I have been feeling a shift in my work recently for more blur and limited depth of field, and the fixed f/3.5 aperture fits that beautifully. Shooting for selective focus makes you slow down, compose carefully, and think about what it is you want to highlight in your subject. Careful focus placement is also essential with this type of work.

Here are some samples of what I have been shooting, straight out of the camera. I have used the Lensbaby Macro Lenses for some images, the +2 is just right for the Sol 45:

This lens is definitely not just for macro and not just for flowers, I had fun shooting many different subjects, even lobster traps!

There is also a version for Micro 4/3rds users, the Sol 22 has a minimum focus distance of 3.5 inches.

A few tips for using the Sol 45:

~A background with lots of lines will show more effect.
~You can push the blades out of the way if you don’t want the effect for a particular subject.
~Remember the minimum focus distance, if you get closer than the Sol can focus you will get frustrated.
~ Try tilting, don’t put all of your subjects in the center.
~Compose and focus carefully, use selective focus to draw your viewer’s eye to what you found to be more interesting in the scene.

Happy Shooting,

Manipulated Image

Most of us are familiar with the saying, “When a tree falls in the woods, and there is no one there to hear it fall, does the tree make a sound?” Well, here is a ‘similar’ question, but first the background story. On this particular morning a few weeks ago, outside Haines, Alaska, I SAW a bear cub, sitting right on this rock, and about 10 meters away, his Mom and two siblings were in the shallows of the river feasting on salmon.

But, let’s be clear, the wide angle shot you see here was initially photographed WITHOUT the bear cub anywhere close by (for reasons that should be obvious) and only later that morning, while shooting from the safety of my car, I was able to take a moderately wide angle shot of a bear cub sitting on a different rock. Upon returning home, and through the ‘magic’ of PS, I was able to drop that bear cub onto the same rock which I had seen him sitting upon earlier that morning.

And now to my question; If I ‘move’ a bear from one rock to another in the name of ‘art’ and I don’t make a sound about doing it, is anyone hurt by this ‘lie’? I have very strong feelings about ‘manipulated’ images, “Just because I can, does not mean I should, but when I do, you’ll be in the know.” Okay, now you know how I feel. How about you?

Nikon D500, Nikkor 18-300mm, at 21mm, F/[email protected]/30 second, 200 ISO.

You Keep Shooting,

-BPSOP Founder – Bryan F Peterson

Bryan Teaches:

Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR

Understanding Color, Seeing Color & Composing Color

Understanding Close-Up Photography

Mastering Nikon Flash Photography

The Art of Seeing

Understanding Composition

Creating a sense of place: Case Study #10

This post is one in a series on how to create a sense of place.



Next time you’re taking photos on holiday or during a celebration, include detail shots to flesh out your story. Details shots, when added together with photos of people, help show the mood of your scene.

Have a look at the images in this case study:

  • Storm approaching
  • Double rainbow
  • Candlelit bath
  • Sunset


Do you see how each image tells part of the story? This is how you create a visually interesting story and capture a sense of place.

Each of these images is a single idea. By combining several ideas, a story is created.


  1. Vary the camera angle in each shot. Shoot up, down, out, across, or through a subject.
  2. Frame your subject tightly to omit clutter. Reveal part of the subject.



Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2

Photography Essentials

No post processing skills necessary for any of Brit’s courses.


Amazing Travel Photos Made EasyAmazing Travel Photos Made Easy teaches you how to create a collection of images that not only documents your holiday but that conveys how it felt to be there.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography and emphasizes getting all your shots in-camera.

You’ll learn how to get amazing travel photos using any kind of camera!



Get your camera to finally do what you want!

Do you want to take better pictures but don’t know where to start? Or have you been photographing for a while, but the results are hit and miss?

Everything is explained simply and clearly. This easy to follow course is designed to grow your confidence and skill.

Even if you’ve been photographing for a while, Photography Essentials will help you get great shots consistently.


Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1 gets you started photographing how you want your life to look and what you want more of in your life.

Ever wonder if the craziness of your life is, indeed, worth celebrating? The answer is a resounding YES!

Start taking images that that look like they came out of a glossy magazine.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography. You’ll learn how to capture images of your everyday life in a fresh and exciting way.

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2 takes you further by focusing on capturing the essence of your loved ones — think about the little things that you’ll always remember, such as how they hold their favorite coffee mug in their hands!

Do you wish you had images of your loved ones that capture who they are as a person? What about a series of images that portray your life as nicely as a wedding photographer portrays a wedding?

Get ready to have fun creating lifestyle photos that you can’t wait to share with your friends and family.

This course delves into creative ways to capture even mundane moments and beautifully photograph even camera-shy loved ones. They’ll finally stop saying they don’t like seeing themselves in photos!

Get a taste of how Brit will work with you.

You can also work with Brit privately

Mentoring: Schedule a live session with Brit via Skype

Get a private image video review: Private Video Image Reviews

Find out about all of Brit’s courses, including Photographing Fine Art & Craft

Visual Maturity

Visual maturity often recognizes the need to slow down, observe, move closer, move back, move up or down, consider other lenses, return at a different time etc. all in an attempt to fully explore the subject and in the process we should make numerous other and equally compelling images; what I often refer to as ‘the picture with the picture.’ Work your subject, as if it were a block of wood or a stone and “chip away, chip away” and discover the pictures within the picture.

Take a look at the image on the right,  and clearly their is ‘more’ to the story due to the larger angle of view; we see roses hanging from a ceiling, (a ritual similar to Mistletoe), three patrons enjoying a beer in the bar, and the bartender herself framed up in the ‘distant’ corner, as the light streams from behind her, into an otherwise darkened, somber room.

Contrast this composition to the image of just that same woman in the opened window, and clearly it is a composition that is solely a ‘portrait’ of light and framing with a frame, the larger room and patrons be damned.

In my view, neither is better, but rather both offer an intended purpose.

Working your subject is part of the maturation process of vision development, and one way towards expanding that vision includes the awareness of the picture within the picture.

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm, 1250 ISO, Daylight/Sunny WB

You Keep Shooting,

-BPSOP Founder – Bryan F Peterson

Bryan Teaches:

Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR

Understanding Color, Seeing Color & Composing Color

Understanding Close-Up Photography

Mastering Nikon Flash Photography

The Art of Seeing

Understanding Composition

  • Dear Patrik and Monika, I really loved your class. It pushed me ! And you provided me with so much information about how I can improve something I love , photographing flowers. Thank you so much. And your critiques were so valuable, not just mine but the ones you gave to others in the class. I will definitely look for other classes that you'll be teaching. Read More
    Donna Sturla Photographing Flora
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