I have blogged a few photos that were taken using a Lensbaby before. As I mentioned in this post, the Lensbaby is a hybrid of a tilt-shift and a bellows lens that allows a photographer to create a selective focus effect. With a traditional tilt shift lens, you can create focus on your desired subject and have the other areas of the image out of focus, which makes the subject really pop out from the background. This is achieved by creating a very shallow depth of field.
What the Lensbaby does that's a little different is adds a blurry effect around the center area of focus. As you can see in this image, the flowers and foliage surrounding the water that I was focusing on look streaky, as if you took a watercolor brush and dragged it away from the subject. This effect happens when you focus the Lensbaby, which is done by pushing down on the bellows until your subject is in focus. The flexibility of the bellows also allows the photographer to concentrate their area of focus at any point in the image. So I could focus on the upper right corner, for example, and the rest of the image would have that streaky, soft-focus, watercolor look. I especially like to use this lens for high-contrast or difficult lighting situations, because the Lensbaby allows for some incredible ways to play with light and color.
On our last trip to Ireland, I used the Lensbaby much more than I did our traditional lenses, so I'll be posting some more on the artistic possibilities that can be achieved with this lens, which has a very attractive price point, just $150 USD for the Lensbaby 2.0 (my preferred version). It's a good way to take a step towards expanding your creative vision with your photography.
To really see the full effect in this image, it's best to view it larger. Bigger version posted after the jump.