How often does something come along that really ‘chucks you a flanker’ ?…Makes you completely rethink something you’ve been doing forever ?

Well it happened to me this morning, and consequently I’ve had a very illuminating few hours.

It started with a throwaway phrase on an American photographic sales site…..Some very annoying dude with remarkably bad hair and no chin, was trying to sell us all  the latest, all singing, all dancing, state of the art, you simply can’t live without, mega bucks, Tilt-Shift lens… and, while glossing over the cost, mentioned how hit and miss ‘Free-Lensing’ was in comparison…

‘Now just hold on’ thinks Mr Shpics, (as is his want), ‘This unpleasant looking gentleman is obviously a total tool but he knows something I don’t…It’s simply not good enough…Totally unacceptable !…What the f**k is ‘Free-lensing’?

Well, I didn’t know then but I do now, and, because here in ‘Shpics World’ it’s all about spreading the joy, you Dear Reader are about to get the lowdown. Are you sitting comfortably? Good, let’s begin:

So….Lets say I turn up on your doorstep and tell you to go get your very expensive DSLR, bung on a Prime lens (not too wide), and follow me into the garden to find something to photograph, you wouldn’t be so surprised…Right?…Right !

Suppose I then told you to either get the camera to meter the exposure if your lens is auto, or, if your lens doesn’t support auto exposure, work out an exposure manually, you still wouldn’t think I was some sort of weirdo would you?…Course you wouldn’t !

How about if I then said ‘Right turn your camera to fully manual, now remove the lens and, gripping it tightly in your left hand, wave it around in front of the body while you click the shutter’……….

You’d think I was totally f**kin’ bonkers wouldn’t you?

Well, amazingly I’m not….Coz that’s exactly what ‘Free-Lensing’ is all about.

From what I can make out there are very few hard and fast rules… One no-brainer is to use a neck strap….That way the worst that can happen is you’ll drop the lens, not the whole shebang…Mid length primes seem to work best. Given how cheaply you can buy ‘nifty fifties. that’s probably where to start, (though I did get a few shots using a 28 mm)…I found that shooting with aperture fairly wide and the lens focussed on infinity enabled you to move the unattached lens in small tilt /rake movements, while maintaining areas of focus and throwing other parts of the image into very satisfying blurs. Movements need to be slight, and shutter speeds not too slow. Light flares are impossible to control, but add to the feel, so don’t be scared of side on light sources and the closer you keep the lens to camera the more controlled is any light bleed. Dust is another thing entirely ! Don’t forget your camera is open to the elements so probably best not to use free-lens techniques when shooting sand storms in the Sahara. You have been warned !

This is definitely a technique I’m going to be returning to…I’ve had a smile on my face for the whole day.


All Images Copyright Stuart Allan Hyde


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Yes…I tried that whole Vaseline thing a while back…That was fun as well…(but stickier) 🙂
      And I know just what you mean with the 70’s ref….90% of retro style advertising seems to use light leaks and soft focus effects….(but probably in a much more controlled kinda way 🙂 )


  1. V-Light

    Hmmm very interesting. I might try that with my old dslr 🙂 For now i’ve been trying the plastic food bag over the lens trick to get soft edges…if you use a colored one you can get tinted leaks 🙂


      1. V-Light

        A prism? No, i haven’t but sounds interesting…I would try it if i can find one 🙂 P.s. for the bag trick you need to open a hole in the middle and experiment with how much of the plastic actually goes in the way of the lens. You can get some really nice results as you move it around 🙂 I did some test shots using my sister as the model but she doesn’t want me to upload them…she doesn’t want her face on the internet…I really liked them though 🙂

      2. Stuart Hyde - shpics

        A shame your sister’s shy….I’d like to see those
        I’m willing to bet you’re going to be the cause of a telling off for me after I’ve cut holes in all of our coloured plastic shopping bags.
        Art can be dangerous.

      3. V-Light

        I’d like to post those photos but she would kill me 😛 And i cannot pose myself and hold the camera at the same time with a plastic bag in front of me…Mmm..maybe i can…I will find a way! Hahaha, well be careful not to cut any bags that someone might use later. You can get the small food bags, they can do the job and maybe paint them with a marker, just an idea… If you don’t use them all you’ll have some left for a sandwich or something 😛 It’s a win-win situation!

    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      I DO like a win win situation 🙂
      BUT.. the smallest food bag-pack I could find, (I looked today) was a 100 pack…That’s 5 marker penned photo accessories V-Light styleee, (pink,green,blue,red,orange), and 95 sandwiches I’d need to eat…Even if I went for a low calorie filling this would be guaranteed to have an impact on my waistline…
      BUT….The pet shop has bags for dog-poo that are, (wait for it)…Already multi-coloured !!!!!!!!!!

      AND….. if there are any left over I can make the world a safer, healthier and less malodourous place.
      Win Win Win !

      I’ll post some shots (if they’re any good).. 😀


      1. V-Light

        Your comment made my day! 😀 Hahaha…I didn’t know there were multicolored dog-poo bags! That’s evolution right there! Well now, i don’t know if maybe we should keep that a secret but on the other hand if our photos turn out “shitty” we can blame the dog-poo bags! Win again 😀 Hahaha…I’m looking forward to see what’ll you make 🙂

  2. corneliaweberphotography

    wow, thank you. I like the .idea of putting a plastic bag over the lens, never heard of , but definitely I will try that out. So those portraits is this lovely Mrs.Shpics? I always wondered what she might look like, the wonderful wife of yours. If so , she is totally beautiful!


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      She’s cropped up on these pages occasionally before, but I have to limit her time in the limelight…She charges me £150.00 per hour for editorial shots and £250.00 per hour for fashion. Between you and me it’s not quite worth it… I have to spend hours in Photoshop removing spots, double chins, facial hair, (worst on the jaw line) and correcting her crossed eyes. Depressing really…She was almost pretty when I first met her.
      Ah well, you can’t have everything, she’s a dab hand with a vacuum cleaner.


      1. corneliaweberphotography

        Oh get with it Stuart, she is worth a million and much more and you know that, she is your everything, without her you would be…………who knows. I like the way you love her dearly….

      2. Stuart Hyde - shpics

        I did rather drop lucky……. 🙂
        But it doesn’t pay to let her know TOO often.
        She has a tendency to get complacent when I follow her around scattering rose petals at her feet and warbling love serenades.
        Far better to keep her on her toes!

  3. bluebrightly

    I love your spirit. I’m using a micro 4/3rd thingie now – a Panasonic Lumix G3 – and I’ll have to play around with this. I tried it a few times with another camera, an older one…it was fun…but just as much fun is reading your irreverent words.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: