In the recently concluded Bingo Challenge, I found myself fortunate enough to win a Lensbaby lens of my choice as a prize. On top of that, it’s an honor to be the first winner of this inaugural challenge. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Lensbaby and for organizing this challenge. And not forgetting Shelly for arranging with Lensbaby to sponsor the prize. I have been checking out their lens system on and off for a while, so this good news couldn’t come at a better time.

How I tackled the challenge

I took photos as I would normally do and then look at which prompt worked for that particular photo. So, it was pretty much a reverse thing for me, matching the photo to the prompt instead of the other way round. The only photo I had to think about was SELF PORTRAIT. That’s partly because the deadline for submission was due. Aptly, I chose the concept of a procrastinator.

Sadly, I missed the virtual meet up where submissions to the Bingo challenge were discussed and the winner announced. I was glad to see that the meet up was recorded and uploaded for viewing on demand. Thanks again, Shelly! It was great to see the discussions and I especially enjoyed the thoughts from those present as they went through the submissions. Thanks to all for your kind words on my submission and also during the prize announcement. A special shout out to Janan for trying to message me to wake up. But it’s a habit of mine to set mute my phone when I go to sleep, so I totally missed his messages. In fact, it was through his message that I realized I was the lucky winner.

After going through the different models that fell within the budget of the prize, I chose the Lensbaby Composer Pro II + Sweet 35 optic. While waiting for the lens to arrive, I found myself on Youtube checking out videos featuring the lens. I’ve seen what the lens was capable of (mostly from Shelly’s photos) but was nonetheless searching for more inspiration. Was definitely excited and eagerly waited for the lens to arrive.

The lens arrived safely together with a lovely postcard from Shelly. It felt good to finally have a chance to hold one of these! I immediately took it out for a test run…with some awful results as I didn’t know what I was doing! After getting over the initial excitement, I managed to figure out how it works (I think!). I discovered that it’s probably best not to jump right away to shooting toys but to aim the lens at a much larger subject, eg a building and to turn the focus peaking on. I practiced finding the sweet spot this way.

The Composer Pro II + Sweet 35 Optic came together with a lovely postcard from Shelly

I have a concept that’s been inside my head for more than a year now and I think this lens will complement very well with it, but first, I need to work on the diorama for it. Until then, here are some of the first few photos I shot with the Sweet 35. Getting the sweet spot on these became much easier after a bit of practice. I realized most of these shots were set with high f-stop. I think I was overthinking about getting tack sharp focus. Need to play more with a lower f-stop….that’s where the len’s unique property shines.

One of the few shots with the widest aperture. At this setting, most of the supporting wires disappear!
Take Control!

I can’t wait to explore and create more photos with this new toy. Adding this unique lens to my arsenal of tools will certainly give me more options to make interesting photos for sure. Once again, thanks Lensbaby, and Shelly for organizing this event. Feeling very lucky, for sure!

Sunny (@zekezachzoom)

Join us later this week when we announce our 2024 Bingo Challenge with ALL new prompts!