Beyond The Wanderlust » Inspirational Photography Blog for Storytellers Worldwide

Ordinary Magic: Freelensing

Ordinary Magic: Freelensing

By: Joni Burtt of Joni Burtt Photography

I live in rural New Brunswick, Canada, where the winters are long and the summers are buggy.  We spend a lot of time within a square kilometre of our house, rambling in the woods, walking up the road, and playing in the yard.  As a photographer, sometimes I feel like my surroundings are becoming boring and ordinary, despite the fact that we live in a beautiful area.  When you walk the same beaten paths every day, sometimes you fail to see the new and exciting.

Kids never fail.  They see it all – the weeds they call flowers, the slugs they find fascinating, the puddles that are new lakes and oceans for them to press into. Sometimes I feel my breath catch in my throat as I remember the hours I spent in my own backyard as a child, and how those puddles and trees never grew old and tired.

Capturing this kind of magic can be tricky.  How do we portray imagination, fairy-lands, and dreams in our photos?  I am sure there are other ways but I have found mine: freelensing.

Freelensing is simply taking a photograph with your lens detached from the camera.  There are many tutorials online describing how to do it, so I’m not going to do it here; and besides, freelensing is something that produces different results every single time.  That is one of the things I love about it.  It’s like taking a sentence, adding a word here, then doing it again with another word there.  The whole sentence changes, and you see new meaning, new angles.  Such is freelensing, and in my little plot of earth, it takes an ordinary walk and makes it magical.

I don’t free lens every day.  Maybe not even every week.  I find there is a time and a place for it, mainly because of the emotion and storytelling it can evoke.  I like that it brings an air of mystery and question, and that’s not something I want evident in every photo I take.  So I save it for times like this – a damp late-spring morning, when the grass is almost painfully green, when everything is dark and bright at the same time, when you can sense life growing all around you.  I let my daughter run, and I stood back, lens detached, and captured the magic.

Find your magic-maker and see where it takes you.


DSC_9295(1)Joni Burtt, of Joni Burtt Photography, is a freelensing, rule-breaking, natural light photographer serving families and children in beautiful southern New Brunswick, Canada.  When not chasing her children around with a camera, she enjoys cooking, hiking, naps, and thrift shopping. | Facebook | Website

  • Oh Joni, I always come away from viewing your work feeling so inspired. These photographs are incredible.

  • Christine Singleton

    Love your work to pieces Joni. As always, a HUGE inspiration

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