Larkspur Palms #4 | Mark Lindsay

I think this is it. Lensbaby and I are over. I tend to embrace projects with an obsessive enthusiasm, kind of like shooting a Roman candle into the sky. Pfffffffft! My projects soar into the sky with great intention. The loftiness is palpable. So too is gravity and the crash is inevitable. The better projects tend to live to see another day and another burst of optimism. The lesser ones land with the smell of burnt sulfur. I'm not sure what to make of this one.

The Lensbaby project of mid-2010 was fun while it lasted. I photographed everything I could with the lens for about two weeks. It felt freeing and I suspect it's something that I should do periodically. For now, I'm simply tired of wrestling with the thing. Furthermore, the images looked better in the viewfinder than they did in final image. The better images were inspiring. Sadly, however, about 80% reminded me of being drunk. The simulation was so realistic they made me nauseous. So, I took off the Lensbaby, cleaned the whole camera of its dusty patina, and went back to shooting in normal mode again. Normal is good, especially when your pictures make you think you have the whirlies.

On my final outing with Lensbaby I encountered a man and his dog. "Getting any good shots?" he asked while his poodle was squatting. My camera always elicits a response from people, especially men.

"Yes!" I replied. "I'm shooting with this lens that makes everything blurry."

"Well, you need to change that!" he said. His poodle finished its business and started tugging at his arm.

"No, no," I answered. "I want the images to be blurry." This was just before they started making me want to puke.

"Okay. Whatever." he said, looking at me now in a less-trusting way.

"Photographic advice from a man with a poodle," I muttered to myself as we walked in opposite directions. I tried not to shake my head until he was around the bend. I find it curious that most everyone has an opinion about photography. I suppose it's because they all have cameras these days. There was a time when having a good camera was relatively rare, relegated to serious enthusiasts. No more. Everyone has a good camera now and everyone is an expert.

Rest assured that I'm not putting the Lensbaby away because of the poodle man. I don't even think it's because of the whirlies it evoked. I think the blur project was meant for me to free up my work and make me less rigid. It helped me to simplify, to move in and be more involved in my photographic process. That influence remains now, even though I've taken off the lens.

My final walk with Lensbaby brought me to the Larkspur Palms, the subject of another of my on-again, off-again projects. These palms remain a fascination, a touchstone of sorts that I like to visit while in different moods and modes of expression. It's satisfying that I ended my experiment in familiar territory with a favorite subject so close to home.