Lens Whacking (or The Original Lens Whacker)

by wondrousdavid

First of all I was thrilled with the response to my Double Reversing Lens Blog and I shall do a follow up shortly. Before that however, I would like to welcome you to my new blog post on the art of Lens Whacking.

Lens Whacking is an even simpler technique than the one shown in my last blog, all you have to do is take the lens off the camera, letting more light into the sensor, and hold it at different lengths to the camera, like so:


By lens whacking you can create a dreamy washed out shot that still has a sharp focus point. (If you like, it is a DIY lens baby shot without the lens baby). If you hold the lens close to the camera the shot is more in-focus and  great for portraits. If you hold the lens further away it gives a more abstract look.

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For me Lens Whacking doesn’t really come alive until you do some filming, here you can move the lens both closer to and further from the camera to give a fluid dreamy look, this is demonstrated  with the header video wich is an elongated sequence from my degree film The World Collector taken all the way back in 2011.

Many things have multiple discoveries, while tracking in the Jungle  Alfred Russel Wallace came up with Evolution by Natural Selection at the same time Darwin was just completing his Origins of Species in secret.* Lens Whacking is another. It all started along time ago in the year 2010 in the magical land of Norwich, or perhaps more accurately, Norwich University of the Arts where our hero, a skinny, scruffy haired film student (yours truly) was playing around with a friends 60d. He was switching lenses with the camera was still on when he, accidentally, discovered Lens Whacking (or as he called it Light Bleeding, after 35mm development).

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This is where the story should end, his film was shown to polite appraisal and he graduated with a BA in 2011 as a fully fledged filmmaker. Then in 2012 something strange was happening, Twitter was abuzz with this revelatory way of filming it was called Lens Whacking. All my friends where doing it, all their friends where doing it and by all accounts it spread from Philip Bloom, DSLR Guru. I was aghast. IT WAS LIGHT BLEEDING, and not even a footnote talking about me. So go, have fun, and play around with the process, it’s both very easy to do and a lot of fun. But please remember the moral of this post:



*Not quite as simple as this you understand. Darwin’s theory implied in Origin (and given full attention in his behemoth of a read The Descent of Man) that humans were a part of his tree of life, Wallace saw humans (or rather human’s mind) as separate thus putting a nail in his intellectual coffin that T H Huxley gladly hammered in… this is all very interesting and I could not recommend looking Darwin’s life, his scientific ideas and his companions enough.