I'm supposed to put what on my camera?

This week's challenge was a little strange for me.  It was a DIY Soft Focus challenge.  The idea is that you take a pair of pantyhose and cover the lens on your camera to get a dreamy soft focus look in your pictures.  You can buy specially made filters that give this look to the images you capture.  The alternative is to use postproduction software to provide this look.  This weeks challenge was to do this not with a filter, not with software, rather with pantyhose. 

Yes, I was going to put pantyhose on my camera.

I was not thrilled with this challenge because soft focus is not my schtick when it comes to photography.  I like sharp and contrasty images.  I told myself that it was a chance to learn something new and that I may find out I like taking these kinds of images after all.

The first thing was to get some pantyhose.  Luckily my wife had to run to the store so she was able to get me some.

Ah yeah, suntan colored hose.

Ah yeah, suntan colored hose.

The next part was to cut up the hose so that I could then mount it on the lens, with a rubber band.

I know your camera is jealous of mine.

I know your camera is jealous of mine.

Now, because these were not the most high end of pantyhose they tended to run.  The example you see in the image above managed to get a run in them before I even left the house.   I took a couple of test shots in the house before I left, no I will not be showing those, so I had an idea of what kind of images might look good.  My idea was at Kubota to try to get some dreamy shots of newly budding flowers or maybe try to get some spooky shots of the forest areas of the park.

I arrived at Kubota late in the afternoon.  I took some fun shots before settling down to get the pictures I needed for this week's assignment.

I loved the way the sunlight was shinning through the bamboo.

I loved the way the sunlight was shinning through the bamboo.

A five shot panorama of the reflecting pond.  Click to get the full effect.  I've really been digging panoramas lately.

A five shot panorama of the reflecting pond.  Click to get the full effect.  I've really been digging panoramas lately.

It was then time to buckle down and put the pantyhose on (my camera).  The first shot I got was of the pond in the above picture.

Not soft and dreamy, it looks muted and blah...

Not soft and dreamy, it looks muted and blah...

A little less muddy, but still not there yet.

A little less muddy, but still not there yet.

Maybe if I add a little off camera flash? No, still not there.

Maybe if I add a little off camera flash? No, still not there.

Finally I was able to capture something that I was okay with.  I don't love this image.  I do like it though and I think it does a good job at capturing the essence of the challenge.  This is on a trail looking down on one of the reflecting ponds at Kubota.

Despite the fact that it was sunny and relatively warm the image looks like it was a cold and foggy day.

Despite the fact that it was sunny and relatively warm the image looks like it was a cold and foggy day.

So, not my favorite challenge. With there being 52 of them this was bound to happen and will happen again.  I did learn a few things though.  The first is that I just do not like the look of pantyhose on the lens.  While I love DIY projects and being able to get interesting looks without spending a lot of money this just didn't work for me.  I did enjoy, despite my grumbling as I walked around the park, working through the limitation of the pantyhose and trying to get a good picture.  It's always good to try different techniques and methods of photography.  It's a chance to learn and grow one's skills, even if you don't like pantyhose on your camera.