Devil's Punchbowl: A Weekend with the Lensbaby Twist 60

Last month, some friends and I rented a 30' camper van and drove to an area in the Angeles National Forest known as Devil's Punchbowl.

We met up Friday evening after everyone got off work, loaded up the camper, and headed on our way. It was a pretty smooth ride until we hit the inclines on Highway 14 where our humongous camper van struggled to maintain a 30mph pace. We ended up having to pull over on the side of the freeway to let the transmission cool down before continuing on. 

The great thing about being in a camper van is that any parking area can be home for the meantime. Our parking area at this time, just happened to be on the side of a busy freeway so after waiting a little bit we decided to push on towards our destination.

We eventually made it in probably double the amount of time it would have taken us to get there had we driven our normal cars, but having the comfort of the RV was an awesome experience since most of us had never been in one before. 

Before embarking on our trip I had recently acquired a Lensbaby Twist 60, and thought it would be the perfect time to run it through its paces.

A little bit about this unique lens is that it is a 60mm f/2.5 and has some of the swirliest bokeh I have ever seen. It's a fully manual lens with an aperture range from f/2.5 to f/22 and comes in Nikon, Canon, and Sony mount options. 

The overall construction of the lens feels great with its metal body and overall I have confidence that the lens will last a while. I wouldn't say it is constructed as well as the pro lenses that I've used, but it has a better quality and feel than a toy lens would. 

The morning after we arrived, we made coffee and breakfast inside of the RV before heading out to explore the area. It was awesome being in the camper and having a nice, comfortable place to hang out, cook, and eat before starting our hike along the Punchbowl Loop Trail.

We spent a few hours walking around the area, crossing small streams, and climbing on random rock faces before heading back to the RV to just relax. I had a great time shooting with the Twist 60 throughout the day, but could definitely see it being used more for portrait work than travel/landscape in my opinion. The lens characteristics remind me of the (more expensive) Petzval lenses because of their amazing trademark swirly bokeh. This lens was absolutely meant to be shot wide open and draw your eye in to the center of the frame. It's really a fun lens and it changes the way you think and frame while shooting it.

Towards the end of the day a storm began rolling in so after having dinner in the camper (spaghetti bolognese!) we decided to get ourselves a little closer home so we can cut down on the driving the next day. We stopped in a town with a Walmart and asked them if we could park overnight there. After we parked we realized that our grey water tank was overflowing and the water was backing up into the sink (not cool). We headed out to a local dump station and figured out how to dump the grey and black water from the RV before spending the night playing games and hanging out at the Walmart parking lot. 

Unfortunately, that's pretty much where this story ends. By the morning, the weather was in full on storm mode so we packed up and headed back home. I definitely wish we had better conditions for the weekend, but it was still a lot of fun hanging out in the RV with everyone and getting out into nature to shoot some photos!