I’ve been fascinated with Lytro since the company published its first “living” photos in 2011. Having gotten into semi-pro photography well after the shift to digital, it was exciting to get swept up in the idea that we might be quickly approaching another big revolution. So you could say I was thrilled when we finally got our hands on the Lytro Illum, a newer, better version that actually looked like a camera and not a tube of lipstick.

I instantly loved the Illum. At the outset there were what seemed like tiny little problems — the tap-to-focus action on the camera’s touchscreen wouldn’t always register, for example — but just 20 minutes spent shooting around Bryant Park had me beaming. The challenge of composing an image with subjects on different planes was fun, and it made me think completely differently about what kinds of images I should make. Back in the office I was still running high on the experience, particularly while I was using the perspective-shift feature. Sure, photos or video can evoke similar feelings, but this was different. Photos I took hours before were now making me feel like I was back outside; I could practically feel the heat in between rows of cars stopped at a red light or the spray of a fountain.