ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog en-us (C) ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Thu, 30 Nov 2017 04:57:00 GMT Thu, 30 Nov 2017 04:57:00 GMT http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u103268239-o220465168-50.jpg ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog 120 120 Creative Photography Conference, May 19-20, 2018, Southbridge, MA. http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/11/creative-photography-conference I'm excited to be presenting at the Creative Photography Conference in Southbridge, MA., May 19-20, 2018. Thank you to Hazel Meredith for inviting me! More information about my presentation to come soon. 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) creative photography conference hazel meredith lensbaby photography conference creativity flower photography http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/11/creative-photography-conference Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:36:00 GMT
A Trip to Longwood Gardens http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/10/a-trip-to-longwood-gardens Oh my goodness! I have been so lax in my blog posts this fall. I just realized I hadn't posted anything since August! It has indeed been a busy Fall/busy year, full of so many glorious things - frequent trips to Boston to spend time with family and my new granddaughter, conferences and speaking engagements, Lensbaby demos, as well as trying to honor my promise to myself that I faithfully carve out time for my own creative growth. It is so important as a teacher and an artist to take time for your own photography - a time to play, experiment and reenergize your creativity. That is exactly why I treated myself to three full days of blissful photographing at Longwood Garden near Philadelphia in late August. I love Longwood Gardens; you could not ask for a more beautiful garden full of wonderful subjects, friendly staff and incredible vistas at every turn. And thank you to two friends I treasure - Chung Kim and Mary Malinconico - who live relatively close to Longwood and met me to enjoy some shooting, too. 

I timed my trip so that the dahlias would be in their glory. At Chicago Botanic Garden we did not have our usual array of dahlias because the Garden took on a Brazilian theme and areas that usually have plentiful dahlias were planted with tropical plants this summer. As a result, I was especially eager to photograph one of my favorite flowers at Longwood and they did not disappoint.

One of my stops on the first day was the Flower Garden Walk, an area teeming with 1000's of dahlias.

                 Lensbaby Velvet 85mm 

DahliaDahlia                 Lensbaby Velvet 56mm Cheerful DahliaCheerful Dahlia                  Canon 100mm Macro Dahlia from BehindDahlia from Behind                  Lensbaby Velvet 56mm Glowing Velvety PetalsGlowing Velvety Petals                                                                  Lensbaby Velvet 85mm DahliaDahlia

As I was leaving Longwood after my first full day of shooting, a friendly volunteer stopped me to talk and ask about my photography. I told her how much I loved dahlias and she asked if I had visited the Trial Garden. Well, no, I hadn't gotten there that day but I had an hour until the Gardens closed, so I raced over. Oh my! Talk about dahlia heaven...rows and rows and rows of dahlias they were trying out for future planting! I had beautiful early evening light, so I got to work! I immediately knew where I was going to spend a good part of day two! It was there on the 2nd day that I ran into an Out of Chicago conference attendee, Helen Wagner, who happens to be a horticulturist at Longwood. Small world! Helen is one of those people you meet and can't help but love her immediately. 

I am so drawn to dahlias with interesting curls. They have so much more personality. Although a dahlia show judge would tell you this is imperfect and would not even be included in a dahlia competition, it is pure perfection to me! 

                                                                   Canon 100mm Macro Dahlia CurlsDahlia Curls                  Canon 100mm Macro Dahlia at Longwood GardensDahlia at Longwood Gardens                  Canon 100mm Macro Dahlia at Longwood GardensDahlia at Longwood Gardens                                        Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 50 Optic and Macro Converters

Dahlia Close-UpDahlia Close-Up Of course, the waterlilies at Longwood captured my attention, as well. They have a magnificent display! The light was challenging while I was there, often too strong for photographing flowers without being able to diffuse them. I typically only shoot aquatic flowers on bright overcast days. I found plenty of flowers in more shaded areas to keep me happy. Most of my waterlilies are shot with my Canon 70-300mm lens because they are farther away. 

'Texas Shell Pink' Waterlily - Longwood Gardens'Texas Shell Pink' Waterlily - Longwood Gardens Waterlily at Longwood GardenWaterlily at Longwood Garden Longwood Aquatic BeautyLongwood Aquatic Beauty 'Emily Grant Hutchings' Night Flowering Waterlily'Emily Grant Hutchings' Night Flowering Waterlily Trio of WaterliliesTrio of Waterlilies Lastly, in the Conservatory, which has endless subjects and is so large you can easily get lost, I spent a lot of time with the roses and ferns, two of my favorite subjects at any garden.

How perfect to find a rose with a heart in the center! 

                  Canon 100mm Macro

Heart of the RoseHeart of the Rose                  Canon 100mm Macro Soft and PinkSoft and Pink                                                                    Lensbaby Velvet 85mm Fern UnfurlingFern Unfurling                                                                    Lensbaby Velvet 85mm

Ruffles of the Bird's Nest FernRuffles of the Bird's Nest Fern What a wonderful treat to spend 3 full days at such a beautiful garden! I intend to travel to Longwood more in the future and hopefully do some Out of Chicago workshops there. Stay tuned! 

Next up: The National Dahlia Show at Chicago Botanic Garden! Imagine a flower show with 1000's of dahlias, all posed for photographing!

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) longwood gardens flower photography garden photography lensbaby velvet 56mm lensbaby velvet 85mm dahlias waterlilies ferns roses macro photography http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/10/a-trip-to-longwood-gardens Tue, 31 Oct 2017 20:15:13 GMT
In the Water with the Waterlilies - Garfield Park Conservatory http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/8/in-the-water-with-the-water-lilies---garfield-park-conservatory If you live in the Chicago area, we are so fortunate to have three wonderful places to photograph flowers and plant life. Of course, most people who know me know I spend a lot of time at Chicago Botanic Garden. It is just a few miles from my home and it has become my "home away from home" through my years of photographing flowers and botanicals. We also have two other gems in our area - Garfield Park Conservatory and Lincoln Park Conservatory, places I spend a lot of time in the winter months. After spending this past Saturday at Garfield Park Conservatory for a unique and wonderful experience called "In the Water with the Waterlilies," I came to realize that Garfield is a wonderful place to photograph year-round and it has incredible and beautiful outdoor gardens to explore in the summer, gardens I didn't even know existed before. The large aquatic garden, teeming with water lilies and lotuses, is only one of those outdoor spaces to explore.

WaterlilyWaterlily "In the Water with the Waterlilies" was, without a doubt, one of the best experiences of the summer for me. The program was led by Kathy Cahill, a Horticulturist and Aquatic Specialist at Garfield. I have known Kathy for a few years and she is one of the nicest, most generous souls I have ever met. Her love of plants is infectious and her willingness to share her knowledge and help others is generous. She is the best possible ambassador for GPC. All the horticulturists and staff at Garfield have impressed me with their friendliness - plain and simple, it's a happy place!

On Saturday we started our morning with breakfast foods, coffee and warm introductions. A huge thank you to Mattie Wilson who organized all the details of the morning, another gem at GPC. The group quickly became very friendly and interactive, which made the experience even more fun. The class was a small group of 10, composed of artists, photographers, scientists and water lily enthusiasts who simply wanted the experience of getting up close and personal with the waterlilies in the water. We learned a bit about the layout of the large pond, what to expect in the water (including the 3 resident Koi named "Noah," "Bubbles" and "Casper" (yes, Casper is white), and how to navigate around waterlilies. I learned an interesting thing I never realized in all my years of photographing waterlilies - a harmless dye is added to the water to darken it. It serves several purposes: controlling algae, making the pond appear deeper and more aesthetically pleasing, and protecting fish from predators. It's also great for us photographers, creating nice dark water to help highlight the real stars, the flowers.

Waterlily Close-UpWaterlily Close-Up Then, into the water we went! We spent about 1 1/2 hours in the water, free to roam within the two areas of the large pond, with Kathy's total trust and blessing to enjoy ourselves. And enjoy ourselves we did! There were literally 100's of waterlilies in the pond. You had to plan your route, as the water lilies are lush and densely planted and it was challenging getting through entwined stems and pads of the plants. What a thrill to be able to get right up close, to touch and smell the waterlilies. The water was about mid-thigh deep - I wore swim shorts, a quick drying swim shirt and water shoes. I went in with my camera and 100mm macro lens as well as a diffuser to block the strong sunlight.

'Nangkwag Muang Prai' Waterlily'Nangkwag Muang Prai' Waterlily The above waterlily was my favorite of the morning - 'Nangkwag Muang Prai,' also known as a "Summoning Lady" or "Waving Princess," referring to the foliage that looks like it is waving. I had never seen a water lily with foliage like this - stunningly beautiful!

The two artists in our group parked themselves with their paints and canvases near a Red Russian lotus that was beginning to open. This shot below was taken from the bridge looking down on the lotus from above. The bridge divides the two sections of the aquatic pond.

Opening LotusOpening Lotus

WaterlilyWaterlily  

Up Close with the WaterliliesUp Close with the Waterlilies Below is the underside of a Victoria Waterlily pad. We had to be careful not to get too close to these magnificent pads - the thorns protect them from predators in the water.

Underside of a Waterlily PadUnderside of a Waterlily Pad What a wonderful day this was! I hope GPC will offer this experience again. I encourage you to visit Garfield and explore the many rooms inside the conservatory but also enjoy the outdoor spaces. It is truly a treasure of a place in Chicago!

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) flower photography in the water with the waterlilies lotus macro photography nangkwag muang prai waterlily summer victoria waterlily pad waterlilies garfield park conservatory http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/8/in-the-water-with-the-water-lilies---garfield-park-conservatory Mon, 07 Aug 2017 23:41:10 GMT
Atlas Moths at the Chicago Botanic Garden http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/7/atlas-moths-at-the-chicago-botanic-garden This is my 5th year photographing the butterflies at the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit for Chicago Botanic Garden. I dearly love this early morning time with the butterflies - a chance to capture their beauty and learn about these wonderful creatures, then share my images with the Garden. This year the exhibit has been moved to its permanent location at the Regenstein Learning Campus and it is better than ever. After being away for a couple of weeks I came back to a lush garden full of beautiful flowers and so many butterflies, as well as an incredible display of Atlas moths. When I was there on Wednesday, there were 6 Atlas moths in the serviceberry tree near the pupae emergence room. Since then, 4 more have emerged and been released, bringing the total to 10!

Female Atlas Moth

Atlas MothAtlas Moth Atlas moths belong to the Saturniidae family and are native to the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia.  They are the largest moth in the world in terms of wing surface and their wing span can reach 10-12 inches.  There are varying theories as to why the moth is called the Atlas moth - perhaps being named after the titan of Greek mythology, or because of their atlas or map-like wing patterns, or perhaps because in Cantonese the name translates into "snake's head moth," referring to the patterning of the curved forewing tip that resembles a snake's head with eye spot.

Mating Female and Male Atlas Moths - the male is the smaller moth on top

Atlas Moths MatingAtlas Moths Mating When the moths emerge from the cocoon they have no mouth parts and do not eat, relying only on their fat stores from the caterpillar stage.  Their sole purpose once they emerge is to reproduce. They live only 1 - 2 weeks.  The female secretes a pheromone to attract her mate.  The male Atlas uses his long feathery antennae, which are much larger than the female antennae, to detect the pheromones and find the female.  Once the eggs are laid, the moth dies.  The caterpillars emerge 10-14 days later and the cycle of life begins again - egg, caterpillar, pupa and moth.

Side View of a Female Atlas 

Atlas MothAtlas Moth Atlas MothAtlas Moth Close up of the female Atlas from a previous year - note the transparent triangular windows on the wings.

Atlas Moth - FemaleAtlas Moth - Female Atlas Moth - FemaleAtlas Moth - Female If you haven't been to Butterflies and Blooms yet this year, I highly recommend getting there soon to see these fascinating creatures before they are gone, along with lots of other butterflies and beautiful flowers. 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) butterflies butterflies and blooms butterfly photography flower photography macro photography moths atlas moths chicago botanic garden http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/7/atlas-moths-at-the-chicago-botanic-garden Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:07:05 GMT
Lens Review for the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/7/lens-review-for-the-lensbaby-velvet-85mm Hello Friends! Lensbaby asked me to do a review of the Velvet 85mm for their blog and you can read it here.

So many people have been emailing me with questions about the difference between the Velvet 56mm and the Velvet 85mm. I hope this review will help you understand the differences. I personally would not want to choose between the two lenses. They are both in my bag all the time and used every time I am out on a shoot. Please don't hesitate to contact me through my website if you have questions I can help you with. 

A few images shot recently with the Velvet 85mm...

DahliaDahlia 'Firepot' Waterlily Dahlia'Firepot' Waterlily Dahlia Gooseneck LoosestrifeGooseneck Loosestrife

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) lensbaby velvet 85mm lensbaby velvet 56mm flower photography chicago botanic garden dahlias lens review http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/7/lens-review-for-the-lensbaby-velvet-85mm Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:10:10 GMT
The New Lensbaby Velvet 85mm http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/6/the-new-lensbaby-velvet-85mm Tulip at Tower Hill Botanic GardenTulip at Tower Hill Botanic Garden Yesterday Lensbaby finally launched the new Velvet 85mm lens. I was honored to be asked by Lensbaby to beta test the lens, so I have been shooting with it since the beginning of March. I was literally jumping up and down when the UPS man rang the doorbell and I immediately headed out to give this lens a whirl! Do you know how hard it is to shoot with a lens you are so excited about and not talk about it or share any images until launch day - for four full months?! Finally I can bring those images out of hiding and share them along with my enthusiasm for this lens with others. I'm already getting lots of questions, so hopefully this blog post will answer them.

First, some specs:

Manual Focus and Manual Aperture

Focal Length: 85mm

Aperture Range: f/1.8 - f/16

Minimum Focusing Distance: 9.5 inches (Macro 1:2)

Compatibility: APS-C and Full Frame - Canon DSLR, Nikon DSLR, Sony E, Sony Alpha, Fuji X, Micro 4/3, Pentax K, Samsung NX

Weight: 18.7 oz.

Like the Velvet 56mm (which many of you have heard me say is my favorite lens ever), the Velvet 85mm has that signature velvety, ethereal glow when shot in the lower apertures. The Velvet 85mm is being marketed primarily as a portrait lens. The added compression with the longer focal length and the beautiful bokeh makes it a perfect choice for portrait work, rivaling any great quality 85mm portrait lens.

That being said, it is also a great close-up lens capable of capturing detail along with that signature glow. I primarily use both the Velvets between f/2 and f/5.6 because I want that ethereal look to my images. Focusing at 9.5 inches means it won't get in quite as close as the Velvet 56mm, which focuses at 5 inches, but when you need to get closer, you can always use an extension tube to move in closer. Like the Velvet 56mm, it is perfect for flower photography. The area where it outperforms the Velvet 56mm in my opinion is when you do pull back a bit to include more background. What the Velvet 85mm does to backgrounds will make you swoon (see image above). There are no other words than to say that bokeh is delicious! Yes, the Velvet 56mm produces gorgeous backgrounds, too. If you have heard me talk about flower photography, I talk a lot about the importance of backgrounds. One of the reasons I love all Lensbaby lenses is the beautiful backgrounds they create straight out of camera, very little if any post processing needed. The Velvet 85mm takes that beautiful background a step further.  I will be curious to hear other reviews of the lens, but I also found it easier to focus than the Velvet 56mm. That may be due to the fact that I have an easier time focusing when pulled back a slight bit. I have found myself nailing the focus with very little struggle.  

So bottom line, I know I'm going to get asked, "which one is for me?" Well, in all honesty, being the Lensbaby addict that I am, I will use both equally. If you are a flower photographer who likes to work close to your subjects, the 56mm probably fits the bill. But, if you like doing portrait work or you like pulling back a little in photographing flowers and want that added compression, then the 85mm would be your baby. When I want to be up very close, I'll have the 56mm on, but when photographing groups of flowers (it was amazing with orchids), I'll have the 85mm on. And when I'm photographing my new granddaughter (I'm learning to love newborn photography), I'll reach for the 85mm.

I also encourage those with both the 56mm and the 85mm to do some magical landscapes with the lenses. I have never considered myself a landscape photographer but I began experimenting with both lenses this spring and it has opened a new door for me. I'm now constantly on the lookout for landscapes and small scenes to capture with a bit of magical glow.

And now I'm going to deluge you with a lot of images from the Velvet 85mm...Enjoy! 

  Tulipa 'Cash'Tulipa 'Cash' Shy TulipShy Tulipa 'Foxtrot' Crabapples in BloomCrabapples in Bloom Phalaenopsis OrchidsPhalaenopsis Orchids Phalaenopsis OrchidPhalaenopsis Orchid RoseRose Like VelvetLike Velvet RannunculusRannunculus FernFern Tulipa 'Ice Cream'Tulipa 'Ice Cream' TulipTulip Bending in the WindBending in the Wind FernFern Unfolding Echinopsis 'Apricot Glow'Echinopsis 'Apricot Glow' A Peek InsideA Peek Inside Graceful FernGraceful Fern The lens is currently selling for $499.95. For more information or to preorder the lens, visit the Lensbaby website at lensbaby.com. Lens will be available for shipping on July 11. Please don't hesitate to email me through my website with any questions about the new lens. I'm always happy to talk flower photography or Lensbaby!

 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Lensbaby, Lensbaby Velvet 85mm, Velvet 85mm, Velvet 56mm, flower photography, macro photography, soft focus, Chicago Botanic Garden http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/6/the-new-lensbaby-velvet-85mm Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:32:44 GMT
Some Tulip Favorites - A Feast for the Eyes! http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/5/some-tulip-favorites---a-feast-for-the-eyes This spring the tulips at Chicago Botanic Garden have been extraordinary. When I photograph flowers, I am on the lookout for interesting subjects with personality or character. Tulips have always been one of my favorite flowers to photograph. They are flowers full of personality, wonderful lines, curves and unique curls. Some years are better than others for finding interesting tulips. This year I feel like I hit the jackpot! Of the early tulips, these pink beauties were my favorites. I shared a post earlier with some of these tulips. They were not labeled so I don't know the name but they were so full of personality, I spent days photographing them. 

The graceful curving leaf wrapping itself around this bud made it a beautiful subject.

Graceful CurveGraceful Curve  This one is clearly a dancer. I think she's doing the flamenco!

Dancing TulipDancing Tulip And perhaps another dancing pose.

Tulip with an AttitudeTulip with an Attitude This one was shot with the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm to create a soft, ethereal look to this tulip with its beautiful curving leaf. 

Tulip StudyTulip Study  Another tulip I loved photographing was the Tulipa 'Akebono' in the beds outside the Graham Bulb Garden. The beautiful sherbet-like colors, popping red edge and the sweeping lines of the petals made these perfect to create more abstract compositions. 

Or pull back and show the graceful lines of these tulips. Tulipa 'Akebono'Tulipa 'Akebono' Tulipa 'Akebono'Tulipa 'Akebono' But my favorite tulip of all time made an appearance again this year in the Sensory Garden and I was thrilled - Tulipa 'Ice Cream." Talk about personality! This tulip is loaded with personality and looks good enough to eat when it fully opens. These are the latest of the tulips to bloom, in fact, they are still opening slowly but surely. They are spectacular at each stage, from bud to fully open. 

Tulipa 'Ice Cream'Tulipa 'Ice Cream' And look at that unique curl of the leaf. What a great find! Tulipa 'Ice Cream'Tulipa 'Ice Cream' As they open they begin to reveal the "ice cream" within. I'm thinking vanilla, what about you?

Tulipa 'Ice Cream'Tulipa 'Ice Cream' I even stood in the rain with my umbrella to catch this one covered in raindrops. Just like an ice cream cone!  Tulipa 'Ice Cream'Tulipa 'Ice Cream' And fully open...it's a bowl of ice cream! I adore these tulips! Tulipa 'Ice Cream'Tulipa 'Ice Cream' Although many of the tulips have come and gone, there are still so many beautiful things to see at the Garden right now. Did you read my last post about the crabapples in bloom? They are still beautiful, but they won't last much longer before dropping all their petals like snow. Soon the spring gardens will make way for the summer gardens and there will be a whole new palette of color and beauty to capture. Can't wait for water lilies and dahlias! 

 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Chicago Botanic Garden, spring, tulips, Tulipa Akebono, Tulipa Ice Cream, flower photography, macro photography http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/5/some-tulip-favorites---a-feast-for-the-eyes Sat, 13 May 2017 00:51:45 GMT
Lensbaby Blog Post http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/5/lensbaby-blog-post Graceful CurveGraceful Curve                                                            Lensbaby Velvet 56mm

I was thrilled to be asked to write an article on flower photography for the Lensbaby blog. It is such a pleasure to share my enthusiasm for their wonderful lenses. Please enjoy the post at lensbaby.com. My favorite lens, the Velvet 56mm, is on sale right now at lensbaby.com - $100 off. That's a great deal! After reading my post you'll understand why it is my all-time favorite lens. 

There is still time to join me at the Out of Chicago Summer Conference, June 23-25. I'll be presenting two programs and leading an all day workshop at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Lensbaby reps will be there, too, and you can try Lensbabies all weekend, during my workshop, my flower shootout and for the photowalk Lensbaby is leading. You can read more about this wonderful conference and register here. Use the code "belmont100" to receive $100 off the conference. From Art Wolfe's opening talk on Friday to Rick Sammon's closing talk on Sunday, the weekend is jam-packed with learning and fun. 

It's been a beautiful spring at Chicago Botanic Garden. I've been photographing almost every day and will be sharing more images soon. Happy spring and get out and enjoy nature! 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Lensbaby, seeinanewway, Lensbaby Velvet 56mm, Out of Chicago Summer Conference, flower photography, Chicago Botanic Garden http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/5/lensbaby-blog-post Fri, 12 May 2017 03:30:25 GMT
Crabapples in Bloom http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/5/crabapples-in-bloom One of my favorite events at the Chicago Botanic Garden is the week when the scores of crabapples burst into bloom. We are right at the peak of that bloom now. A walk around the Great Basin is a must this time of year. Start at the Lakeside Garden path near the English Walled Garden and enter a canopy of crabapples lining the path. Each year when I see this view, I feel like a young child entering a fairyland. It is a magical sight that fills me with awe.

Lakeside Garden - Crabapples in BloomLakeside Garden - Crabapples in Bloom Crabapple PathCrabapple Path

This year I decided to try my Lensbaby Velvet 56mm to capture the mystical and ethereal feeling the trees evoke. I love the results! Today was quite sunny and the Velvet captured the sparkling flowers as if they were dancing in the sunlight. 

Sunny CrabapplesSunny Crabapples Crabapple Path in SpringCrabapple Path in Spring If you continue on the path to the right toward the Arch Bridge, the canopy of beautiful blossoms continues.

Mystical CrabapplesMystical Crabapples Cross over the bridge to Evening Island and continue around the Lake Basin with beautiful views of the crabapples and their variation in color from white to pink to red. Beautiful views abound at every turn. This is one of my favorite views looking back toward Evening Island at the Serpentine Bridge.  

Crabapples on Evening IslandCrabapples on Evening Island There are other lovely garden views scattered around the Garden, as well.

Quiet Place in the GardenQuiet Place in the Garden Sit and Soak in the BeautySit and Soak in the Beauty Crabapples in Bloom at the GardenCrabapples in Bloom at the Garden Crabapple in Graham Bulb GardenCrabapple in Graham Bulb Garden And, yes, as a macro flower photographer I am always on the lookout for subjects to capture up close. This one was captured with my 180mm macro and look at the gorgeous background that lens creates.

Selkirk CrabappleSelkirk Crabapple And this with the Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Twist optic. What a fun optic the Twist is!

Crabapple Blossoms in SpringCrabapple Blossoms in Spring If you live in the Chicago area, this is the time to visit the Garden. Not only are the crabapples at peak but there are still many beautiful tulips in bloom. I wish we could hold on to this time of year a bit longer - it is so fleeting but, without a doubt, my favorite time of year.

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Crabapples, spring, Chicago Botanic Garden, Lakeside Garden Path, Great Basin, flower photography, garden scenes http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/5/crabapples-in-bloom Sat, 06 May 2017 03:55:34 GMT
What's in Bloom http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/4/whats-in-bloom Spring is well on its way at the Chicago Botanic Garden! This week the staff has been busy planting all the gardens and pots with spring blooms. Each day new flowers are being added. The daffodils are in bloom, the magnolias are opening, a few early tulips are already in bloom and the rest of the tulips are not far behind. If temps stay warm and we continue to get some sunshine, it looks like many will begin to open next week and, as always, it will be a spectacular display of color. These past few days I have been photographing a small patch of pink tulips in the courtyard between the Sensory Garden and the Enabling Garden. These tulips were transferred there from the production greenhouses already in bloom. I fell in love with their soft, interesting petal variations and lovely leaves, many of them enveloping the buds in a hug.

Graceful CurveGraceful Curve TulipTulip EmbraceEmbrace Tulip StudyTulip Study Tulip with an AttitudeTulip with an Attitude This same type of tulip was planted in an indoor display in Regenstein last week and I enjoyed photographing them there while waiting for more blooms outdoors. These have since been replaced with other tulips and spring blooms.

TulipTulip Tulip TextureTulip Texture TulipTulip Another patch of tulips that I have found blooming are in a raised bed at the south end of the Graham Bulb Garden, a colorful treat for the eyes. In this first image, I was much more interested in the graceful curve of the leaf than the flower itself.

Graceful LineGraceful Line Early TulipEarly Tulip This is just the beginning! In the coming weeks there will be tulips in bloom everywhere. Stay tuned for more updates! Happy spring and happy Easter weekend! 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Tulips, Chicago Botanic Garden, Spring, flower photography, macro photography, Lensbaby Velvet 56, spring flowers http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/4/whats-in-bloom Fri, 14 Apr 2017 19:44:36 GMT
The Arrival of Spring http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/4/the-arrival-of-spring Spring is finally arriving! It has come slowly with fits and starts - some encouraging and much-welcomed days of warmth and sunshine, followed by cold, rain, grey skies and even some significant snow in March. The appearance of the crocuses blanketing the grassy hillside on Evening Island at the Chicago Botanic Garden this past week is a sure sign that we are well on our way. They were in full bloom this past weekend and will likely last through the week. It is always a breathtakingly beautiful sight and a welcome sign that spring has truly begun. I spent two days photographing them this weekend. There is ample space between the clusters of flowers to sit (take a garbage bag to sit on - trust me on this one!) and get low to the ground to photograph them. I use my 100mm macro as well as my Lensbaby lenses to capture these flowers in a variety of ways. When pulled back to include a cluster of flowers, I tend to shoot in a lower aperture to blur the brown grass. When getting in close for a macro shot of the inside of the flower I experiment with a range of apertures and have extension tubes handy if I want to get in extra close.

I will be presenting a program on "The Art of Flower Photography" at the Morton Arboretum Photographic Society on Monday, April 10th at 7 p.m. Guests are welcome. Please visit the MAPS website for more information.

We are still accepting registrations for the Out of Chicago Summer Conference, June 23-25. I will be conducting an all-day shoot at The Chicago Botanic Garden on Friday, a class "Let's Get Creative with Flower Photography" (all about Lensbaby) on Saturday as well as a flower shootout in the afternoon. On Sunday I teach a class "The Art of Flower Photography." Please join us for what is the best photography conference around - loads of fun, learning and hands-on shooting. Use the code "belmont100" to receive $100 off. 

Enjoy some spring crocuses and stay tuned - I'm watching carefully for the emergence of tulips - we are getting close!

'Remembrance' Dutch Crocuses on Evening Island'Remembrance' Dutch Crocuses on Evening Island 'Remembrance' Dutch Crocuses on Evening Island'Remembrance' Dutch Crocuses on Evening Island Petal DancerPetal Dancer 'Remembrance' Dutch Crocuses on Evening Island'Remembrance' Dutch Crocuses on Evening Island 'Remembrance' Dutch Crocuses on Evening Island'Remembrance' Dutch Crocuses on Evening Island Crocus in SpringCrocus in Spring

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Crocus, 'Remembrance' Dutch Crocus, Chicago Botanic Garden, Evening Island, flower photography, macro photography, Lensbaby, spring, spring blooms http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/4/the-arrival-of-spring Tue, 04 Apr 2017 16:56:13 GMT
The 2017 Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/2/the-2017-orchid-show-at-the-chicago-botanic-garden Sometimes those of us who enjoy photographing the world up-close have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden is truly spectacular this year! One of my favorite views is of the arches filled with Vanda orchids of every color in the palm allée of the Tropical Greenhouse. The Garden really outdid itself with so many of the displays. I'm proud to have my 40 X 60 inch orchid photographs exhibited Krehbiel Gallery once again this year. Come step into a paradise of over 10,000 orchids in the midst of winter.

If you missed my articles on orchid photography last year, both here in my blog and the article I wrote for the Out of Chicago website, I have provided the links below. I hope they will help you get some great photographs in the show this year. My one recommendation I would add for this year's show is to pack a longer focal length lens in your bag. Many orchids are set back or up high, making them difficult to photograph unless you have a longer lens. I carry my 180mm macro and my 70-300mm along with my 100mm macro and all my Lensbaby gear. Yes, my pack gets a bit heavy, but I'd rather be prepared than sorry!

A Look at this Year's Orchid Show at The Chicago Botanic Garden - Out of Chicago, Feb. 2016

Photographing the Orchids at the Orchid Show - Feb 2016 - talks about using a macro ring light with orchids

Enjoy the show and have fun photographing the beautiful and always fascinating orchids!

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Chicago Botanic Garden, 2017 Orchid Show, flower photography, orchids, orchid photography, macro photography, orchid show http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/2/the-2017-orchid-show-at-the-chicago-botanic-garden Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:27:41 GMT
The Out of Chicago Summer Conference http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/1/the-out-of-chicago-summer-conference

This June, I'll be teaching at the fourth annual Out of Chicago Conference! I hope you can join me for what will be an amazing experience, with classes, workshops and photowalks in the heart of Downtown Chicago! Save $50 until February 18 when you use the code "EARLYSUMMER" — register now at http://outofchicago.com/summer.

On Friday, I'll be leading an all-day workshop with Ben Hutchinson from Lensbaby - "Photographing the Flowers and Landscapes of the Chicago Botanic Garden"

What could be more fun than a day of shooting the flowers and the garden landscapes of a world class garden right here in Chicago - The Chicago Botanic Garden! Anne will guide you to the best places to photograph and help you master the techniques of flower photography. Ben, as our favorite Lensbaby rep, will help you master the use of these creative and fun lenses for both close up and landscape shooting. Bring your macro lenses, a tripod and we’ll have Lensbaby lenses available for you to try if you don’t own them. This workshop will include an online meeting prior to the conference when we’ll talk about flower photography basics and details of the day. Transportation will be provided. 

On Saturday I have a class - "Lets Get Creative with Flower Photography

Learn to see beyond the sharply focused image to the magic of seeing and photographing flowers in a whole new artistic way. This class will focus on how to use aperture and selective focus with both traditional macro lenses and creative lenses to create evocative and beautiful portraits of flowers. We will explore a whole new way of looking at flowers, learning to see and isolate beautiful, interesting and often unnoticed details. Learn about the magic of Lensbaby lenses to create beautiful blur and creative effects in photographing flowers. Anne will offer tips and techniques for using the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm and the Lensbaby optic swap system. 

On Sunday my class is "The Art of Flower Photography"

This presentation will explore how to create flower images with impact and emotion. We will discuss the concept of learning to see flowers differently, to find the beauty in the small, often unnoticed details - the patterns, textures and unique personality each flower presents. We will explore the importance of good light, compositional ideas and how to deal with difficult backgrounds. Most importantly we’ll look at aperture to create both selective focus images as well as sharply focused images, helping you to create your own unique style of seeing and capturing flowers. Learn to see beyond the obvious, to develop the ability to see and photograph flowers more artistically.

For more info about our fantastic weekend full of fun, please visit http://outofchicago.com/summerr. Hope to see you all there!

 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Out of Chicago, photography conference, flower photography, Chicago Botanic Garden, Anne Belmont, Lensbaby http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/1/the-out-of-chicago-summer-conference Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:45:21 GMT
Macro Photo Conference, October 2017 in Cleveland http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/1/macro-photo-conference-october-2107-in-cleveland Pretty in Pink RosePretty in Pink Rose I am honored to be one of seven speakers at Mike Moats fourth annual Macro Photo Conference. This year it is being held in Cleveland in October, 2017. I will be presenting alongside some great photographers, including Mike Moats, Charles Needle, John Gerlack, Jamie Konarski Davidson and Varina Patel. My program: "The Art of Flower Photography in a Botanical Garden." Here's what Mike writes about the conference:

Macro Photo Conference 2017

by Mike Moats

Fourth Annual Macro Photo Conference 2017

This is a unique annual photo conference dedicated to macro photography. I’ve always wanted to design a program where professional photographers could come together and teach their skills in macro photography and post processing techniques to those who want to learn, and advance their macro photography to the next level.

This Macro Photo Conference will have plenty of how-to lectures and five hours of photographing with varying subject matter. The speakers will be available to help participants with composing subjects and technical aspects. So you need to bring your camera, macro lens, and tripod.
Speakers will have their books available, and will be happy to sign them for you.
Leading New England photo retailer Hunt’s Photo will be there selling lots of photo products. Tamron will have a tech rep on hand with lenses available for you to try out.
There will be a limit of 100 participants, and it should sell out quick. Last year we had participants from 23 different states.
Location:
Crowne Plaza – 7230 Engle Road, Middleburg Heights, Ohio 44130
(near Cleveland)
Hotel Front Desk (440) 243-4040
Dates: October 28th and 29th 2017
Times: Saturday 8:00am to 6pm – Sunday 8:00am – 3pm
Cost: $199

To learn more about the programs and register, go to Mike's website. Hope to see you all in Cleveland!

 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Mike Moats, Macro Photography Conference, macro photography, Anne Belmont, Charles Needle, John Gerlach, Jamie Konarski Davidson, Varina Patel, The Art of Flower Photography in a Botanical Garden http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2017/1/macro-photo-conference-october-2107-in-cleveland Wed, 04 Jan 2017 02:36:53 GMT
Out of Chicago Winter Conference - February 18th http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/12/out-of-chicago-winter-conference---february-18th I don't know about you but it's only December and I'm already experiencing cabin fever. It's been really cold here in Chicago. The Out of Chicago team has been busy organizing our second annual Winter Conference to be held at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL. Easy drive, easy parking - warm inside! We have an awesome lineup of presenters. Check out the conference and all our wonderful instructors and classes at outofchicago.com/winter.

I'll be presenting a program on "Capturing the Beauty of Flowers with Selective Focus and the Creative Magic of Lensbaby Lenses" - "Learn to see beyond the sharply focused image to the magic of seeing and photographing flowers in a whole new artistic way. This class will focus on how to use aperture and selective focus with both traditional macro lenses and creative lenses to create evocative and beautiful portraits of flowers. We will explore a whole new way of looking at flowers, learning to see and isolate beautiful, interesting and often unnoticed details. Learn about the magic of Lensbaby lenses to create beautiful blur and creative effects in photographing flowers. Anne will offer tips and techniques for using the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm, The Twist and the Lensbaby optic swap system."

A hands-on component has been added this year and this is going to be so much fun! Each instructor is leading their own session at the shootout. You’ll get a chance to shoot with each one of us during the Winter Shootout. Mine, you might have guessed, will be shooting flowers, and I'll have a variety of Lensbaby lenses there for you to try. Just bring you camera, a tripod and any macro lenses you own. We can practice some of the skills you learn in my class. 

We'll end the evening with an inspirational talk by Mike Moats, followed by a fun social gathering. Join the instructors, attendees and Out of Chicago staff for a post-conference party at Bill’s Pizza, close to the conference center. We did this last year and everyone loved the chance to socialize and share ideas, eat delicious pizza and perhaps a beer or glass of wine! I hope you'll join us for a day of learning and fun!

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Out of Chicago Winter Conference, Out of Chicago, photography conference, Anne Belmont, Lensbaby, flower photography http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/12/out-of-chicago-winter-conference---february-18th Sat, 17 Dec 2016 23:53:33 GMT
Having Fun with Some Indoor Shooting with my Lensbabies http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/12/having-fun-with-some-indoor-shooting-with-my-lensbabies I get very restless if I don't shoot flowers and botanical subjects almost every day. During the spring, summer and fall this is no problem. I head to the Chicago Botanic Garden, a mere 15 minutes from my home, and I have endless subjects to keep me happy. In winter it's a bit more challenging to find subjects. The three greenhouses at CBG are a place I often head for shooting tropical flowers, plants and desert succulents indoors. We are also lucky to have two amazing conservatories in the Chicago area - Lincoln Park Conservatory and Garfield Park Conservatory, both are within an hour of my home. Both conservatories have holiday flower shows and wonderful collections of plants and flowers to keep me happy throughout the cold Chicago winter. I also enjoy shooting orchids at various flower shops and orchid production houses in the area. I'll be talking about all these winter shooting opportunities over the next few months. In the Chicago area winter lasts from November through March, so that's a lot of months of indoor shooting.

Often I simply bring flowers home to photograph or enjoy photographing my own orchid collection. Last week I set up a little project of shooting an orchid I brought home on the plane from a Macro Shoot-Out I did with fellow macro photographer Mike Moats at the Out of New York Conference in October. I bought a variety of beautiful flowers from a lovely little flower shop in mid-town Manhattan. It wasn't practical to bring the other flowers home but I was determined to get that sweet orchid home safely because I knew it would continue to bloom for months. I carried it in my bag and it survived the trip in perfect condition. I have it on my kitchen window sill and have enjoyed watching it open fully and evolve. Orchid blooms can last a long time!

I shot the orchid in the natural light of my kitchen using every Lensbaby lens I own. I wanted to compare the results of each of the lenses shot at different apertures. I used a creamy beige-colored background I printed and mounted on a large board, placing it about a foot behind the orchid. I used my tripod, which I generally don't use when shooting with my Lensbabies, but it was actually simpler and more effective this way with my set up and the more limited light indoors. I also wanted to use Live View to zoom in and accurately focus on a part of the orchid. When I teach about using Lensbaby lenses the number one issue people seem to have is getting accurate focus on the part of the flower they want to draw the eye to. The Lensbaby lenses are all manual focus so it can be a bit challenging at first to master the focus. If you are having a problem, get on your tripod and focus through Live View. With practice, you will be get better and be able to focus more effectively off the tripod, especially when you have ample light. The tripod (and believe me, I have a love/hate relationship with tripods) really does help you slow down, compose carefully and get more keepers.

Here a few of the results of that shoot:

Lensbaby Composer Pro with Twist optic, 8 mm macro converter, f/2.8. Notice the sweet spot of focus is on the center orchid and the resulting beautiful twisty blur around the edges. The blurred effect of this lens is even more pronounced when working further back. It's a sharp lens in that sweet spot!

Phalaenopsis OrchidsPhalaenopsis Orchids Composer Pro with Sweet 50 Optic, 8 mm macro converter, f/5.6. Notice how much more is in focus at that aperture. If you want blur, stay in those lower apertures. Phalaenopsis OrchidsPhalaenopsis Orchids

Nice and close with the Velvet 56mm, f/4, (the Velvet focuses within 5 inches of your subject). f/4 gives me the focus I want but maintains that beautiful ethereal blur in the background. Phalaenopsis OrchidsPhalaenopsis Orchids

Composer Pro with Soft Focus Optic, 16mm macro converter, f/4. The soft focus optic is no longer available for sale but I found this one on ebay. Love the softness of this optic! Phalaenopsis OrchidsPhalaenopsis Orchids Velvet 56mm, f/2 - just a hint of focus on the middle flower and that characteristic dreamy blur. Phalaenopsis OrchidsPhalaenopsis Orchids These are just a brief sampling of the 100+ images I experimented with. An afternoon with one orchid plant, all my Lensbabies = lots of fun and creative experimentation. Challenge yourself with a simple project to help you grow. This is what keeps photography fun! I'll be teaching a class about selective focus and the magic of Lensbaby lenses at the Out of Chicago Winter Conference, February 18th, and we will have hands-on time to play with a variety of Lensbabies the people at Lensbaby are providing for us. Maybe I'll bring this orchid, along with a lot of other beautiful flowers to shoot. Registration is already open to email subscribers to outofchicago.com and will open to the public in a few days. Watch here for more information! The folks at Lensbaby approached me this summer about partnering with them to spread the word about these wonderful, fun and creative lenses and, of course, I said YES!!! 

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Orchid photography, Lensbaby, Lensbaby Velvet, Lensbaby Composer Pro, Sweet 50 Optic, Twist Optic, Soft Focus Optic, macro converters, Out of Chicago, flower photography http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/12/having-fun-with-some-indoor-shooting-with-my-lensbabies Sat, 10 Dec 2016 03:41:51 GMT
The Magic of Lensbaby http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/11/the-magic-of-lensbaby I've just opened a gallery on my website called The Magic of Lensbaby. Given my great love of Lensbaby lenses - lenses that have become a bigger and bigger part of my flower photography - I wanted to have a place where I could showcase those images.

I started with Lensbaby about 3 1/2 years ago. At that time I was moving full speed ahead into developing a whole new way of looking at and photographing flowers. I started flower photography many years ago with the idea that everything in my portraits of flowers needed to be in sharp focus. There is nothing wrong with this approach and I still employ it today when I want to emphasize detail in flowers. Yet, during this time I felt stuck creatively. I felt a deep longing to grow, change and try new ways of shooting - to be more creative and free in my work. In the spring of 2013, I challenged myself with a project to shoot everything with selective focus. Most often, I chose to shoot at f 2.8, focusing on a curving line of a flower, a petal, a drop of dew to draw the eye to one particular part of the flower. It was the beginning of seeing flowers more abstractly. During that time I was experimenting with the Lensbaby Composer but still using my traditional macro lenses for most of my photography. It wasn't until the introduction of the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm in the spring of 2015 that I fell completely in love with Lensbaby. That lens had me smitten from the first image I took.

Soft DahliaSoft Dahlia 'Pillow Talk' Tulip'Pillow Talk' Tulip Lensbaby lenses are the perfect companion for this kind of creative, more abstract way of shooting. They have helped me to continue to grow as a flower photographer. Of the Lensbaby lenses I own, the Velvet 56mm remains my favorite because of the unmistakable ethereal glow it creates at the lower apertures.  Nonetheless, the Composer Pro with the variety of optics I own, has taken a commanding position in my more recent work. Since macro photography is my passion, the Velvet 56mm, which focuses as close as 5 inches, and the Composer Pro with the macro converters and various optics allow me to work up-close with my subjects and create the beautiful effects these lenses are famous for.

Dahlia AbstractDahlia Abstract DahliaDahlia Although flowers are my favorite subjects, I often pull out my Lensbaby lenses when photographing other botanical subjects, like this unfurling fern.

EmergenceEmergence     Or succulents, like this Desert Cabbage and the tiny flowers of the Red Velvet Echeveria. Desert CabbageDesert Cabbage Red Velvet EcheveriaRed Velvet Echeveria The Twist 60mm is my most recent purchase from Lensbaby and what a fun lens it is! It's the perfect lens for capturing the beauty of fall.

Fall UnfoldingFall Unfolding Birches AglowBirches Aglow I will be focusing more on teaching about using Lensbabies in the 2017 Out of Chicago Conferences, so watch for more details soon. Meanwhile, if you are interested in trying Lensbaby lenses, my friend Gary Farber with Hunt's Photo and Video emailed me this morning that they are having a sale on all Lensbaby products. Check it out here at Hunt's or email Gary at digitalguygary@wbhunt.com. Hmmmmm! What could I add to my collection? The holidays are coming, you know!

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Lensbaby, Lensbaby Velvet 56mm, Lensbaby Composer Pro, Lensbaby Twist, soft focus, flower photography, Out of Chicago http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/11/the-magic-of-lensbaby Sun, 06 Nov 2016 02:19:22 GMT
Out of New York Photography Conference http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/10/out-of-new-york-photography-conference One week from today I'll be heading to New York City for what promises to be an amazing weekend of photography! It's not too late to register for this conference and you can get $100 off by using my special code: BELMONT100. I will be presenting my program "Flower Photography: The Art of Seeing and Capturing the Beauty of Flowers" on Saturday, 9:00-10:30 a.m., as well as doing a "Macro-Shoot Out" with fellow macro photographer, Mike Moats, Saturday 5:45-7:15 p.m. Mike and I will have a wide variety of subjects to photograph. I will have flowers with a variety of backgrounds and lighting to set up beautiful macro compositions.

The whole weekend is jam-packed with classes, photowalks and workshops covering many genres of photography. We will kick off the conference on Thursday night with a cruise around Manhattan at sunset, photographing the best views of the skyline and New York bridges before heading to the Statue of Liberty for sunset. Join us for that fun event and a weekend of great learning! Learn more about the details of the conference, where to stay, and register at ny.outofchicago.com.

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Out of New York Photography Conference, Out of Chicago, photography conference, macro photography, Mike Moats, Anne Belmont, New York City http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/10/out-of-new-york-photography-conference Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:07:21 GMT
Regenstein Learning Campus http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/9/regenstein-learning-campus Last week I was treated to an early tour of the brand new Regenstein Learning Campus at The Chicago Botanic Garden. The opening celebration for the campus is Saturday and Sunday, September 10 - 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop in, take a tour and learn about all the wonderful things the new campus has to offer.

The indoor classrooms are amazing and will house many of the 1,500 classes offered by the Garden. I was particularly captivated by the preschool classroom I visited, so much so that I totally forgot to take a photo of the space! Go see for yourself what a wonderful program the Nature Preschool offers - a beautiful classroom full of thoughtfully-chosen toys to stimulate a child's learning and senses as well as a beautiful outdoor space to extend learning outdoors. Having been an early childhood educator for many years, I am delighted to see a nature-based program in our area. I would have jumped at the chance to send my own children there if the program had existed when they were little. More than ever it is important to instill in children a life-long love of nature and respect for the natural world. I worry that children today don't get enough time in nature, time to wonder and explore. The Garden has provided a perfect place for this to happen and I applaud them for their wonderful and varied programs for children.

The outdoor spaces will delight both children and adults alike. The rolling hills invite children of all ages to run and roll, the "runnel" water feature begs you take off your shoes and splash through the water, and the large hollow trees provide climbing and hiding spaces for children to stretch their muscles or quietly ponder the beauty of nature. Beautiful gardens and plantings are scattered throughout the campus. 

  I was very excited to see where the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit will be relocated next year. It has a perfect space adjacent to the building. Of course, it is a dirt pad right now but by next May the mesh enclosure, full of butterflies and beautiful plantings, will be all ready to open for it's 6th year.

So, stop in next weekend and see the wonderful new addition to the 385 acres of the beloved Garden. Check out the wonderful learning opportunities for all ages and, as the Garden says, begin to "Grow Your Life Story." Bravo to CBG!

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Regenstein Learning Campus, Chicago Botanic Garden, Nature Preschool, Butterflies and Blooms, #GrowYourLifeStory http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/9/regenstein-learning-campus Fri, 02 Sep 2016 20:39:04 GMT
Photographing Flowers with Stories to Tell http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/8/photographing-flowers-with-stories-to-tell Tender TouchTender Touch Today my article "Photographing Flowers with Stories to Tell" is featured on the Out of Chicago website. Be sure to check out the Out of New York Conference website where I'll be presenting my program "Flower Photography: The Art of Seeing and Capturing the Beauty of Flowers." I will also be doing a macro shoot-out with fellow macro photographer Mike Moats at the conference center. Come join us to photograph all sorts of things up-close, including flowers, of course! The Out of New York Conference, October 14-16, features 30 incredibly talented photographers presenting a variety of programs, workshops and photowalks in street photographey, architectural photography, portrait photography, landscape and travel photography - just about anything your heart desires. We'll be out on the streets of New York shooting, not just in the conference center, and that's why we are called the "shootingest" photography conference on earth. Come join us for what promises to be another incredible conference put on by the Out of Chicago team.   

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anne.f.belmont@gmail.com (ANNE BELMONT PHOTOGRAPHY) Flower Photography, storytelling, Out of Chicago, Out of New York, Anne Belmont http://www.annebelmontphotography.com/blog/2016/8/photographing-flowers-with-stories-to-tell Tue, 30 Aug 2016 22:38:44 GMT