Last spring as the tulips were emerging the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm lens was released. I hopped right on board and ordered it. I was mesmerized by the images I saw being produced with this newest lens in the line-up of the Lensbaby lenses. Having owned the original Lensbaby Composer and macro converters, I was familiar with the unique qualities of these lenses, but I had no idea how completely smitten I would become with this lens as I began to experiment with it. As I look back over the past year photographically, the images I produced with this lens are some of my favorite of the year and they mark a definite move to capturing my subjects in a softer way. The Velvet is a 56mm f1.6 portrait and macro lens. As with all Lensbaby lenses, it is manual focus and manual aperture. Because the lens will focus as close as 5 inches, it is perfect for macro flower photography. The wide open apertures create dreamy images with a beautiful velvety and ethereal feel. Shooting at lower apertures means you can easily hand-hold this lens, but hand-holding with manual focus can be a bit tricky. Another thing I love about the Velvet is that the images require next to no post processing; often times I post them as they are straight out of the camera. Eager to continue to develop my softer focus work, Santa has promised me a Lensbaby kit with the Composer Pro and many of the optics I am eager to experiment with. Now, if only spring would come quickly and I can be back outdoors shooting flowers as I love doing the most. For now, I'll have to make do with indoor subjects and the Chicago Botanic Garden's Orchid Show is right around the corner. It will be fun to experiment with shooting orchids with the Velvet and my newer additions. Here are some of my favorite images shot with the Velvet through this year.
Sweet Bay Magnolia
Grape Hyacinth 'Julia' Coneflower
'Much Niceness' Tulip
Soft Curves of the Tulip
'Red Velvet' Echeveria