A much awaited event at the Chicago Botanic Garden is the blooming of the crabapple trees. This week they all popped - the canopy of trees lining the path along Lakeside Gardens and 100's of other crabapples, redbuds and fruit trees throughout the Garden. One of my favorite flowering trees in the spring is the Selkirk Crabapple. There are a number of them lining the path leading into the Graham Bulb Garden and their beautiful pink flowers are a delight to the eyes.
A few weeks ago I purchased a new lens released by Lensbaby, the Lensbaby Velvet 56. You can read about the lens on the Lensbaby website and see sample photos taken with the lens. I am a photographer who enjoys doing two styles of flower photography - precisely focused, detailed photographs as well as soft-focus, dreamier images. I have fallen in love with the Velvet 56. It is a 56mm f1.6 manual focus portrait and macro lens. 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 and even shoot on windier days and still maintain sharpness in the critical areas, but hand holding with manual focus can be a bit tricky. Another thing I love about the Lensbaby Velvet images is that they require next to no post processing; often times I use them as they are straight out of the camera. I will share more images produced with the Lensbaby Velvet in a future post (it's been on my camera a lot this spring), but for now, here are a few I captured of the Selkirk Crabapple blossoms.