Good Evening Rose of Sharon by Todd Henson

A Rose of Sharon bud just beginning to open.

The day was winding to a close, the sun slowly setting and evening fast approaching. A few small rain drops fell, landing on leaves and petals. The Rose of Sharon was blooming, some fully open, some just beginning.

It was a beautiful evening. The light was soft, with just enough falling on the flowers to handhold my camera and capture a few frames. I used a Lensbaby Velvet 56 to create a nice soft feel to the edges of the young flower, keeping the central portion in focus but allowing it to quickly fall off to a pleasant blur.

I brought the lens in very close to the flower, filling the frame, and choosing an angle that would minimize any distractions in the background. Such a light and bright flower in an otherwise low light area resulted in a very dark background. It helped that the background was at a distance from the subject. This is very useful for isolating and focusing on a subject.

If you’d like to see more from the Lensbaby Velvet 56 you can read about my first impression of the lens, see a pair of Dianthus flowers photographed with the lens, and view a bumble bee sheltered inside an open Rose of Sharon.

The resources below contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.

I first learned about the Lensbaby Velvet line of lenses through Kathleen Clemons in her CreativeLive classes.

Dianthus Duo by Todd Henson

A pair of dianthus photographed with the Lensbaby Velvet 56.

My folks grow many beautiful flowers throughout the year. This year they have several variety of dianthus, such as those in the photograph above, with their deep and rich colors. I love the patterns in these flowers, and it’s always nice when there’s a little dew, or in this case a few rain drops on the petals (granted, they are very small).

I photographed these flowers with my Lensbaby Velvet 56, a lens I’ve been having a lot of fun with. It can create such nice and soft out of focus backgrounds. But it’s also capable of capturing sharp details in the subject. This photograph demonstrates both the sharpness and the soft blur.

If you’re curious about this lens check out a previous post where I shared more of my thoughts on the Lensbaby Velvet 56.

The resources below contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.

Bee Sheltered in Rose of Sharon by Todd Henson

A bee sheltered in a Rose of Sharon flower.

This was such a fun photograph to create. There was a light drizzle, but not enough that I had to cover my camera. The light was very soft, but it was also somewhat dark from the camera’s perspective. I was out photographing flowers with my new Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens, trying different compositions and different aperture settings, just trying to get a feel for the lens.

When I made my way to the Rose of Sharon I found a bumble bee sheltered inside one of the flowers. It wasn’t at all upset by my presence, even as I pushed the front of the lens right into the flower, almost filling the entrance. This blocked most of the light that might have entered the flower and lit the bee, but as you can see the light did still reach the interior by shining through the petals.

I created a number of images of this bee, sometimes experimenting with composition, but sometimes just trying to get a shot with the bee in focus. The Lensbaby Velvet 56 is a fully manual lens and I don’t often focus manually, so I was essentially relearning how to do this. Thankfully, I did a reasonably good job capturing the bee in focus for this photograph, though parts of it are still out of focus. It might have been a good idea if I’d stopped down the aperture just a bit to capture a little more depth of field. You can see from the sides of the petals how shallow the depth of field is.

Because it was so dark I had boosted my ISO to 1250. The shutter speed for this image was 1/40 second and I was hand holding the camera. This lens doesn’t have VR so I did the best I could to hold it steady. It’s not a heavy or large lens so this wasn’t too difficult.

I don’t know the exact aperture I used as the Lensbaby Velvet 56 does not have electrical contacts so it can’t communicate the aperture to the camera. It was not wide open as that would have created a very soft focus effect. There’s a good chance this was closer to f/8, possibly even smaller. I was physically very close to the bee, likely approaching the minimum focusing distance of 5 inches, which contributed to the shallow depth of field. I really wanted to fill the frame with the bee and the enclosing petals of the Rose of Sharon.

Sheltered in a Rose of Sharon is available for purchase as wall art or on a variety of products.

See my first impression of the Lensbaby Velvet 56 for more examples of photographs created with this lens.

The resources below contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.

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