When it comes to macro photography, Anita Kram is a bit of a magician. Anita's photos look like they were torn from the pages of a fantastic fairy tale. In this post, Anita tells about how she uses Velvet 56 to make these enchanting images.
I bought the Velvet 56 because you can use it for macro photography and because of the soap bubble bokeh I saw in some pictures. I had to get used to the glow that is so typical for this lens. To get a subtle effect, I’ve learned that it’s a matter of adjusting the aperture and finding the right light. With the right combination, the result is magical.
When I take pictures, I like to experiment. Later, when I browse my archive I sometimes notice things I didn’t appreciate before. Last year I made a picture of a crane-fly covered in drops, just because it was in front my lens. Crane-flies are not very pretty, but the soft glow on the drops on the wings are wonderful. Small drops with a little bit of glow turn into tiny lights. This made me pick it up again and try some more, and now I am hooked.
For most subjects, I can use the lens as is. But if I can’t get any closer and there is still too much in the frame, I use extension tubes. Mine are 12, 20 and 36 mm. For pictures of, for example, water droplets or the leaves of sundew, I stack them all together. This way I'm on top of your subject – but there is still enough light to take a handheld picture without having to increase the ISO too much. I never go beyond ISO 400 with my Canon 5D Mark III for macro. This means that with the Velvet 56 I can photograph everything I want. I prefer to work with a shallow depth of field and wide apertures. All pictures were made with F2.0 - F4. F2.8 is my favorite because there is still a bit of glow, yet it doesn’t overpower the image.
I had this lens for more than a year, tried it off and on. Eventually, I would reach a point of frustration then quickly switch back to my favorite lens at the time, as so many of us do. It took me some time to appreciate this lens and my experience is, like with all Lensbaby lenses, you have to figure out how to use the light, and soft light is always better.