A Poetic Catalogue

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

Flower catalogues are nice

Images so precise

But they surely miss the mark

With clarity too stark

Flower pictures in catalogues, while botanically accurate, lack emotional charge. I desire something more poetic in images of the bursting spring offerings. A good candidate is the showy bloom of the rhododendron with flowers forming in clusters. The leaves are broad, deep green, and shiny. The curving stamens have anther tips of gold.

A planted bush in my neighborhood drew my attention with its sudden pink blooming. The Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens seemed a good choice for an image with softness, able to highlight the textural quality of crumpled tissue paper that the petals exhibit.

Since the Velvet 56 is an all manual lens, I had to play around with the aperture selection ring to get the desired soft focus effects, the elements of mystery, and showiness of the flowers. This required that I open up the lens aperture as much as possible to produce the “right amount” of blur and glow that the Lensbaby Velvet 56 promises. For my images, I primarily used the macro feature, keeping the aperture below f/4.0, even pushing it to f/2.5. There were enough blooms on the bush so that I could experiment with capturing several clusters or only one for my personal “poetically romantic catalogue.”

All photos were taken with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II and the Lensbaby Velvet 56.


Mildred’s book Haiku and Images is available on Amazon and is filled wit h beautifully reproduced color photographs along with original haiku underneath, embellishing the image and deepening its meaning. Pick up a copy to give as gift for yourself or a friend.