Blue Poppies at Longwood Gardens

There are times when things just seem to fall in place. Something out of the ordinary for me this week as I helped a friend by transporting her horse up to New Bolton Vet services in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

The best part of this is that the facility is less than ten minutes away from one of my favorite places to visit ~ Longwood Gardens. This time of year is Orchids and Blue poppies and if it wasn’t for this trip, I’m not sure if I would have made it this year. So I threw my Macro kit bag into the car along with a tripod and off I went.

Allowing myself an hour at the gardens before I headed off to pick up the horse I was hoping that I would be able to get some worthwhile images with in the short time I gave myself.

Beginning with my Canon 180mm macro lens on the Canon 5D Mark III, I set the kit on a tripod, and dialed in for maximum depth of field with an f/29 and quickly went to work.

But the real estate in front of the two small beds was tight, and I wanted to have some additional flexibility so off the tripod I went, handholding the kit. This meant that I had to have a more shallow depth of field to allow more light in.

But the true magic happened when I pulled out my newly acquired Lensbaby Velvet 56. Oh so soft and lovely it is. I’ve learned that when it is at a low f-stop like f/2.8 it intentionally softens the entire image.

Open it up to something like a f/5.6 then the spot of focus opens up and the lens softens the edges of the image.

I wish I could have more time in the gardens, but for a quick photo shoot I have to thank all of the years of practice, the weeks and months of photographing every day. Also, studying other people’s work like Denise Ippolito and Kathleen Clemons that helps me to get a vision of where to go with creating compositions in my floral photography.

The best part of the day though was coming across the path of fellow blogger Terry Jackson. I wish I had gotten more information from her, like..the name of her blog…as I would love to give her a shout out here. It was a great pleasure meeting her, and hopefully she’ll chime in here and share her images of the blue poppies from yesterday as well.

Off I’s cherry blossoms tomorrow!

27 replies »

  1. Hi Emily! Meeting you was the highlight of my day, I love how small the world is. We had grand fun at Longwood. My blog is: and

    Your pictures are gorgeous, there is something magical about the blue poppies. We stayed all day and caught some afternoon light and just enjoyed the beauty.

    I hope to take one of your classes, thank you for taking the time to visit yesterday when your time was short at the gardens.

    Thanks again,
    Terri Jackson

    • It was such a pleasure meeting you Terry and I’ve corrected your last name I’m sorry I had it wrong. Thank you so much for sharing your blog here so that others can enjoy your work. I’m envious of the time you got to spend at Longwood yesterday. I hope to see you again soon.

  2. Ahhhhhhhh…… blue, blue, blue poppies. I still yet to be successful in growing this in my garden. Every year, I plant new batches. Next year, they don’t return. Lovely!

  3. What a great by-chance opportunity and boy did you ever pull out the stops on this little side trip. Amazing shots that soft focus is awesome – magical!!

    • You would have loved it there Mary. I wish you could have been there. BTW, I owe you a personal email to respond to your last comment. Do know that my heart reached out for you when I read it. Life does has it struggles and sometimes much more than what we bargained for.

      I agree, that new lens is FUN !

      • Thank you Emily for your thoughts, I appreciate it – elder issues are tough, but we’ll work through them. Art allows me an out and delve into the world of imagination – a very good thing. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. These images are very special, Emily, and your mention of Kennet Square took me back years to all my trips through that area. If only I had been a photographer then, I would not have driven through Kennet without stopping for a visit at Longwood. I enjoyed reading the details of your beautiful captures. Several years ago I took a workshop with a photographer who loved her lens baby. Based on your images, there’s a lot to love about it! I’m off now to check out Terri’s blog.

    • It’s a lesson learning with the lensbaby Velvet 56. I’m learning that you to have the right subject and composition for it to make sense.

      Well, Longwood isn’t too terribly far for you is it? It’s just under 2 hours for me and well worth the drive. πŸ™‚ Enjoy the lovely day.

    • I was so amazed that Terri (a) knew me and (b) even recognized me in my bummy barn clothes. Quite funny actually and she was so kind and thoughtful. Thank you so much and great to hear from you too.

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