International Rose Test Garden

On an overcast summer morning, I arrived at the Portland International Rose Test Garden.  The park was still empty before the throngs of tourists who were to arrive over the next couple of hours.  The burst of colors and the smells of the thousands of roses overwhelmed me.  I knew I was coming to a rose garden, but I had never seen anything in this scale before.  This was macro photography heaven!  To make it even better, a brief rain shower interrupted the cool air, and left magical rain drops on the rose petals.

If you visit Portland in the summer, this is a must see destination.  (Washington Park is also home to the Japanese Garden, Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, and a few other sites.)  If you come early enough in the morning, you have most of the place to yourself.  It also doesn’t hurt that the parking is free before 9am.  My first visit here (when the photos below were taken) was in the middle of June, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the roses still blooming at the end of August, when I brought some visiting family here.

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Feast Portland

This is an unusually photo-heavy post because it was hard to choose just a couple of photos that represented this event. This past weekend, Feast Portland took place over here in Portland (duh!). This was our first time attending and we loved eating our way through all of the vendors.

This is essentially a food festival.  They have main events, but also other events that are more specific to different types of foods and drinks, such as sandwich, coffee, beer, and many others.  With the latter, they are separated into Dinner Series, Tasting Panels, and Hands On Classes.  Attending any of the Feast Portland events isn’t very cheap, ranging from $50 up to $200 per person, but the proceeds go toward fighting hunger locally.

This year, I was only able to go to the Grand Tasting — one of the main events — due to my work schedule, but it was a fantastic introduction to the event. Under unseasonably warm skies, mostly local vendors brought out a sample of their food and drinks.  There were also a few cooking demonstrations in the center stage.  It’s really hard to choose a favorite because there were so many good ones, but I was quite partial to Olympic Provisions, Oregon Olive Mill, and Salt & Straw.

I’m really looking forward to going again in the future. Perhaps even to some of the smaller events. I just have to remember to buy my tickets early because they sell out early!

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Renting Lensbaby, Part II

(Sorry for the unintended hiatus. Life has been busy. I’ve been out taking a bunch of photos, though editing is slow to come by. I’m in the process of deciding how I can make this site better for both you and me, and am always opened to suggestions.)

(Here is Part I of my experience renting Lensbaby optics from Lensrentals.com.)

Although the Lensbaby is a manual lens in all sense of the word, my Nikon D7000 allowed me to set the maximum aperture, which then allowed the light meter to work.  I was still basically able to use my camera in the aperture-priority and manual modes without spending a lot of time just guessing the shutter speed.  I understand the value of manual settings, but I find the aperture-priority mode more my friend for 99% of my use.

The hardest thing about using the Lensbaby was finding the Sweet Spot. You swivel the lens to where you want the focus to be, and then turned the focusing ring to focus.  Even the littlest of swiveling causes a huge change in the photo.  The trick is being able to find that Sweet Spot, though.  As time went on, I found myself taking multiple photos of the same scene and adjusting the lens ever so slightly, and even then, most of the photos did not come out as well as I wished.

The other issue that I found — though this can mostly be edited out during post-processing — is the dramatic chromatic aberration.  I don’t usually get bothered by this when it’s at the edge of the image, but I found chromatic aberration everywhere on the image.

Overall, I’m happy that I tried the Lensbaby Composer Pro, but I will not be purchasing it in the future.  I’m more than happy editing this effect into my photos if the desire should arise again in the future.

Below are some of my favorite images taken with Lensbaby lenses over a couple of weeks in the spring.

At the Curve

Surrounded by Redwoods

Looking Down

Branching

Yellow and Purple

Disclaimer: This is not an affiliate or a sponsored post. I am just sharing my experiences with Lensrentals.com and Lensbaby.