Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Lensbaby's New Soft Focus II Optic

 Just this morning, Lensbaby announced the newest addition to their lens line up, the Soft Focus II optic!

This is a new and updated version of the Soft Focus optic which is one that I have always loved, and still used from time to time. This new optic produces the same beautiful, soft and dreamy look overlaying subtle sharp detail. When using the original version, aperture was controlled by dropping rubber aperture disks into the lens opening. This new version has a 12-blade manually adjustable internal aperture which you adjust right on the top of the optic, as you can with the Sweet and Edge optics. 

When you stop down to f/8 or smaller apertures, the Soft Focus II can create images with wonderful detail and sharpness in the center of the image with out of focus edges. I love the versatility of different looks I can get with the same optic by varying my aperture.

It also comes with a set of 4 magnetic drop-in aperture disks. Three of these disks are multi-holed, which combines the soft focus glow and sharpness differently for an even more custom look, especially evident when you have highlights in the background of a scene, not so much with a plain background. The 4th disk is a sunburst design, which can change the shape of any out of focus highlights in the background, again, customized with your aperture selection.

The minimum focus distance of this 50mm optic is 15 inches, so I will be using macro filters to get closer for my flower portraits. If you have extension tubes, those will work too. The optic will work in any Composer that is part of the Optic Swap system, Lensbaby does not recommend tilting. You can alternatively purchase the optic with a non-bending holder. 

Here is a video I made with some images I created while beta-testing this optic.
 I included a couple of images of the same subject at different apertures so you can see the different looks.

I think this optic is a great upgrade to the original Soft Focus optic, and it’s one I know I will use often for flowers and portraits.

Happy Shooting,


Sunday, January 10, 2021



Last week, when I invited people to share something they are grateful for I had no idea what type of responses I would receive. Almost 200 people e-mailed me with stories of things they are grateful for. There were stories of hardship and sad events to overcome, but people also shared overwhelming gratitude for their health, friends and family with hope for the future. Some e-mails made me cry, some made me laugh, but each touched my heart. This was one of the most powerful things I have ever done, and I thank you so much for sharing your stories with me. I will be responding to each e-mail I received.

Trying to choose one winner is impossible and I truly wish I could send you each a print. Instead of giving just one away I ordered four more, so there will be five people receiving prints. I will be e-mailing the winners individually.

Also wanted to let you know that sign ups are now available for the February session of my online Flower Portraits class at Gather Academy. Registration for the February Sequel class will open soon.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and I thank you for your friendship and support over the years. Let’s make 2021 a year to remember. Stay healthy and grateful.



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Happy New Year!

                           Happy New Year!

I have so much to tell you! 2020 was a rough year for all of us, I hope things greatly improve in 2021 and that I will be able to start teaching in person again. In the meantime, I will still be teaching online classes throughout the year. My February class at the Santa Fe Workshops is full, but a few spaces remain in the March session.

 I will also be back to teaching my classes at Gather Academy beginning February 1st. The school has moved to a new format which is easier to navigate and absolutely beautiful. I am really excited about the changes. Sign ups for my February 1st Flower Portraits class will begin this week. 

If you need something to keep you inspired to create photos in this new year, check out Gather Academy's 365 Community Project, I have joined and am finding inspiration every day!

I am also planning to make a monthly Photography Tip video, sharing new techniques and images and the stories behind some new photos. I will share them on my Facebook page and Blog.

Lensbaby has been releasing the instructional video I made for them the at Swan Island Dahlias in 2019 as individual lens section videos, here are the YouTube links:

Session 1: The Velvets

Session 2: Twist 60

Session 3: Sweet 50

My birthday is this week, and I have two ways for you to celebrate with me!  The first is a print give away! I will be giving away an 11x14 canvas print of this image:

To enter, just e-mail me and share something that you are grateful for. 2020 has left us all stressed, but I truly believe there is always something to be thankful for. I’ll announce a winner on January 10th.

I also want to celebrate by offering you a 50% off discount code on everything in my Texture Store. You can use the code “birthday” until midnight, January 7th.

Take care, stay healthy!


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A New Lensbaby Velvet!

Many of you know that the Lensbaby Velvet 56 and Velvet 85 are two of my favorite lenses. I am happy to announce that Lensbaby has added a sibling to the family, the Velvet 28! This lens is 28mm, and the minimum focus distance is about 2 inches!

The lens provides a soft glow overlaid on a sharp background, this glow lessens as you stop down in aperture. With 12 blades, the bokeh is nice and round and it's wonderful! I started beta testing this lens this winter and had fun seeing what I could do with it.

My favorite thing about this version of Velvet is that I can go from shooting a soft, floral macro subject to a landscape with tack sharp detail at 28mm without changing lenses.

I also had fun shooting some subjects both soft and dreamy and also sharp and detailed, it's great to have choices!

I am really looking forward to trying the Velvet 28 with large flowers like Dahlias this summer, this lens definitely has a space in my camera bag.

Happy Shooting!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Class and T-shirt!

Hi everyone,

Today Lensbaby will be launching two new Kathleen Clemons items. The first is a class I filmed for them last September at Swan Island Dahlias in Oregon.  You can see me teach a group of photographers the best practices for photographing flowers, and how to use five different Lensbaby lenses. The class is $30 but comes with a $30 credit for a future purchase, so if you are thinking of adding a Lensbaby item, the class is like a free bonus. Click here for the class.

The other news is that to go along with this class launch, I designed a new limited edition Lensbaby T-shirt from one of my flower drawings (see design above). So excited about this! You can find the shirt here

I am also taking over Lensbaby’s Instagram today (January 14th) and will be sharing tips on shooting flowers indoors, their Instagram page is @seeinanewway.

Happy Shooting!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

New Lensbaby Omni Color Expansion Pack Magic!

      Last June I posted information about the new Lensbaby Omni system for shooting through, a fun tool set for making photos in a new and creative way. Today Lensbaby announced a new pack for the Omni system, the Omni Color Expansion Pack, and I have been lucky enough to be shooting with it for the last month. This pack contains a set of reflective colored film strips that allow you to add color and light to your subjects, some strips are textured and some are plain. I have been having a blast shooting with these and have definitely found the magic of Lensbaby once again!

     I spent some time shooting in my gardens, but the real magic happened for me when I shot raindrops on some leaves after a heavy rain, when I saw this image through my viewfinder I could barely breathe!

     Here is a shot of my set up with the Omni color film on my Velvet 85 as well as the actual subject, you can see why the image on the back of my camera showed me the magic of using these:

  I can change the color or temperature of the light across the entire frame, or add color to a particular area of my composition. Adding color allows me to lessen possible distractions, to simplify or add interest to my subjects.

     I have too many favorites to post them all here so I made a short video for you, all images were created with this new pack and my Lensbaby Velvet 85, so much fun and I love the effect!

Happy Shooting!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

New Education Website

Hello there!

I just finished building a website for all of my education resources, kathleenclemonseducation.com. Now you can find links for my classes, workshops, books and videos all in one place. More content will be coming. You can find it here.

I also wanted to tell you about a new class I am writing this summer, Flower Portraits: Capturing the True Beauty of Flowers will start in November at Gather Academy. I am having a blast shooting, filming and writing lessons for the class.

This class will be a celebration of everything I have learned and taught about flower photography over the last 13 years. There will be new content, images and videos, and in each lesson you will get the behind the scenes story of one of my photos. I'll take you through my process from the location to the final image. I'll also be including post-processing lessons for flower photography for the first time. Weekly assignment critiques will be delivered via videos. I am really excited about this new class, I hope you'll join me!

I also want to tell you that I will no longer be teaching online classes at the Bryan Peterson School of Photography. If you are interested in one of the classes I taught there, please contact me directly and I will arrange a private session for you.

My best,