The Doug Plus Rox Photography Blog

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to the blog of Doug and Roxanne, two photographers who are head-over-heels in love. In this blog you’ll find our musings about photography, camera equipment, image editing programs and more. Roxanne is a talented photographer who enjoys wildlife and landscape photography. Doug is a published author and photographer.  We’re both Canon shooters. Between us we have a bushel full of lenses, and lots of enthusiasm. Currently we’re exploring the area near our home with Lensbaby Composers. Stay tuned for news about our photo shoots and lots of photos. The following image is one of Doug’s Lensbaby captures. He tweaked the image in Photoshop using images of textures on layers with different blend modes.

Vintage Lenses on the Fuji XT-1

Delightful Glade

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Irish Shamrocks

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Nature's Contrasts

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Putting Down Roots

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Bayside Waters

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Green Fronds & Blue Waters

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Florida Roses

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Coral Roses

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4


Helios 44/2, 58mm f/2

Garden Gift

Helios 44/2, 58mm f/2

Window To The Skies

SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4

When I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer both Doug and I managed to get through the tough part of chemo and the post chemo effects. But this year the expenses of continuing to battle this disease (and my weakened condition) forced us to take a look at the tools that we were using in our photography business. It was time for a change! We had originally invested in a large amount of gear for our photography business and I did not have the latest and greatest, but I had my beloved Canon 5D MII and Canon 7D, some great Canon L lenses and my much loved Tamron Macro lens as well as flash equipment and all of the bits and pieces that go with it all.

We had decided to go the mirrorless route to lighten the gear load and that would allow me to continue to shoot professionally on my good days. We looked at so many lovely cameras and lenses but in the end we went with Fujifilm X Series of cameras and lenses. We had both owned Fujifilm X Series cameras when I was initially diagnosed with cancer, but had to sell them when I began treatment. So we knew we loved the quality of their gear. I went the route of the X-T1 and Doug loved the more retro look of the X-E2. Once the decision was made, we sold ALL of the Canon cameras, lenses and flash gear and purchased “open box” Fuji gear to save money.

But we still needed to fill in some gaps with our lenses and for that we took a visit into the past. We talked with many people using vintage lenses from the 1950s to the 1970s and they spoke highly of them. So we decided to go this route to save additional money on the lenses we needed. We were each able to purchase a few of these little gems with the sales from the gear and these shots are from two of them.

The photos above were created with two different lenses. One is a wonderful (and quirky!) little Russian lens called a Helios 44/2 58mm f/2 that is known primarily for its unusual bokeh and lovely use in close up work. Since we did not have models with us on this shoot, I used one of the statues for a close up and a small garden statue that shows a bit of the squiggly bokeh. Stopped down the lens is quite sharp, but I wanted to experience it wide open on this day. The other lens I used for the rest of the shots is a Pentax lens called an SMC Takumar 50mm f/1/4. It is wonderfully sharp stopped down and shooting wide open gives lovely bokeh. They are both built of metal and are solid and well made and excellent glass (Carl Zeiss on the Helios) was used to fashion the lenses.

Both lens have M42 screw mounts that require the use of an adapter to attach to our cameras. Both lenses were well under $100.00 with the adapter! How good is that!!!

It is fun saving money when you get to step back in time working in manual mode and slowing down to see the world around you. I like the fact that the lens have age as I know they have stories to tell me-hopefully for many years to come.

Good light to you all!



Doug and I are still waging the battle against my stage IV cancer and the expenses it has placed on our household since I had to quit working my regular job last year. I am now in a clinical trial for a new immune modulator drug that has given us much hope, but it has given us double the expenses on doctor visits, required lab work and CT/PET scans that are required to participate in the trial. Since my cancer had begun to grow again three months after the six months of chemo, the chance to get into this trial was a blessing. We would like to ask if you can click on the link to our Hope For Roxanne Fundraiser and donate or leave a hug or some words of encouragement. Doug is struggling with the lion’s share of work in our photography business and as a published author as well as acting as my caregiver when things are tough and taking me to all of my doctor visits, test and even out to the store as my medication won’t allow me to drive. So we are asking for your help. Perhaps you cannot give a donation but maybe you know someone who might that you can forward a link to our fundraiser site. We appreciate all efforts to help us through this difficult time! To all of those who have donated, sent hugs and lovely comments, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

This Magic Moment

Among The Roses

Pink Radiance

The Waters Edge


Yesterday evening Doug and I went to one of our favorite shooting locations, the John & Mabel Ringling Museum grounds in Sarasota Florida. What made it more special was the fact that we had our new Lensbaby Velvet 56 lenses on our cameras for our shoot.

We stopped first at the rose garden which has the most amazing collection of roses I’ve had the good fortune to see. It is pretty hot for them to be in their prime but we found a few that were in shady spots to allow for more saturation in the shots. My first shot was one of the many statues that grace the rose garden. I loved the graceful lines and the hint of color from the roses in the background. Although I shot from wide open to about f/5.6, I think these were all done at f/2.8 as that aperture drew me somehow. The second shot of the cluster of pink roses was one I’d hoped turned out. I was shooting in macro mode and there was an intermittent breeze wafting through that played havoc with focussing. Somehow the lens harnesses the sharpness of an image, yet add a beautiful glow and bokeh as well.

The last shot is one I tend to take from various angles each time I visit as I love the shape of the tree. On this evening I moved to block the incoming sun and kept moving until I got a composition I liked with the sun filtering through the branches, yet not striking the lens. I liked the pattern of the shadows leading to the statue that appeared to be rising from the lake and the bough of the tree lifting your eye and the added element of the curved shoreline. The lens created a gentle glow and a soft feel that helped me to bring home a feeling and that was the peace I had felt at that moment in time.

I look forward to many more hours of shooting with the Velvet. I was admittedly one of the initial doubters of whether I’d bond with the lens but as I saw more and more images that captured the pure radiance of a moment, I knew it was a look I wanted to find. I find myself totally enchanted by this magical new Lensbaby. It is a joy to use and the magic is in the wanting to shoot forever, yet wanting to get home to process what I have in equal measures.

Ah, love!


Light, Magic and the Velvet 56

Stolen Moment

Guide Posts

Field Of Dreams

First Blush

Sea Bench

Palmetto Wings

Dreams Of The Sea


Magic was in the air. Excitement burst inside my mind like champagne bubbles, tickling my imagination. I had a Lensbaby back in my hands but not just any old Lensbaby. I had the sexy and beautiful new Lensbaby Velvet 56 with the new Fujifilm X-Mount. The mount allowed me to bypass the clunky adapter and attach the gorgeous lens to my X-T1. Heaven!

Yes, I was like a kid in a candy store. I saw so many things I wanted to shoot that I stood rooted to the spot for a while as I tried to decide where to start. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I had the Lensbaby Velvet 56 for a short while when I still had all of my Canon DSLRs but our change to the Fujifilm X-Mount series for all of our pro and pleasure shooting happened very quickly. My time with the Velvet 56 was cut short and my access to my other Lensbaby lenses was gone as well. I’ve been in limbo, left longing for my babies to come back to me and to bring the magic back to my life.

UPS knocked on the door and I sprinted over furniture and flying cats to get there as I knew it was the arrival of our Velvets. The moment of unveiling! Ah! Delightful and then there they were, pleading for us to gather them into our family and to take them out to play. Who could resist that?

We proceeded to head out to a nearby beach spot that you reach by a road that will rearrange the fillings in your teeth. But the bumpy trip is so worth denting my head on the car header.

Australian pines stand as majestic sentinels in the park area, some filled with flocks of Pelicans gathering to catch up on the latest gossip. The water was a deep, sparkling turquoise that drew me like a magnet, filled with beach goers enjoying a sunny day with stacks of beautiful clouds passing by like parade floats. Native flowers filled the park area with some going to seed and leaving behind a silvery mist of spikes that lit up with the sun.

The Lensbaby Velvet 56 was an absolute dream to use. The focus peaking in the Fujifilm X-Series cameras made it easy to pick the focal point I wanted to reach and the macro performance blew me away. I “should” have been using a tripod and flash for the macro shots, but I had to be content with handholding and hoping for the best as I had traveled light. Today was a day to connect with the Velvet with nothing to lessen the true bonding experience.

I have several 50 to 58mm vintage lenses that have lovely sharpness, bokeh and handle well on my camera. So why the Velvet 56? It brings something new and exciting to the creative possibilities that the others just don’t have. Yes….you “might” be able to re-create a bit of the look you get by laboring away in Photoshop but I had rather create my images in camera and then bring back what I saw when I lifted the camera to my eye with a few easy post processing tweaks. This lens is magical. It makes light dance and sparkle and come alive. Colors are rich and dreamy. It may take a while to get if off of my camera as the nearby places that have become a bit boring and old to my eye suddenly have new life. This lens speaks to me of how much we can do together. We could go places together. I can see a dreamy future ahead of me.

I think I am in love.


Focusing the Lensbaby Velvet 56

The Lensbaby Velvet 56 is a versatile lens. When you shoot wide open(aperture of f/1.6) the images have a wonderful glow. However, your focus needs to be spot on when shooting wide open. Here are a couple of things you can do to ensure that the image is in focus when shooting wide open:

  1. Adjust your camera diopter to your vision. Some people recommend setting the diopter with a lens other than the Velvet 56, which is not always convenient. If you own a mirrorless camera with an EVF (Electronic Viewfinder), take a picture of a landscape with the focus set on infinity at an aperture with an f-stop value of f/5.6 or greater. Review the image in your EVF, and adjust the diopter until you see a sharp image.
  2. When want to take a picture using a large aperture, change the aperture to f/5.6 and focus the image. Then without taking your eye from the viewfinder, turn the aperture ring counterclockwise and count the number of detents. There are four detents from f/5.6 to f/1.6—f/4.0, f/2.8,f/2.0,f/1.6.

The second technique takes a bit of practice. After a bit of experience with the lens, you’ll be able to access the focus and aperture rings by feel. The focus ring has enough friction to hold focus when  you change the aperture. Just make sure you don’t accidentally bump the focus ring after your subject is in focus.

At the Beach

At the Beach

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