Today's torrential shower made me long for the beautiful day trip I had out to Longwood Gardens, http://longwoodgardens.org, in PA last week. I had heard great things about the Gardens and was excited to see it for myself. Thanks to an offer of other fellow photographers we headed out there on a crisp Monday morning. The grounds and the conservatory are amazingly stunning with flowers, plants and blooms of all colors. It's hard to take it all in and figure out what to photograph because there was so much to choose. We were given limited time in the conservatory with our tripods and so it was important for me to survey what I wanted to photograph. It's like going to a restaurant where you find the dishes you like but want to branch out and try something new. And a constant challenge I try to pose to myself is to look at the flowers differently.
One of the first striking flowers were these 4-5 ft tall "Tower of Jewels" from the Canary Islands. I had never seen them before, with the spikey foliages and tiny blooms nestled in between them. I wanted to photograph them with the back lighting to show the fuzziness of the curled up leaves.
In the photography, there's a term called "chimping" which refers to the sound that people make when they review their images from the back of their cameras. I was chimping even before I picked up my camera. And I must give it to the planners of the gardens on their excellent use of color. The sunny yellow calla lily among the walkway of blue hydrangeas immediately caught my eyes.
An increasing favorite flower of mine is the ranunculus, and carpeting the aisle are these delightful hot pink Asian Buttercup varieties. I wanted to show the pillowly layers of the petals.
In the kids garden there were small fairy irises along the paths. Even though we were inside the slightest breeze through the conservatory gave this image the nice dreamy blurred effect.
I was really surprised how much I am beginning to like cactuses as plants. They have such defined and strong patterns to them that I am attracted to them.
The agave plants dusty pale green color contrasted by their pointed barbs.
Photographing in bright daylight is always a challenge, but I enjoy trying to see how to use the strong contrasting light in my compositions. This was one of my favorites how the light sculpts it's pattern on the leaves.
As well because of the light you can see how on a cactus the little water droplet is the focus of this image and how important water is to these cactuses.
Speaking of water, the fountains in the conservatory are so soothing and amusing, like this lotus fountain. I love freezing the action of the water sparkles and splashes. I have so many more images from the trip that I may just end this post with this one.