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Monday, September 1, 2008

The Morton Arboretum Lisle, Illinois

This Article Features Photo Zoom

A 24mm wide-angle works great for landscapes around Lakes Marmo and Crabapple, while a 100mm to 200mm 1:1 macro lens is great for close-up work on small flowers, fungus and tree bark. The possibilities for images of the miniature world are endless.

Don’t forget warming filters 81A and 81B on overcast days. Test each filter by holding it in front of the lens as you view the composition to tell which will give the best effect. A focusing rail also helps dial in sharp focus when you’re at 1:1 magnification.

For longer shots, you’ll want a telephoto zoom to capture distant close-ups and more intimate scenes. A long lens with image-stabilization technology is great to have while hiking.

Be on the ready to capture the occasional deer, coyote or raptor. Image-stabilizing lenses in the 80-400mm zoom range are amazing, as shutter speeds as low as 1⁄60 sec. can be shot handheld at the 400mm focal length.

Best Times
As the Arboretum is an outdoor tree museum by definition, fall is the best time to visit. If possible, plan your trip for during the week, as weekends can be crowded, especially during the autumn festival in October.

During good years, the red maple- and sugar maple-covered trails are aglow with yellows, oranges and reds. Visit Lake Marmo, where a giant Freeman maple, a hybrid from Europe, exhibits striking green and red marbled leaves like no other. Small fire-red maples can be found there also. Leaf portraits abound.

Late in October, frosty mornings add a special touch to the landscape, the dying leaves gilded by nature’s paintbrush. Nowhere else can a photographer find such a diverse collection of woody plants all in one area. Plan to arrive by 7:00 a.m. to catch the best morning light, and spend a couple of days hiking the trails. Contact: The Morton Arboretum, www.mortonarb.org.

Essential Gear...

Whenever you plan on spending a day or more at a particular location, remember to bring along rechargeable batteries, especially if the weather is cold. Batteries drain faster in cold, and you don’t want to run out of power right when you need it most.


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