Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Hot Summer Tips
Shooting Local • Botanical And Commercial Gardens • Falling Water • High-Basin Wildflowers • Up, Up And... • Time-Lapsing • Lightning In The Daytime • On The Water
Q It seems that all my photographer friends are going to Iceland this year, and last year they went to Africa, and sometimes they bring home great photographs that I feel like I've seen before. I can't afford the time and money to take a foreign photo expedition every year. Should I just give up?
Forest Falls, Calif.
A I feel your pain. In these days of the expensive, exotic, fuel-consuming field workshop, it might be a good idea to look more often for photo opportunities near home. As you rightly note, every exotic location is beginning to look familiar because all have been overexposed. Your only hope, and mine, is to look for new approaches to familiar subjects. You can do that anywhere, but the "loca-grapher" has the advantage of working (or playing, depending on what you and/or your partner call your photography) at less cost, and with much less stress, than the world traveler. And becoming familiar with and following a subject offers opportunities to capture unique perspectives and action.
Summer is a great time to explore most everywhere in North America. Ironic note: Photographers from other countries love to come to the U.S. for their own expensive, exotic, fuel-consuming photo safaris! If you don't believe this, just try to get a place in line among the German photographers waiting at Delicate Arch or The Wave!
Botanical And Commercial Gardens
Yes, every flower photographer wants to work in Holland's fabulous Keukenhof Gardens at tulip time in early summer. But botanical gardens all over North America have much to offer the local photographer, and they deserve our support and sustenance. Because most local gardens specialize in native plants and well-adapted local species, you'll find a great deal of variation from one region of the country to another. Gardens usually plan their landscapes to take advantage of a long season of different blooms, from early spring to late fall. Examples of some of my favorite botanical garden subjects are water lilies (Denver Botanic Gardens), azaleas and rhododendrons (Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle ), roses (New York Botanical Garden and Portland Rose Garden) and chrysanthemums (Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens).
Commercial flower growers are increasingly opening their fields to photographers, with festivals and photography contests held at peak bloom. I love the ranunculus in Carlsbad, California, the early tulips and late dahlias in Oregon's Willamette Valley, and more tulips in Michigan, Quebec and Washington's Skagit Valley.
Look for butterfly pavilions and gardens for combinations of colorful insect and floral subjects, often with a hummingbird bonus. My favorites: Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida, the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and the Callaway Gardens Butterfly Center in Pine Mountain, Georgia.
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