Archive for December 2013

A Longwood Christmas

December 20, 2013
Longwood Gardens
Winterberries and cranes in a central fountain in one of the Longwood Conservatories

Garden Shoots is taking a winter break until January. In the meantime, I’m offering a re-posting of some seasonal images from Longwood Gardens several years ago. Hope you enjoy them!

Most avid gardeners on the East Coast know Longwood Gardens, near Philadelphia. Even in the winter, it’s well worth a trip. Two years ago, in early December, my camera club planned a field trip to photograph in the Conservatories, and I went along.

At this time of year, tripods are allowed in the Conservatory areas only in the mornings, so we arrived at 9 am sharp when the doors opened.

Longwood Gardens
Holiday plantings in the Conservatories are on a large scale for maximum impact.

Lighting in these areas is tricky. If the sun is out you can get gorgeous shadows made by the columns and the plantings, but the window areas blow out. If it’s overcast, the lighting is flat but you have fewer problems with shadows and highlights.

Winterberry shrub with poinsettias and decorated trees in the Conservatory at Longwood

We had both kinds of light, but my best images turned out to be those I took when the sky was overcast.

Longwood Gardens
Even the Christmas trees at Longwood are full of surprises – like yarrow as an ornament.

Outside of the main Conservatory halls, there were smaller vistas and views to take in and capture – like the Christmas tree ornaments above. So in the spirit of the holidays, here are some of my best images from that trip. If you haven’t been to Longwood, plan a trip soon.

City Hall Sights in San Francisco

December 6, 2013

For part of the time I was in San Francisco in July, I was on my own while my son toiled at work (or whatever he does there). One of the places I decided to visit and photograph was SF’s gorgeous City Hall, a Beaux-Arts structure that has been reinforced since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It’s a fantastically beautiful building, full of grand staircases and marble. Although I had my D600 with me, let’s start with an iPhone photo shot with Hipstamatic to set the mood.

San Francisco City Hall

Well, the writing speaks for itself. Captioned in Over.

Inside, I used the iPhone once more (same settings in Hipstamatic), then put it away.

San Francisco City Hall, Hipstamatic, iPhone

A shot of part of the ceilings inside – glorious.

Without a tripod to steady my shots, I set the D600’s vibration reduction switch to “on” and cranked up the ISO. (In retrospect I should have set it even higher than I did; I was using my excellent 24-120mm f/4 lens but many of the shots are soft 😦 . . . . ) The architecture is outstanding but I also loved seeing the folks who were there to be married, check out the big staircase, or just attend to business.


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