Wednesday, March 21, 2012


When our friends, Mark and Julie Peterson, visited us last weekend, we paid another visit to the Desert Botanical Garden, spending several hours there.  Although I took my camera, I did not bring my tripod or my macro lens.  Nevertheless, I did get some nice images.  (Of course, I took about 180 shots, so I might have expected to get a few decent ones just by chance alone.)

Here is an early shot that I thought worked well.

I wanted the cacti in the front to be in good focus and the taller cacti behind be out of focus somewhat, to provide depth to the photo.  This was shot at an aperture of f/8.

I also liked the following photo.

There is a lot going on in this shot, what with the purple cactus at the bottom, pink flowers with long spikes in the middle, and an out-of-focus agave in the background.  Maybe too much going on.

Here's another shot where there is a lot going on.

I had taken this shot because of the one lateral plant (probably dead) that was snaking across in front of the vertical ones.  But I wound up liking it because of the field of star-shaped spikes that fill the image, all of which appear to be in pretty good focus.

In keeping with my penchant for looking for intelligible abstracts, I took the following shot of overlapping succulent leaves and the shot at the beginning of this post of the end of a cactus arm.

I was continually impressed by the variety of colors present in the desert plants, not just the green and purple ones but also those that had orange and red.

We did spot a mallard on one of the trails.  Mark Peterson got some good shots of the bird in the setting of a reed-lined pond.  Here is the best of the shots that I got.

Could have been taken in Wisconsin.

Dead or dying plants also caught my attention, in part because of the added colors and textures that they offered.

We also came across some old weathered stumps that offered interesting textures.

I took this shot at an aperture of f/11 to keep as much as possible of the surface in sharp focus.  I found this to be an interesting shot; however, as with a lot of my photos, it lacks context.  I need to learn to show enough else in the image to give meaning to what is going on here.

Finally, I found myself back at a group of flowers I had taken on more than one previous visit.  Here is the best of the shots I took on this occasion.

I wound up liking this shot for a number of reasons.  First, there is that rogue blossom that is lying above the stem rather than hanging below it.  (I did not place it there.)  Second, to get rid of any distractions in the background, I took this shot at a wide-open aperture of f/4.  And even though the blossoms are not in perfect focus, enough of them are in acceptable focus to avoid distractions in that regard.  The fact that the flowers have a nice soft feel to them also helps.  In the best of worlds, I probably would not have included the dying blossoms on the left, but I needed them for balance, given where the rogue blossom was situated.

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