Friday, March 8, 2013


One of the gems of the Phoenix area is the Desert Botanical Garden, a beautiful 50+ acre horticultural park that features thousands of wonderfully cultivated desert flora.  I visited the facility a number of times on our last visit in March of 2012 and have already been back a couple of times since our return this March.  Looking for photo opportunities, I have to say that I have been disappointed so far with what I have taken.  Part of the problem may be that I am looking for something new and haven't seen much.  That is probably a function more of my inability to "see" opportunities rather than an actual lack of them.

Where I have any success it has generally been when I have been looking for patterns and textures--in short, abstracts.  Here, for example, are a couple of shots of a roof built of wood rafters and ocotillo stalks.

Not exactly desert flora, but I did like the patterns that the shadows were casting.

And here is a photo of an unusual growth on one of the saguaros (or maybe this is normal for some varieties of this cactus).

The following are shots of the trunk of some sort of palmetto tree that caught my attention.

The resolution on these shots was quite good, and I liked the quality of the light, which, interestingly, was taken in the shade rather than in the abundant sunshine.  I realize that these are the stub ends of fronds that had been cut off, so the scene is "artificial" in that sense, but I still like the overall effect.

And here are a few more "traditional" shots but, of course, featuring an abstract aspect.

In the shot above, I was primarily interested in capturing the filaments being spun off by these aloe leaves.  Although it is not apparent from the shot, the different parts of the image were actually at quite different distances from the lens, creating a depth of field challenge.  I played around with various apertures and decided that those shots with shallower depths of field resulted in a lot of the filaments being out of focus, something of a distraction to my eye.  So this shot was taken at a very narrow aperture of f/40.

For the above shot, I also used a very narrow aperture, f/45, to ensure that all the layers of leaves in the shot remained in good focus.

I liked the shot below both for the leaves' black tips and for the leaves' texture, which created an illuson of graininess.

I'm sure I will be returning to the Desert Botanical Garden a few more times while we are here.  I will just need to be more creative in my vision.

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