Sunday, November 27, 2016


The Mitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee's indoor botanical gardens, have been a mainstay of mine for getting macro shots of flora.  Unfortunately, last winter it became apparent that the facility was going to need major repair.  The Domes were closed for several months to install netting as a stop-gap measure to prevent chunks of the glass-paneled domes from falling on visitors.  Recently, all three domes were re-opened, and this weekend I paid my first visit since last winter.  Here is what I got.

This first was a more or less traditional shot of a chrysanthemum (or similar) flower from the Show Dome.

The next was of a trio of pincushion cacti in the Desert Dome that I converted to a black and white.

I intended this to be a symmetrical shot that would include the "centers" of all three cacti, but it didn't work out that way, and I decided I was happy with the asymmetrical composition.

This following was of a simple leaf in the Tropical Dome that I also converted to a black and white.

Because the leaf was relatively flat, I could go with a relatively wide open aperture of f/3.5 to eliminate any background distractions.  The conversion to black and white seemed to bring out more of the subtle texture in the leaf's surface.

My preference in these shots has been to crop the composition.  This serves the function of allowing more emphasis on detail and leaves to the viewer the task of completing the overall composition.  That could be said as well for the next shot, also of a leaf in the Tropical Dome.

My goal in the following shot of a detail of a large banana leaf was to bring out the fine pattern in the structure of the leaf, which was being backlit by the late morning sun streaming through the glass dome.

My favorite of the shots from this visit to the Domes was of what appeared to be a chard-like plant in the Show Dome.

In this photo, because it was shot at close range (less than a foot) and because the plant's leaves had quite a bit of depth, I used a very narrow aperture of f/40 to preserve as much depth of field as possible.

John M. Phillips

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