Today was just fabulous. The weather cooperated and I got the chance to visit one of my favorite places, the Tower Hill Botanic Garden. I've been a member for a few years now and always enjoy visiting. I never see the same thing twice, and often find new plants and flowers along the way. This time I took my friend David, who is also a photographer, as he had never been before. We both use Fuji cameras and with our 60mm macro lenses we decided to venture out there and explore.
If you're in New England please visit them as there is so much to see. Its a great place for families, students and to just spend the day seeing everything they have to offer.
Don't forget to visit the Twigs Cafe. We made sure to stop for a bite. We enjoyed some very tasty sandwiches and then went back to taking photos.
Since we had our Macro lenses with us we decided to spend the day taking close up photos. Its funny how many times we found something interesting and David telling me he could spend hours in that one area taking photos. I had to remind him we still had a lot more to see.
Near the parking lot we saw this nice plant with many flowers on it. The bees seemed to like them as well.
I like these small plants. I have some in my yard as well, but they tend to be early bloomers and enjoy spreading.
Walking along the path I saw this blossom tree. These are nice and bright and really add a lot of color to the scenery.
There were a ton of daffodils everywhere which was nice to see. There were different varieties as well.
Here is a close up.
Yup another photo of these small plants. I just really like their bright color against all the green around.
When the bees and wasps and hornets are out you know Spring is here. So, I had to get at least one photo of one of them.
Further along the path we were treated to several areas filled with tulips. I'm always happy to see these every year, but David had not seen so many in one place. He sat down and took a lot of photos. This cluster is in front of the main entrance to the Tower Hill information center building. I'm so glad Spring is here!
Here is another angle so you can see how tall some of them are.
As you can see from the two previous photos there were some smaller ones growing underneath as well. Here's a baby tulip.
And here are the parents! Just kidding.
From there we continued on to the backside of the gardens towards the pond area.
This plant is found near water a lot around here, but is often curled up. These caught my attention.
Alongside the path I saw this very small plant. It appears it hasn't bloomed yet and almost has a wintery look to it.
This was another wildflower growing along the path.
On our way to the Twigs cafe to get some lunch we walked by the water fountain located in the middle courtyard area. I saw these tulips getting hit by the sun.
After lunch we walked around a little and then decided to head out. These two tulips were near the road so I preferred to have them in black and white. I really like how the sun is hitting them.
A little further I saw this grip of tiny flowers low to the ground.
Once again I had a great time walking around the Tower Hill Botanic Garden. I know I'll be back soon as some areas haven't fully bloomed yet and I really like seeing their vegetable garden as well. But, even so, we didn't get to see everything on this walk. I know David enjoyed taking photos as well.
So if you're local or are visiting check it out! There is tons to see and some great food the Twigs Cafe!
Today I decided to head out to Tower Hill Botanic Garden. I've been going there for almost four years now as its close by and always has flowers and plants to photograph and they are open year round. During the winter less people visit, but they have two large rooms, the Orange Room and the Lemon Room. So, if you want to take your camera out to take photos, but don't want to brave the new england weather Tower Hill is where you want to go. There were only a few people there today so I felt free to wander around and take photos at my leisure.
I headed out with my Fuji X-E2 and my 60mm lens. Aside from the photos of jelly beans I took a couple weeks ago I haven't used it much favoring the 23mm and 27mm length lenses. So I thought I'd head out and get some more practice with this lens. Its a bit different to my old macro lens and since I own it I should probably use it. I'm also trying to get a better feel for it as I'm highly tempted to replace it with the much faster 56mm 1.2 lens that was just released, although that one is not a macro lens.
When you arrive at Tower Hill, you go through the gate, pay, and then drive up to the parking lot area. Then you see this pagoda which has a map and some information about the history of Tower Hill. This photo is taken looking towards the parking lot.
Then you turn around and walk up some steps to a small path and see this sign.
Then you walk left to head into the main building. At this point the wind was blowing pretty heavy so I was eager to get inside.
This is the entry to the Lemon House (Limonaia). Both this house and the orange house are used for weddings and other functions. They have very high ceilings and plenty of windows as well. Its amazing how every season they change around the plants and the layouts.
So I started to walk around and taking photos. As this lens is not a full macro lens I found that I could get close enough without having to switch it into manual focusing. None of these are at full macro mode, but I was happy being able to get close, focus and move on. I never use a tripod for my macro/close-up work and also don't spend many minutes per shot.
Sometimes I see lines, shapes or shadows that look interesting as well.
The walk around Tower Hill went well and I was happy with the results. I'm excited for the warmer weather as that means about 6 more areas of flowers/plants will become available. Luckily I have a membership so I'll be back sooner than later.
I think I learned my lesson of walking around for hours in the cold yesterday that I decided to stay in today. But, that turned out well as I was able to play around with my new 60mm macro from Fuji. I've had it for over a week now, but hadn't really had a chance to use it. So, I grabbed a couple things about the house and took a few photos.
I had a small asian style cup around and some jelly beans. Figured they'd make good subjects and food.
The first photo is a sort of closeup while this next one is a macro. The 60mm lens is not a "true" macro as it doesn't get to 1 to 1 ratio, but it does get close enough. Because it doesn't get that shallow I actually had no problem setting the camera (X-E2) to macro mode and using autofocus. With my Nikons I tended to stick with just manual focus as you could get much closer.
This is close to the closest you can get. Not bad at all!
Here's a different angle. Mouth watering yet?
Please note that all of these were shot under f8 as I wanted accentuate the depth of field.
I also had a nut blend laying around. These are a little larger, but figured they'd make good subjects as well.
Notice how the background just fades away. The cup is probably a good 12 inches behind the nuts.
Thoughts on the 60mm macro from Fuji:
- I like it a lot. Its sharp, contrasty, focuses quickly for macro work when you set the camera to macro mode. This tells the camera its looking to focus closely. When not in this mode it will travel the whole focusing range which can really slow it down.
- The build quality is fantastic. Its metal, has the aperture controls on it and a large focusing ring as well.
- Its a little larger than the 18-55mm, only slightly, but has a much larger lens hood.
- For a prime lens f2.4 is not the fastest, but it does produce some fantastic bokeh.
- If you're looking for a great portrait lens and macro lens this is the one to buy.
Thanks for visiting.
I have always really enjoyed macro photography. From the days when I was using my Sony power-zoom camera to my first DSLR.
Actually, I enjoyed seeing macro photography in magazines and books prior to that, but you know what I mean.
I liked that you could isolate a subject that was much smaller in real life.
So once I mastered my kit lenses on my first camera guess what my next lens was.
You guessed it a macro lens! I picked up the 60mm 2.8 Nikon. That lens was sharp! It created great bokeh. The backgrounds just blended and faded away while keeping the subject tack sharp.
Now, true macro is a little more up-close/magnified and with more in focus, but I have my own style.
Tip: I never use a tripod for my macro photography. I use some flash from time to time to freeze the subject and to get more even lighting. I always use manual focus on my lens as it is far more accurate at that magnification level. I find the right distance, lock it on, and try to stay still. You will find that your body will move slightly as you breathe. So I have learned to time it so I get what I want in focus as I move slightly.
Of course that technique isn't for everyone and is pretty hard, but with a lot of practice it can be done. You just have to really know your camera.
The reason I don't like to use a tripod is that I like to get a couple shots and move on to the next interesting subject. As I don't get paid for these photos, I take them for me. I'd rather spend a couple hours and have 40 different subjects than trying to get 6 perfect images.
Tip: If you are interested in a macro lens the longer focal length the better if you are taking photos of insects. It will allow you greater distance from your subject. You'd be surprised how an extra three inches of distance makes you feel much better when taking a close up of a hornet. There are several great lenses out there so if possible rent or borrow one to find the right one for you. Currently I use a 105mm 2.8D Nikon. This lens is both sharp and also works great as a portrait lens.
So if you're looking to stay creative with your photography and to find something new try macro photography. It literally is a whole different way of seeing the world.
It does require some patience, but very fun.
WELCOME TO THE BLOG
Please use the search bar below to find what you're looking for or click on the category that interests you.
Thanks for visiting!