Getting out to photograph nature in 2020 has been challenging. I’ve become better acquainted with the parks near my home than ever before, but last week was different. My husband and I drove to New York City for a family visit. Seeing the family after a long wait was terrific, but it was also fun to visit the New York Botanical Garden and within it, the tropical plants in the beautiful Enid Haupt Conservatory.
Walking through the Haupt Conservatory, we were surrounded by ferns, palm trees, an assortment of cacti and lots of unfamiliar and varied green plants. Since it wasn’t crowded at all, we could take our time, and I could take photos!
Sunshine streamed through the windows at high noon, so conditions were perfect for Infrared Photography — my new creative pursuit. With a Sony a6300 camera converted to see only Infrared light and part of the visible light spectrum, only above 590 nanometers, I captured a dozen or so images. It was fun to have a fresh subject to shoot, and some new infrared images to process.
Here is one of my Conservatory images of (visibly green) foliage looking quite different in infrared.
What did you learn today? Whether your field is medicine or teaching or child rearing, I’m sure you learn something new every day. Right now I’m using these few months close to home to learn lots about processing infrared photographs. I’m finding Infrared Photography an interesting creative outlet.
After having a Sony camera converted to capture only Infrared and “SuperColor” light (over 580 nanometers), I learned how to White Balance, Channel Swap, and adjust the hue, saturation and tonality of the color captured. That may be a lot of meaningless jargon to you, but the message is this: it is all quite technical and detailed, but the tools, once mastered, are fun to play with!
Today’s share is a photograph I shot outside the Conservatory of the New York Botanical Garden on October 3. I chose the sharpen the foreground plants while fogging and softening the background. I also chose to feature the golden color we love in the Fall against the deep blue sky. All of these choices are creative ones; I like that this image is uniquely mine.
The detail and delicacy of a spring peony is best described not with words, but with a photograph. The New York Botanical Garden has a long, luxurious peony bed, full of different colors and varieties. Visit the Botanical Garden on your next visit to New York City. Easily reached on the D train or by Uber. The gift shop is inspiring, too!
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Chihuly glass sculptures, installed in many prominent American botanical gardens, ostensibly aim to imitate nature. How do you compare these sublime towers of glass at the New York Botanical Gardens to a nearby stalk of blooms?
Inside the neoclassical pavilion, I found this simple and elegant stalk of blossoms. It is rather understated, you might say, but similar to the sculpture in its overall shape and repetition of blossoms up the stalk. Here the colors are more muted, not bold, primary colors the sculpture has.
Inside the pavilion shown in the first photo is a more fanciful Chihuly tower sculpture that reminds me of a Dr. Seuss illustration. It is white with pink polka dots, and its spokes curl like snakes. Symmetry is no longer the operative word. We might say this piece shows more personality.
The New York Botanical Garden is currently running a stunning Chihuly glass exhibit, and now is great time to visit. You will find about a dozen installations while you also admire all the spring flowers in bloom and stroll in the beautiful grounds.
It’s no accident that the gifted glass artist Chihuly chooses botanical gardens like Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory or Fort Lauderdale’s botanical garden to display his work. Chihuly glass pieces often take their inspiration from nature, and mimic plant forms with great success.
My daughter and I agreed that this was our favorite piece at the New York Botanical Garden installation.
Photographing flowers at the New York Botanical Garden with my daughter Erin, I was treated to eye dazzling displays of pink and green, especially in the peony garden. But the rock garden offered some different visual treats. One of them was this delicious juxtaposition of velvety crimson and a frosty green. I loved the way the frosty green ferns framed the spherical peony blossom.