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It was a cool and foggy summer day in San Francisco and the sky was like a giant soft box. The weather couldn't be better for a day of photography at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.
As my students and I walked through the front gates we were greeted by the staff with a warm welcome and a lovely map of the lush 55 acre garden that sits hidden among the beautiful city of San Francisco.
After looking over the map and deciding to check out, "a flowering display of rare and endangered plants native to the tropical cloud forests of Mesoamerica." According to the amazing description and arrows on the map, we made a sharp right and went into the “cloud forest.” I took this time to go over the camera settings and the basics of flower photography. We also talked about lens choice such as, Macro lenses like the 100mm 2.8, or the 65mm 2.5, and many other options that would aid in the capture of these rare beautiful flowers.
The students and myself felt as if we were in a magical forest of sorts. With the delicate and unusual fuchsias dangling gracefully overhead, towering tree daisies, vibrant salvias there were so many options that before we knew it the class was nearly over. So decided to make what we thought was a short hike across the Gardens from the Mesoamerican cloud forest to the Ancient Plant Garden. On our way we met a furry little friend who just could stop posing for pictures!
After the students had their fun with unexpected wild life photography, we finally made it to the weirdest part of the garden yet. San Francisco Botanical Garden's Ancient Plant Garden host some of the most interesting plants I have ever seen such as the, Gunnera tinctoria, or as we would call it, Chilean rhubarb. This giant leafy plant was very vibrant and had a pinecone shaped growths near the base of the stalk.
After what seemed to be only a few minutes was actually almost an hour. This flourishing park had so many flower species within a few feet of each other that we couldn't take a step without stopping to photograph something. So this concluded the workshop for the day, and we all said our good byes and made the trip to our cars parked just outside the front gate.
The San Francisco Botanical Gardens are a magical place and after taking the time to photograph all the rare flowering plants located inside its iron gates, we will not forget the fun and colorful landscape nestled so perfectly in the city of San Francisco. Thanks to all of those who attended my class and I look forward to seeing more of you in the next one.
Ajay and the entire Aperture Academy team!
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.