San Francisco is an iconic City. The Golden Gate, Pier 39, The Embarcadero, the Trans America Building, and Beautiful Gardens. The later doesn't seem to really fit, does it? Beautiful gardens? Yes, Golden Gate Park is a semi hidden gem in a bustling city. The Botanical Gardens makes up just a small part of Golden Gate park, with a total of 55 acres. Within the 55 acres there are over 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world.This is like music to a photographers ears. Especially a photographer who likes to photograph flowers and plants.
I met up with 6 such photographers in front of the San Francisco Botanical Gardens on Saturday. After we got to know each other, we made our way into the 55 acre gardens. Almost right away I spotted a really nice subject, a fully blooming dogwood tree. This was the perfect spot to get all the photographers warmed up. The light was perfect on the dogwood flowers, it was soft and filtered.
I Talked about finding a nice flower to showcase as the main subject. One that was a little isolated and not cluttered around other flowers. Ideally, keeping images simple, clear, and concise is the way to go. Indeed, less is more. After the dogwood tree, we made our way into the California Native Garden. Along the way into the California Natives there were some nice little gems to photograph. Including some lovely Protea flowers. The protea are challenging because they typically have a lo of depth, which include some outer foliage, as well as some interesting inner foliage. For a macro lens the depth of foliage creates the need for a lot of depth of field. Once in the Native California area, we looked for some nice classic California Poppies. These golden beauties were still a bit closed up, as they had not had their fill of morning sun yet, but it was soon, as the sun had just started to warm them, and they slowly started to open up.
Once we made our way through and then exited the California area, the poppies were perfect. Along the way there were many fine floral specimens to photograph. The light was bright and on some nice flowers, it caused a bit of contrast. To eliminate the contrast and create soft light, I held up my diffusor and instantly softened the harsh sunlight.
Our time together flew by, so it was finally time to capture a fun group shot. I propped up my 5D mark 3 on a garden rock and captured a fun group photo amongst the beautiful red poppies. Afterwards we took a few more shots of the gorgeous poppies and then made our way back out the front gate, to say our farewells.
Until next time, Ellie 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.
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