Yesterday, on a spur of the moment I hopped the Metro North at Grand Central Station to the Bronx Botanical Gardens for the annual Orchid show. I arrived at 11:00am so the crowds were nothing like they were three years ago when visited with my friends, but it was still a challenge weaving in and out of people to capture a shot or two.

Since I had not planned on going to the BBG I had only my 50mm 1.4 with me and therefore had to get creative and move in as close but not too close to ensure I capture the orchid or cactus and nothing else. Using a very shallow depth of field help to beautifully blur any unwanted objects in the composition like people’s hands, feet or noses or any plant signage. The aisles between the displays of plants are narrow and you are literally surrounded by people the entire time you are shooting. Sometimes there are two or three photographers shooting at particular orchid at the same time and it is best to move on and come back when they’ve left to get your shot.  Standing and waiting is futile (as Captain Picard would say.)

Although I love the vibrant color and the variety of the orchids my favorite  place to shoot while at the BBG is the cactus garden.The area of the conservatory where the orchids grow is darker than the area where the cacti grown. In the cactus garden there is much more diffused daylight streaming in from the windows above and thankfully dryer than the Orchid gardens. With all of this wonderful light I spent over two hours in that garden alone taking one photo after another of the spiny, prickly poking things that grew from this desert vegetation and had to be careful not to back into any of the larger more “endowed” cacti.

When I was sure I took photos of almost every variety of cactus and there are many, I made my way down to the tropical gardens where the humidity is twice that of the Orchid garden and just as crowded and a lot darker. Using a wide aperture a higher ISO and at times fill flash I was able to capture the colors and textures of these leafy, climbing, dangling moss or lichen covered tropical rainforest beauties. I was sweating bullets after an hour and almost sprinted to the exit door which led outside of the conservatory to get some cool air.

I was amazed when I looked down at my camera and saw that I had only ten shots left; my memory card holds over 600! Making my way back through the orchid garden to the exit and the train station I used the few last shots for a few orchids I missed and called it a very productive day. I was exhausted.

As you might have guessed I spent the rest of last night and all day today processing my photos and finished about an hour ago. I created two galleries one for the Orchids and one for the Cactus and Tropical.  Below is a little taste of yesterday’s adventure at the gardens and if you want to know the names of all of these lovely plants and flowers I’m afraid you will have to click on the BBG link at the top of this post because it will be a few weeks by the time I keyword all of these images with their botanical names. Wishing you all a great week ahead and remember to always stay in focus.




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