Washington D.C.Last weekend Sue and I took what seems to be becoming an annual spring trip to visit our daughter in Washington D.C. It was wonderful to spend time with Abigail and her friends and perhaps most importantly we had the importunity to get to know her new boyfriend. He checked out quite nicely.
Again this was a great time of year to visit the capital. Spring was fully in bloom and the oppressive summer heat had not yet settled on the city. The Cherry Blossoms were already gone, but the rest of the colors were a lovely foreshadowing of what is to come to us up north.
On Friday we walked the Mall, which seems in perpetual construction, and then escaped to the wonderful United States Botanic Garden at the base of the Capital Building.
The gardens were featuring a remarkable collection of Orchids. On a Friday morning
the place was not especially crowded and we had a wonderfully peaceful and colorful stroll. The exotic flowers in the greenhouse were lovely subjects for photography. I only regretted not having my tripod to allow better control of depth of field with smaller apertures and longer exposures. As I discussed in my previous blog about cheating with greenhouse photography, enclosed settings eliminate the wind which can often limit the length of exposure in outside flower photography. Without my tripod, I did my best by cranking up the ISO and trying to suppress the jitters from my morning coffee. In these situations positioning of the narrow focus point becomes critical as I tried to place the
small zone of sharpness on the most important spots. In portrait photography that critical focus point is the eyes, for flowers it is generally the central pistil and stamen. If you get that sharp, the surrounding softness tends to serve only to draw attention to the flower’s “business" zone. All I could do was get as stable as possible, compose an interesting arrangement, and then adjust to ISO and aperture to allow a shutter speed down to around 1/40 – 1/60. With the help of my camera’s image stabilization function, this was about the limit of what I could trust myself to hand-hold. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. I had to be careful not to trip people as I knelt next to the flowers and I quickly learned to photograph the name tags immediately after I shot each flower. I hate having to use labels such as, “Red Flower # 2”. Next time I will come better prepare, but it is silly to complain about any time spent in such a lovely refuge.
|US Botanic Garden|
|Get the "Business" in Focus|
In the evening we went to the annual Gospel Concert by the National Symphony at the massive Kennedy Center. Great concert, but sadly, not awfully photography friendly in the hall.
Saturday was another beautiful warm day and
rolling Virginia hills. Susan was assigned to the job of driver so the rest of us
|Abigail and Grayson, Sampling the Wine|
|Wisteria Barn, Purcellville Virginia|
Old Town Alexandria
On Sunday, Abby and her house mates hosted about 20 of her
|Doors of Old Alexandria|
On our way home on Monday we watched as the spring color slipped away, but things here in New Hampshire are greening up as well. Over the weekend we had a great early taste of the season, but I know that, given our shorter growing time, our spring will be even more vibrant and exuberant. I can't wait.
|Colors of Home, Spofford New Hampshire|