Bellevue Botanical Garden

It's been a rather wet and dreary spring here in the Northwest.  Still, a few days of brilliant sunshine have been scattered here and there, and one of them fell on Mother's Day.  Being that it was a Sunday, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to visit the Bellevue Botanical Garden, as making that drive on a weekday morning would be a traffic nightmare.   I left the house around 6:45 a.m., giddy with the excitement of an early morning photo shoot, and I was in the garden shooting by 7:15.  The sun was just coming up, the dew was still heavy on the ground, and there was nary a soul around.  It was amazing!

The garden itself was quite impressive--especially considering that admission is free and the gates are open from dawn to dusk (very important for getting the right light!).  I didn't quite see the whole place, partly because I ran out of time (I only wanted to shoot with the early morning light) and partly because I ran out of room on my camera's memory card.  I had extra cards with me, but it turns out that the D50 only reads cards that are 2G or less.  My extra cards were 4G and thus completely useless to me.  I was disappointed, to say the least, but I still managed to take 450 shots, so I really can't complain.  Besides, now I have an excuse to get back to the Botanical Garden later this summer!

I borrowed my dad's 105 mm lens for this outing and opted to shoot exclusively with that.  I wanted to compare my experience with the 18-200 mm lens and figure out which lens would be optimal for my close-up photography.  Now that I've shot with the 105 mm, I'm pretty much hooked.  I really enjoy using the manual focus on this lens, as it allows me to be more creative in my focus points and I can easily experiment with different ones until I find what I like best for each picture.  It is also a faster lens (2.8), which gives me far more options with lighting and depth of field.  Let's just say I'm saving my pennies for a new lens.

Choosing favorites from this batch feels like an impossible task.  I did enjoy playing around with the aperture a bit, opening it up to an F-stop of 4.0 and, consequently, narrowing down the depth of field to just the petal edges.  Here are a few of those:

I also love this next picture because the green stems in the background seem to glow and give this photo a very abstract feel.  I think it would look great hanging on the wall as an art piece.

This is another one that stands out to me--and it happens to be the 'plant of the month' at the Bellevue Botanical Garden:
It's the Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Gold Rush,' or Dawn Redwood.  One of only a few deciduous conifers, it is a beautiful addition to any garden--and it photographs well, so what more could you ask for?

I can't settle on an overall favorite from this collection--I had a hard enough time just narrowing it down to 75 photos!  You'll have to help me out and tell me which one you would choose.  The slideshow is embedded below, or you can see them larger by going HERE to my Shutterfly site and choosing the 'slideshow' option from the right sidebar.

Here's to hoping there are many more sunny days ahead!


  1. Nice! So that's what the world looks like at 7:15 a.m. I'd been wondering.

  2. Morning light is heavenly! Someday I hope to get pics in morning light...... however I am under the impression I would have to get up and get going before noon so it probably won't happen for awhile! ;oP
    Your pics are wonderful as usual. I can see why you had trouble picking favorites!

    Oh, to answer your question from the last post, I found a refurbished D90 for a pretty good price and a 1yr warranty. I love it!!!


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