Triple Yellow 1
Descanso Gardens in La Canada California use to have one of the most beautiful spring bulb gardens in SoCal. However, a malicious tulip bacteria has significantly affected the bulbs in recent years. The bulb garden looks OK from a distance, but the closer you get, it becomes obvious that the garden gets most if its color from the primrose and other annuals planted between the tulips. In addition, I missed peak bloom by about a week and most of the flowers were spotted and/or wilting.
I overheard one other photographer at the site tell his buddy he should have stayed in bed. These are actually encouraging words as photographing beauty is now a "challenge" which will require the photographer to look a little closer and be a little more imaginative to get acceptable images. There is nothing more disheartening than when you have the opportunity to photograph a subject under perfect conditions and learning that you did not capture "the moment" when you post processed the images. It happens more often than most photographers will admit.
The gardens are located near mature oak trees and the sunlight passing thru the trees actually softened while enhancing the beauty of the tulips. The light was continually shifting so tulips that looked great one moment, looked dull and listless the next. Of course, this also meant that if there was no light on a couple of tulips that you wanted photograph, just wait a few minutes or check back from time to time to check the lighting conditions.
I used a 105 VR macro hand held and a 200-400 telephoto zoom on a small tripod to capture the images. The trick is to take multiple exposures of an image using different F stops and then picking the best one later on the computer. Using F4 on the 200-400 produces outstanding bokeh.
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