It is hard for me to imagine that 30 years ago I did a lot of photography other than birds: I’d go out for wildflowers in spring, changing leaves in autumn, ice storms in winter, insects and mushrooms in summer, etc. And then I’d also be shooting B&W in a second body and always be looking for textures and patterns.
Now such shots are mostly incidental to the birds I spend so much time looking at, such as these two images from Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
These flowers were shot in a garden at Boyce while I was waiting for some bird action at a nearby water feature. I had turned away from the water and was quite taken with this view just behind where I had been sitting. I liked the view through my 300 and 2x, so took this with the D200 at ISO 200, 1/125th second at f/13 with a kiss of fill flash. I know it is a “messy” composition, with out of focus stems, the yellow blossoms pushed so far into the top left and clipped along the edge, but I love the way the light comes through the orange flower and how it looks against this almost black background.
The cactus was taken in a different part of the same garden at Boyce on a rainy day 13 months earlier. It was my first chance to test a used 105/2.8 macro lens that I’d picked up – my old one was manual focus and although it mounted on the D70 body I had at then it didn’t couple to the meter, so I traded up to the auto focus version to get metering with the D70. The rain wasn’t expected so soon in the day and it caught me off guard, so I grabbed a few quick handheld shots at ISO 500, 1/160th at f/5.6 and headed for cover and then the exit.
The rain, of course, is in many ways a blessing here. It gave me much lower contrast light so I could capture the complete tonal range of the cactus and show detail in the dark folds. It also provided lots of interesting texture in the form of the raindrops on the cactus.