Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

November 23, 2009

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Cactus

Filed under: Boyce Thompson Arboretum, favorite places, light, Non Birds — richditch @ 6:49 pm




I haven’t had much time for taking photos lately, and less time for processing the ones cluttering up my hard drives, but here’s a shot from November 15, 2009, from Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Although I’m mostly looking for birds when I’m out I also pay attention to other potential subjects. I liked the light on this fruiting cactus: directional light is a great way to reveal form in a subject and make the resulting photo more three dimensional.

By using my “bird” lens (a 300/2.8 with a matching 2x converter) it was easy to render the background as a smooth layer of color. I shot wide open at f/5.6, and at the ISO setting of 400 I was maintaining for possible bird work I ended up with a shutter speed of 1/800th second. I could have easily reduced the ISO to 200 or 100 and still had plenty of shutter speed for this stationary subject and the tripod mounted lens, but I’ve found the Nikon D200 gives good noise results even at ISO 400 as long as I get the exposure right. In this case I used matrix mode and dialed in 1/3rd stop less exposure compensation to protect the bright reds of the fruit.




  1. I am really taken by this photo. You’ve brought out the flowing sensuality of the cactus flesh and a translucent quality of the fruit that are in such diametric contrast to the hard, sharp needles. All of that due in large part to using the side light and, as you said, the smooth background. Very cool.

    Comment by Bosque Bill — November 23, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

  2. I love the color and light in this image. Very nice.

    Comment by Kimberly Hosey (AZ Writer) — November 24, 2009 @ 10:59 am

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