Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

July 29, 2012

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Variations


Cottonwood @ 135mm

Nikon D300, Nikkor 70-300 AF-S VR @ 135mm, ISO 400, 1/100th second at f/11 on 7/20/2012 @ 7:01 am

l my recent hot weather outings have been to Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, AZ, where the temps are a few degrees lower than at Phoenix. Although my primary objective on any visit to the arboretum is to look for birds, I also enjoy the other fauna, the flora, and the scenic views.

My favorite view is of these cottonwoods in Queen Creek canyon as seen from the switchback trail that passes below Picket Post House. The morning sun lights up the foliage of these trees and I find them irresistible when seen against the the hard rock of the canyon.

I usually am only equipped with my bird gear – my trusty 300/.2,8 lens and matched 2x converter mounted on a camera body and a large tripod, and even when I remove the 2x so I am using only the 300 it is a bit too much focal length for a good composition as seen in this image:


Cottonwood @ 300mm

Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8, ISO 400, 1/160th second at f/8 on 7/6/2012 @ 6:59 am

Although this composition with the 300 shows he light on the leaves to advantage I’m not satisfied with the way I had to cut off the bottom of the trees.

On my next visit I decided to squeeze my 70-300 zoom into my aqua pack along with all the other gear I carry just so I could shoot a bit wider when I got to the canyon view.


Cottonwood @ 195mm

Nikon D300, Nikkor 70-300 AF-S VR @ 195mm, ISO 400, 1/125th second at f/11 on 7/20/2012 @ 7:01 am

I  like this composition better than the shot at 300mm as it lets me include some of the hard rock formation in front of the trees as well as more of the trunks. The wider view also introduces some foliage in shade near the right edge of the frame, keeping the bright leaves from “spilling out” on the right side of the image.

Thinking this image was as much about the light as anything else I tried a B&W conversion:


Cottonwood – B&W Conversion

Nikon D300, Nikkor 70-300 AF-S VR @ 195mm, ISO 400, 1/125th second at f/11 on 7/20/2012 @ 7:01 am

Although I used to shoot a lot of B&W in my film days and like this image it just doesn’t hold up compared tot he color version.

The image at the top of this post was also taken with the 70-300 zoom but set at 135mm and is my favorite of the images I’ve processed from this trip so far.



1 Comment »

  1. The first image is my favorite too, it has a very pleasing balance of rock & trees plus I enjoy how the sunlight is kissing the leaves!

    Comment by Mia McPherson — July 31, 2012 @ 11:14 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: