Saturday, January 30, 2010

A trip to the gardens with my new lens

Yep, I went to the garden again on Saturday.

I can hardly contain myself since I got my new "Weapon of Choice" on Friday and wanted to photograph all the things I missed with my 18-200mm lens. The 18-200mm lens doesn't allow me to get very close to my subject, so I had to give up shots in the past of smaller flowers and insects but not anymore! :D

The blurring of the background in this lens is very nice and I love how the photo "liquifies" from sharpness to blurriness at various distances.

Unfortunately the dragonfly that was cooperating with me on Friday refused to the same yesterday :( I tried to persuade it several times and lingered around the lily pond for hours but it just wouldn't sit the end I only got a partial of the eyes - magnification of the lens allowed the structure of the eyes to appear were very clear but if only the direction was better I would be happier...oh well...perfection is hard to achieve, good thing I've got plenty of time to practice :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

A new lens!

Today is a very exciting day for me. I bought my first Macro Lens (Canon 60mm EF-S f/2.8 USM Macro)!!

I've been looking into this lens for the last 2 weeks, thinking about the day that I may get it (it costs $800 rrp here and even at sale price it's usually around $700 - which was quite a lot to spend for me)...I reluctantly tried the 2nd hand online site and found that someone was selling this lens for $400 inc. a 1.5x magnification filter! I was so excited and yet skeptical, would this lens be damaged in anyway to warrant such a price drop? After trying the lens out for 15minutes however I'm convinced that this was the lens for me.

Somehow the way the pictures loaded on blogger are always not in the order of how I loaded them - the first and forth photos were taken using the macro lens while the others were taken using my usual 18-200mm lens.

I can't believe that the fly in the first photo was as big as an ant! The size it turned up on the screen was very impressive (and that's without the magnification filter)!

I am very very pleased (and slightly guilty for spending money) with myself for getting this new lens as I am sure it will be used a lot more than my 18-200mm (gosh I'll need a new bag to keep them both!)

The only thing this lens lacks is the image stabliser that I've come to rely on for some photos as my hands are not sturdy (especially if I'm in a strange posture as I often find myself), but given that this is a much lighter lens, I am sure that the problem will not be too difficult to overcome (practice practice :)).

And the shot I've been wanting to get - a frontal view of the dragonfly. It's turned out very clear, but now that I have a new lens, I have higher aspirations...hrmm perhaps another photo trip tomorrow if it doesn't rain.... :P

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back into photos!

Gosh it feels so great taking photos every week! Even with the sun and heat of summer as my enermies, the photo sessions still fill me with a great sense of satisfaction and joy - somehow the heat and sun aren't as bad as they seem during my photo sessions even though we usually go out during the middle of the day.

I haven't had much quality sleeps over the last few days (or the entire week for that matter), the heat was so unbearable that I had 2 almost sleepless nights - followed by sleeping from the moment I get home the day after due to exhaustion...

Yesterday was a day like that. I slept for max. of 2 hours the night before as I tossed and turned in my bed trying to find a cooler spot, so the moment I got home around 6pm I went straight to bed and fell asleep. A phone call woke me at 11pm, it was my dad on the other line, his news brings my sleepy mind straight back to full alert: his friend's Queen of the Night flower is blooming!

Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum), is a flower with many names. It is known officially as Tan Hua in Chinese, but also known as Yue Xia Mei Ren (Lady Beneath the Moon) or Wang Qing (Lost Emotions - it is said that the flower possesses such beauty that one cannot help but forgetting everything to admire the flower. Another story is that if one wishes to forget a painful memory, you can achieve this by eating the flower of this plant). In China, the blooming of the Queen of the Night is seen as both a rare and short lived occasion. The flower opens only at night and for a short period of 2-3 hours before it wilts away. The flowering process is easily missed if the plant isn't monitored every day during the budding period.

I found out that the Queen of the Night is of the cacti family, that's why its flowers are very similar to the torch cactus I photographed late last year.

The first photo is shot with my Canon IXUS 70 compact camera, depth of field is quite amazing for a compact camera.

I'm not sure why but the depth of field from my Canon 500D with the 18-200mm lens (photos below) does not achieve great depth of field, only one small part of the shot can be focused.

Finally, the shot I have been trying to achieve: a dragonfly headshot from the front. This is only a first go so the shot is still not perfect...I hope dragonflies continue to roam the garden so I can continue to improve on these shots.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

First day back!

First week back to work and photos!

The Royal Botanic Garden never stops to amaze. We were greeted with the most beautiful waterlillies we have ever seen! The poses, the perfection of the petals and the splashes of rain drops all over the flowers kept us glued by the pond, taking more and more shots.

On the other side of the garden, it is the end of the lotus era. It's a bit sad that we didn't manage to take more photos before all the lotus flowers became seedpods but then there will always be next year :)

Although I like most of my photos to be as sharp as possible, the first photo below is actually quite blurred. Somehow the blurriness did not bother me, I quite liked the way the photo turned out (even though it wasn't my initial intention), the fog like effect made the photo look almost like a paining in watercolours...

Autumn is almost here, I'm looking forward to taking more pictures of the different Autumn shades...and perhaps more shots of the succulent garden.