Sequoia Park Garden

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Eureka’s largest park is Sequoia Park, which contains a zoo, some redwoods, a bit of grass, a duck point, and a half acre flower garden. As parks go, it actually provides a fair amount of grist for the photographers mill. But perhaps the highlight this summer has been the flower garden, which is tended by a few volunteers. They have done a terrific job. The garden is literally exploding with color, and is a veritable feast for lenses and camera sensors.

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Photographically, what is most rewarding to shoot are not clusters of flowers or the garden as a whole, but single plants, with other plants/foliage serving as a background. The trick is use a longer macro lens (around 100mm) or a very fast lens (such as a 50 f1.4). Such a lens allows one to shoot with a very narrow depth of field, which enables isolation of individual plants by blurring away the rest of the garden into a wash of color:

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In such photography, what is out of focus can be nearly as important as the what is in focus. Look to find colors in the background that compliment the subject:

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Getting as close as one can to the subject also narrows the depth of field and allows the background to be completely blurred away. A macro lens is helpful in such work:

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There is no need to worry about getting the entire flower in focus. It’s actually not possible with the depth of field so narrow; nor is it necessarily desirable, as most macro and ultra-fast lens render out-of-focus areas very beautifully, leading to more artistic results, right out of the camera:

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Perhaps the best time of all to photograph a flower garden is after a rain or a mist or a heavy dew, when the plants are covered with large drops of water, some of them magically suspended from the plant itself.

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