This next installment of macro nature images comes from a trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens at the end of July. One of my favorite nature spots in the DC area, Kenilworth is the only National Park site dedicated to cultivated plants. In addition to a beautiful display of water lillies, Kenilworth has huge impoundments full of Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), beautiful flowering water plants with a host of interesting biological properties. Because of their beauty, and some of their cool properties, they make great photographic subjects.
One thing I love about macro photography is that it gives you a chance to take great pictures under challenging light conditions. Kenilworth Gardens opens relatively late (7am) by nature photography standards. If you have the luck or flexibility to visit on an overcast day, this really isn't a problem for macro photography (although the night blooming plants still fold up pretty early). But if you arrive on a relatively clear hot DC day, the light can get harsh and contrasty well before you run out of subjects to photograph. Fortunately, with macro photography you are dealing with small enough subjects that you can isolate subjects in the shade, or manufacture your own shade, or manipulate the light with handheld diffusers or reflectors. I also like to experiment with using backlighting for dramatic effect; either using the light transmitted through a leaf or flower petal, or focusing on a larger area and letting the contrasty lighting create strong and unique shadow patterns. So remember, next time the sweet light disappears, instead of packing up and heading home, throw your macro lens on your camera or a diopter on your favorite zoom lens and start looking closer!
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens-July 20 - Images by Elijah Goodwin
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