Royal Botanical Gardens – Spring

With some very summer-like weather this past Saturday, I headed out to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton. It was sunny and hot, and after having been cooped up for a few weeks studying and writing exams, I wanted to get out and do some photography.

I went out the day before and picked up my first circular polarizer, a Nikon 67mm one that was well regarded in the photography forums I’ve dabbled in. A bit cheaper than the B+W ones, but I thought it’d do the trick. I screwed it onto the front of the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and set out to learn how to use it. What do you know, it’s about as simple as turning 90 degrees to be sun and adjusting the polarizing ring until the skies look nice. 🙂

Apparently there was a quilt festival of sorts at the main building and so there were a lot of people at the RBG. I made my way to the Mediterranean section towards the back of the building and shot a few flowers and other interesting plants while sweating bullets. Not only was it about 27C outside, the greenhouses really trapped the heat. I imagine it was well over 30C in there. I also realized the real close up work required in a situation such as this would require a macro lens. The Tamron simply can’t give the needed magnification. No biggy – macros aren’t really my thing anyways. I’m still lusting after a nice wide-angle for landscapes…

Tulips

Crossing the road to the main outdoor gardens proved to be pretty disappointing. Nothing was in bloom yet and most of the trees were just beginning to bud. I rather like this shot of a walkway that is usually covered by climbing vines, but there were only a few dead branches from last season hanging on. I’ll definitely head back for a visit later in the summer.

Path

What ended up being far more interesting was the Rock Garden portion of the RBG, a little further down the road. The tulips were in full bloom and the varied terrain offered some nice shots. This was a shot I liked in particular. The (what I think is a) new-growth willow tree had such a nice shade of yellow-green. Very calming.

Crisp Tree

There were lots of rocky paths throughout what is a very small area. The Rock Gardens are well executed; there are a few spots that make you feel like you’re enclosed by nature despite it not actually being very deep. I took this shot from the shade and had some trouble with the sky in the background. Some post-processing allowed me to save most of the highlights.

Rocky Road

And finally, those tulips. There were big clumps of them in full bloom. I set the D90 to Vivid to see if I could get some nice punchy colors straight out-of-camera. I slightly desaturated this photo. The reds were a bit too vibrant and started bleeding into each other.

Tulips

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