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Check out Botanical Gardens in your Area for Some Great Photo Opportunities!

Botanical gardens are great places for photography offering exotic plants and flowers as well as unique animals that might otherwise be challenging to find in your area. Most large cities have at least one botanical garden available to the general public. A Google search ought to point you to one in your area.

Bees, other insects, and hummingbirds are common subjects of photographers there and are most often captured with macro and telephoto lenses with either natural light or ring flashes. The San Diego Botanical Gardens, formerly Quail Botanical Gardens, is one such place well worth a visit.

Privately owned, these gardens recently underwent a massive expansion effort intended to attract more children. Hamilton Children's Garden was opened there this year designed to engage children in crafts and various learning activities as well as to facilitate camps and seasonal projects like Lady Bug Day which is hosted there one day each April.

I've attended several meetups there with other photographers from San Diego to shoot the's a look at two of my images.

I shot these two with a 100mm macro lens at f/2.8, on a tripod, with a single focus point centered on the stamen and carpel of the flower to create a natural circular gradient of focus graduating from super sharp at the center to a soft focus toward the tips of the petals.

These next two were taken at Sydney, Australia's Royal Botanic Gardens located in walking distance from the Sydney Opera House. These gardens are free to the public and are a must see on any visit to Sydney. On the first image, I applied a High Dynamic Range - HDR process to it. If you look closely to the top of the image you'll notice several black pod-looking things hanging from the branches. These are Flying Foxes - bats! The second image I blew up and applied some extra sharpening and contrast to show them a little more closely on a tree closer to the ground.

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