From the archives: Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens

7 07 2013

A sampling of photos taken at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens over the past few years

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Distracted by dragonflies and damselflies

17 08 2012

This much is true—I think photography has made me a more patient person (I think I just heard my dad mutter “hmppph” all the way from Texas). It is all at once stimulating, frustrating, exhilarating, overwhelming and all-consuming—and it requires immense patience. No more so than when I’m trying to photograph dragonflies! Today I sought a little time out of the studio at lunchtime—taking advantage of cooler temperatures—and headed to my favorite spot, Green Spring Gardens.

Mid-August is a time of fewer blooms, so I headed down to the ponds, which I rarely frequent when the gardens are ablaze in color. I found a semi-shady spot at one end of the pond where a few lotus flowers were in full bloom, spread out my traveling cushion (a plastic trash bag) at the edge of the bank, and set up shop to try and capture some dragonfly images. It was full sun—never my favorite for shooting outdoors—but I decided to work with what I had at the time, shadows accepted begrudgingly.

The pond was a flurry of activity with what seemed like hundreds of dragonflies and damselflies—staking out their territories, looking for love in all the right places, dipping into the surface of the water to drink and knocking fellow insects off their perches.

The first thing I did upon my return was ask Michael to set up my Nikon D300 so that I am unable to shoot without a card. Why was this important to do? Well, after the first 10 minutes of my photo session, I tried to review my images and got that dreaded “NO MEMORY CARD” alert. I actually said out loud, “Are you kidding me?” I am truly fortunate that this is only the second time I have forgotten to put in a memory card. Michael set it up so I can’t even shoot without a card now! I shot some truly spectacular images of dragonflies and damselflies in that brief 10 minutes. Alas, they are now just committed to my memory. I think I made up for the loss, though, by deciding to shoot continuously for the next hour to make up for my ineptness.

I tallied up the total of clicks—728—more than 8 gigs of images in just over an hour of shooting! These include overexposures, underexposures, out-of-focus, just-missed-its, but there are definitely some keepers, which I’m sharing below. I’ll have many more to share in future posts.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

20 07 2008

Bright and early this morning (too early), Michael and I headed out to photograph the sunflower fields at the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD, then headed over to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to photograph the Lotus blossoms. We first learned about the sunflower fields from my friend Nanda, who went to see it after reading about it in the Washington Post here. We’ve gone the past two years and have gotten there either before the blooms appeared or too late in the day when they’re spent and facing downward. This year, thanks to advice via e-mail from fellow blogger and local photographer Patty Hankins, we finally got to photograph the flowers at their peak! (Patty shot some really beautiful images; you’ll see them on her blog). I’ll be posting the sunflower photos later.

After an hour and a half of photographing sunflowers, we headed to Kenilworth in Washington, D.C. And once again, we arrived during the Annual Waterlily Festival and the Lotus Asian Cultural Festival (I thought it was next weekend). Since it was later in the morning than we had expected to get there, it wasn’t the optimum time for photographing Lotus blossoms because of the harsh sunlight. Despite that, photographing the myriad dragonflies ended up making it well worth the trip anyway!

To see the Lotus blossom images I shot at Kenilworth in 2006 and 2007, click here and here.

Here’s an article from the Washington Post about this “oasis in the city.” If you’ve got the room (and the pond!) to grow these beautiful flowers, read these growing tips from Doug Green. And take a look at Patty Hankins’ Lotus blossom photos and glean some great photography tips on her blog here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





While we’re on the subject of dragonflies…

1 07 2008

I photographed these two Blue Dasher dragonflies in natural light without fill flash. You’ll get your best shots (of almost any subject, but insects in particular) on an overcast day.

Check out Eric Isley’s article, Dragonfly Photography 101, for great tips on capturing these beautiful insects, as well as David Westover’s (very detailed!) article on How to Photograph Dragonflies with Flash.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.