I live 5 minutes away from the Chicago Botanic Garden and walk through the garden several times a week. As I walk through the garden, I often look for unique scenes to create images. I'm looking for image ideas that are a bit out of the ordinary for botanic garden images.
I would often walk past the North Lake with the evening fountain glowing at sunset, and I wondered how I could create a captivating and unique garden image. And then, on one evening walk, it struck me. Why not use a neutral density filter with a long exposure?
I had recently started working with a variable Neutral Density filter to create "slow" water images with various slow shutter speeds. Applying an ND filter to make the evening fountain image would let me use a long exposure with a slow shutter speed, which would be ideal for the picture I imagined.
Now, all I had to do was wait for the right weather conditions to include some evening clouds to add some contrast in the sky. One warm and pleasant summer evening, some clouds arrived in the sky, and I headed over to the garden to create the image I had in mind.
I set up my tripod, framed my composition and added the ND filter to check the exposure time. I watched the clouds move gracefully across the sky as the sun set. The light was beautiful with yellow and orange tones, but I needed one small ingredient for my decisive moment to create the image. And voila! The fountain light popped on, lighting the base of the fountain, and now I had my decisive moment to create the image I had initially imagined in my mind.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor