The Arnold Arboretum

Figure 1 - Great Blue Heron, Jamaica Plain, MA, (c) DE Wolf 2013

Figure 1 – Great Blue Heron, Jamaica Plain, MA, (c) DE Wolf 2013

Our vacation wanderings last week took us to the Arnold Arboretum managed by Harvard University in Jamaica Plain, MA.  Established in 1872 by Frederick Law Olmstead, it is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the great jewels in Olmstead’s emerald necklace of green space parks surrounding the city of Boston. As you wander around, and wandering purposelessly is the best way to achieve serenity in the park, all the trees seem to fit in together.  But then on reading the labels you realize the great geographical and species diversity that you are observing.

Several years ago, I came to realize how disappointing the Tamron zoom lens that I had was in terms of sharpness, when I went to photograph a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) in the Plum Island bird sanctuary.  Yesterday, I spotted a huge heron by the side of the pond and I realized that it was a great test for my EF 70-100 f/4L USM.  The first trick is not to scare the bird.  So you take pictures as you slowly move forward.  Fortunately, I had my camera mounted on my monopod.  As a result I think the bird found me more amusing than threatening.  I used center spot auto focus.  Hold breath and exhale.  The result is Figure 1.  Despite the monopod, I made sure that the exposure time was faster than 1 over the focal length.  So the image was taken at ISO 400 using 1/500 s at f/7.1.  I am reasonably happy with the sharpness.  I might have preferred a 500 mm lens and I am not totally thrilled with the composition.  The heron probably likes the camouflage of the bushes, for me they conceal him a bit too much in a sea of contrast.  Still…

I am still working on a number of photographs from the day.  But another that I would like to share is a close-up of the flower of a silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) (see Figure 2).  I took this again with the EF 70-100 f/4L USM at 70 mm with ISO 400 using aperture priority, -1 exposure compensation, and center spot auto focus.  Exposure was f/9.0 at 1/500 s. Again, I am reasonably happy with the result.

Figure 2 - Silk Flower, Jamaica Plain, MA, (c) DE Wolf 2013.

Figure 2 – Silk Flower, Jamaica Plain, MA, (c) DE Wolf 2013.

This entry was posted in Personal Photographic Wanderings.

One Comment

  1. Mary Abud September 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Nice pictures!!!

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  1. By Stalking the green heron | Hati and Skoll Gallery on August 17, 2014 at 6:44 am

    […] called Black’s Nook in Cambridge, MA’s Fresh Pond Reserve.  While smaller than the great blue heron (Ardea herodias ), the green heron is beautiful for its iridescent green and blue […]