Rebecca and I recently took a Photo Excursion to the Huntington Library & Gardens in San Marino, CA (near Pasadena). It’s hard to believe that we’ve never been there – the photo opportunities are endless. However, this was our first visit and unfortunately not one of our more productive Photo Excursions.
The ~55 mile drive from south Orange County took us two hours. To say the location is a bit tough to get to is an understatement. It’s not freeway close and the nearest freeways are some of the most traffic prone.
So this excursion started off poorly – I’m not the most patient driver you’ll ever meet. Parking spaces were plentiful and covered by the cost of admission ($20/adult).
The grounds and gardens are widespread (207 acres) so the crowds at the entrance were efficiently dispersed and didn’t present an issue.
We started off at the Conservatory which includes a variety of greenhouses. Here Rebecca is taking a break with camera in hand.
We then hiked to the Japanese Garden area. It was already 1PM – the midday light was anything but favorable.
Harsh sun creates deep shadows, lighting that is not conducive to good landscape photos. We were able to mitigate some of the effects of harsh light by applying significant post processing corrections including HDR – a great tool that is explained in this earlier Tuesday Photo Tip post. The photo below shows me capturing a scene. The HDR post-processed results are shown in the middle and right hand panels. Not bad given the realities of harsh midday light.
The answer to harsh light – shoot shady areas as much as possible….
…or zoom in and position yourself between the flower and sun to provide even light.
The photos below were in a dense area with mostly shade and, no surprise, end up as two of our favorites.
We couldn’t stay long – we had to pick up Jeremiah at daycare and expected another 2+ hour drive home. On our way out we dropped into the Science is Beautiful exhibit and snapped this photo of some interesting fiber optic lights.
In the end we spent far more time getting to and from the Library/Gardens than we would have liked. Will we return? Absolutely the photographic opportunities are just too plentiful. But, we’ll go better prepared and will wait for a cloudy day so we can better capture the beauty of the gardens.
Stay tuned for our next Photo Excursion. In the meantime, check back for our weekly Tuesday Photo Tips and Family Friday Fun & Facts posts. Better yet – be updated automatically when we post Photo Excursions, Road Trips, Family Happenings or Photo Tips by “friending” our Facebook site. We also post favorite photos, along with an explanation of how it was captured, on our Pinterest page – follow us there and join in the fun.
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