Skunk Cabbage, or Lilly
Skunk Cabbage, or Lilly

I have been going back to school to earn my long overdue business degree. One of the unintended consequences is that I have little time, and less energy for other important things, like photography (and housework….). Yesterday, however I made myself go to check out the Skunk Cabbages at Freeman King Park.

I was not expecting much, since it was supposed to pour rain (late Sunday, we still haven’t had much rain) and I thought it might be a little early for the flowers.  I was wrong on both counts. The weather was perfect. It was overcast, but not gloomy. Perfect directional soft light. It had rained the night before, so there were water drops on all the plants.

I was not as well prepared as I would have liked to be though. My camera doesn’t have “live view” so I had to crouch down, in the heavy, sucking mud, and look through the viewfinder. Did I mention there was lots of mud? I thought I had charged my batteries, but I ended up going through 3 sets, and even then, my camera was complaining about almost dead batteries. I guess I am really trying to justify buying a new camera (all I need now is the cash….)

Otherwise I am very well set up for these macro shots. I have kept an old heavy Benbo tripod that is perfect for swamp photography. Not only is it versatile in that the head, and camera, can be placed at any angle, especially close to the ground, but the legs are sealed and waterproof, so they are not harmed by sticking them in mud (that is heavy and sucking…). Once I was finished photographing, I just rinsed the legs. I did not have to disassemble the tripod to get all the dirt, as I would have to on my Manfrotto, or any other tripod.

In the past, I have used my 300 f4 lens because of its excellent close-focus capability, and the fact that I could easily rotate between horizontal and vertical with the tripod collar. This year, however I found myself using my 60mm macro and my 24mm more. I also tried some multi-image panoramas (such as this 6 shot image).

I do have to admit that the hike back to my car was tough. I guess carrying 20 kg of camera gear and having my boots constantly stick in the mud was more effort than I had anticipated. It was fun though.

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