Jun 282010

On May 16th I went with a couple of my friends to Brookside Gardens for the very first time.  I have to say that the experience was amazing, and I look forward to returning there.  I would love to explore some of their many gardens more, but we went specifically for their “Wings of Fancy” Butterfly Exhibit.

For $6 for adults and $4 for children age 3-12, a family can go visit the butterfly exhibit for a day.  Frequent Flyer Passes are also available for those who know they want to keep returning to the exhibit located in Wheaton, Maryland.  This exhibit is wonderful and runs from May 1-September 19 from 10 am-4 pm daily.

There is a variety of butterflys in the exhibit at the conservatory include some from North America, Costa Rica, and Asia.  A photographer has many opportunities to get some great photos of these beautiful creatures. The exhibit has several caterpillars and chrysalides to show the visitors the life cycles of the butterflies, but most of the eggs, caterpillars, or chrysalides are not in picturesque backgrounds but in man-made displays.  A photographer has to be patient with the butterflies, needs to hunt out the more natural looking backdrops, and be respectful of the other visitors to the exhibit.  If patient, they will be rewarded with some great photos of these beautiful creatures!

We spent several hours moving around the exhibit and we each loved our time there!  This is a common place for school field trips when school is in session and guidelines can be found at the website.  From a distance we were able to see the Japanese Style Garden but there was a wedding taking place there, there is also an aquatic Garden, Azalea Garden, Children’s Garden, Trial Garden, Rain Garden, and a Woodland

Walk.  We did walk through the Rose Garden which offers benches and multiple varieties of roses to photograph or enjoy.  There is also 2 conservatories on the ground that visitors can enjoy, all for free.

I highly recommend the Brookside Gardens for any photographer to get great flower shots, but the butterfly exhibit was wonderful, too.  Timing could be everything and the greenhouse is often about 10 degrees warmer then outside according to the website.  I know it was warmer the day we went and going outside to a few of the flower gardens felt nice.  This is a place to bring children to teach them about these wonderful creatures and to just sit and enjoy the beauty oneself.  The flower gardens are beautiful, too for anyone who wants a free exhibit in Montgomery County to explore.  More of my photos from my day at Brookside Gardens can be found on my Flickr Page.

Jun 242010

On May 13th I went with several friends to Annapolis, camera in hand.  I have been to Annapolis many times, but 0nly once before with camera in hand.  Each season has it’s own beauty but few pictures were obtained in the wet, cold snow that was falling on that visit.  To me, Annapolis is a beautiful city that is intriguing because there is so much history laden there.  There is an atmosphere to the city that brings with it the past, the present, and the future.  There is a mixture of the ocean and land there as the city centers on the ocean.

Annapolis is the home of the United States Naval Academy, but alas, because 3 of the 4 in our party were toting large camera bags with us, we were unable to enter the grounds.  This is a warning to all photographers, no large bags are allowed on the Naval Academy grounds, nothing larger then a medium sized purse I believe.  So carry all your gear around your neck or in pockets.  I know from past visits to Annapolis that there are many things to photograph at the academy and well worth the hassle!

There is a lot of history to be found in Annapolis, there is also many modern things to be found there.  There are several Starbucks in town, many places to shop, and of course there are many maritime related places.  Many birds abide in the harbor along with boats that can all keep a photographer busy for quite sometime.  A couple in our group had never gone somewhere with the specific intention of obtaining photos, and I have to say that Annapolis opened its arms wide to welcome us!

There are many small things that can catch a photographer’s attention, but many large things, too.  I know that I was intrigued by the large buildings such as the Maryland State Capital Building, but there was also wildlife on the harbor and small scenes or pieces that just captured my imagination.  I admit that I love to shoot macro shots, and found many opportunities this day to get great shots of different textures from cut wood to chipping paint.

In the end I had a great day with friends and got some great shots.  Annapolis has something for everyone.  There are many photographic opportunities, but also shops, history, and great food (especially for the seafood lovers out there!).  Annapolis is a beautiful city that has a little for everyone.

More pictures from the day can be found on my Flickr page:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cwiddy/sets/72157624344902652/.

 Posted by at 12:15 am
Jun 182010

This year on May 1st and 2nd at the Carroll County Farm House Museum in Westminister, MD I attended the annual Civil War Living History Re-Enactment with a few photographer friends.  Events like this is a photographer’s dream! There are so many angles that can be taken at an event such as this.  There were re-enactors  of family life, a battle to photography, and just every day moments in family life that could be photographed.  There were people there demonstrating how things were done in history including some physicians and blacksmiths.  There was also music being played by a group, and by individuals.

One of the challenges was to  not be overwhelmed by all there was to see and forget to photograph!  For someone who wanted semi-authentic pictures, it was difficult in some situations to take out the spectators or the things that are modern and not period.  I found cars in the back ground of many of my pictures or spectators not in period garb, but the event is there to teach people about history, not just to live the life style of that era.

Events such as this are great because a photographer can help the re-en-actors teach those who come to the events by catching the moments that take you back in time.  Photographers can catch some of the moments that may make one chuckle such as children dressed in period garb gathering around a vending machine that is very obviously a modern convenience.  One can catch a demonstrator teaching and advertise the events for what it is, an educational experience.  It is also a way to escape from the modern world and life a lifestyle that is very different from what we live today (if becoming one of the re-en-actors).

The Civil War Living History Re-Enactment at the Carroll County Farm Museum was a lot of fun to attend and is a great place for people of all ages.  Photographers, historians, or even those who want a great family activity will love it.  I have more pictures posted on my Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cwiddy/sets/72157623980307704/.

For more information about the Carroll County Farm House Museum and events it sponsors can be found at: http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/farmmus/events.asp.  Information about this specific event can be found at http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/farmmus/docs/civil-war.pdf.  And more information about Civil War Re-enacting can be found at http://www.cwreenactors.com/index.php.

Jun 022010

This spring on April 10th I had the honor and experience of my first trip to Longwood Gardens.  Longwood Gardens can be found at 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348, not too far from the Maryland-Pennsylvania border.

I have to say that the grounds and the conservatory at Longwood all have much to offer to those who are interested in photography, learning horticulture, or those who just want to be surrounded by beauty.  There are fountains both inside the conservatories and out on the 1050 acres that makes up the gardens.  There are 20 indoor and 20 outdoor gardens to be seen.  There is an Italian Water Garden that alas was not running yet during our early spring visit, an open air theater, and a fountain garden along with many other smaller fountains that can be found while exploring the grounds.

Longwood‘s Conservatory boasts to have more then 5500 plants on display and was originally constructed in 1919 according to the Longwood Garden  website at http://www.longwoodgardens.org.  I can testify that there is much to be seen within those doors and any photographer can spend hours finding the perfect picture.  The lighting can change throughout the day, as the many windows let in natural light but there are also many shadows that can get in the way of the perfect photograph. The indoor Children’s Garden even has a lot of photograph with bright stained glass windows and cute lizard fountains on just has to be patient to capture it.  Remember that it is for the children first!

The outside gardens are also beautiful.  There is a wide variety of things to see and lots of flowers to keep a photographer busy.  There are walking trails, gardens, and wildlife that can be seen if one is patient enough to find it.  There are several areas outside that are also made specifically with children in mind including a tree house exhibit, and Longwood’s Bee-amazed Children’s Garden.  This is a fun place to go for people of all ages!

Photography is encouraged by Longwood Gardens but for personal use only.  Tripods, monopods, and easels can be used only until 12 pm, and only after signing a form that all images will not be used for commercial use and are for pictures of the gardens only (no taking people in to get wedding pictures, portraits, etc).  Monopods can be used throughout the day, although can be limited on days with fountain shows or fireworks.  All photographers need to pay admission at regular prices ($16 for adults, with a group rate of $12 as posting of this blog).

I did not go to Longwood to explore their programs, but looking at their website I see a concert series, educational opportunities for people of all ages, and special events at different times of the year.

I highly recommend Longwood Gardens for anyone who loves the fragrance and beauty of flowers, fountains, and loves the outdoors.  It is a great place for a family outing, too.  It is a photographers paradise and offers hours of opportunities for taking pictures or learning about horticulture.  Go have a look yourself!  Different times of years offer different opportunities, so plan visits throughout the year!

For more pictures from my day at Longwood, see my Longwood Gardens Set on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cwiddy/sets/72157623950624443/

Jun 012010

Been really busy this spring with a lot of activities.  Going to try to do a blog on each of the beautiful places I’ve been in the last couple months.  I’m going to start with Longwood Gardens, then talk a little about a Civil War Reenactment had the honor to shoot,  Brookside Gardens, Bombay Hook, and hopefully after this weekend I’ll have some pictures from the Ocean City Airshow to post about.  Trying to get better at keeping up with my blog and sharing my many photographic adventures with you.

 Posted by at 4:51 pm