Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Photo Safari: Chicago Botanic Gardens

In an effort to improve my photography skills, I decided to go on a photo safari. Have you heard of them? Real photo safaris involve people paying money to go out in a small group with an instructor to shoot in a designated area. In Chicago there are really popular ones that meet at Navy Pier, The Lincoln Park Zoo, and Millennium Park.

My friend Ashley and I decided to have our own photo safari. We took a little road trip up to the Chicago Botanic Gardens (if you haven't been it's GORGEOUS!) and spent the afternoon snapping away. It was lots of fun, and I also learned a lot. I shot on manual the whole day, and remained really patient with myself when my settings weren't just as I hoped. The day was bright and sunny, and generally wonderful for being outside.

Before I share my photos, here are my lessons learned:
1. After several hours of shooting, I only took 69 photos. Either I am a perfectionist, or...
2. I am more inspired by people than plants/flowers/scenery.

Both of these discoveries make sense. I can only take so many photos of pretty flowers. But also, I imagine my shutter would have been clicking a lot more on a human subject. They move, they change expression, they require more "film". And yes, I don't just wing a shot. I have to feel it. So, I guess I only felt it about 69 times. (Could that sound more wrong?)

Here are some highlights of the day:

All images are SOOC (straight out of the camera). No editing!


  1. Wow! You took some gorgeous photos! I've been really wanting to learn more about using my camera's manual settings, but for some reason I have some sort of a brain block when it comes to learning about cameras - no matter how many times I learn it, the info won't stick in my head! :(

  2. Very nice photos!! I am in l.o.v.e. with the purple ball flowers - whatever they are. I have never seen them before and they're fantastic! Your waterfall picture is great...good job stopping the motion. To ditto what Amanda said, I can't seem to get all of the info to stick in my head. When I'm out and about taking pictures, I forget everything.

  3. Great photos! I am also trying to improve my photography skills - I think a photo safari is a great idea. The little pink flowers are my favorite :)

  4. very nice work lady! Wish I could go on a photo safari with you!

  5. These are awesome! The third one from the bottom is my favorite, I think. The focus is really cool. I work near the Botanic Gardens, but I have never been - this is the inspiration I needed to finally go!

  6. Beautiful!! I love all of them and I'm so impressed! Good for you for really going out and working to improve your skills! You might have mentioned this before, but what kind of lens do you have?


  7. Gorgeous photos! I love that they are SOOC!

  8. these are gorgeous, I want your camera!