I've been coming to the botanical gardens here in the Bronx for the last 4 or 5 years now, and before I moved to Staten island a quarter of a century ago I used to come here to photograph many more years on top of that. Yet through all those visits I've never once took the time to explore the the many plants and flowers inside the Haupt Conservatory as I did the one's outside of it - until today. On a whim I decided to explore it's innards, and it turns out there are lots and lots of things to see. I didn't get many shots though because many places with wonderfully photogenic plants and flowers were along narrow pathways with people traveling back and forth with little elbow room for me to operate in. Or there wasn't enough light to give me the exposure settings I was looking for in the areas that were open and roomy. But I was still glad I came, as it really is a beautiful place to visit.
As I came up a set of stairs and entered an atrium I saw a door leading outside. Walking to the doors edge and looking outside my eyes squinted a little bit readjusting to day light after being inside for over an hour, made all the brighter by the near cloudless sky. Leaning lazily against the doorway I stopped to observe the people I saw interacting with the large goldfish filled pool that was the signature feature of this locale. I could see it held potential for a really nice image if someone at just the right spot did something, I knew not what, worth photographing.
I didn't want to fill the frame completely with my potential subjects, rather instead I wanted to include a bit of the surroundings to capture a feel for the beauty of both the area and the day. I have several zooms that would do that perfectly, however they all have maximum apertures that are too small, which would leave this background in too sharp a focus for my taste. That would make the background steal too much attention from my subjects, causing any resulting shots to be far less impactful, if any good at all.
Realizing this right away I reached in my bag for my 85mm f2, which I tossed into a tiny free space in my camera bag this morning just in case I came across this exact type of situation. Being that it is an old manual focus lens it could have fit into my shirt pocket if necessary. Even though I knew there was no flower or insect I was going capture today with this lens, yet because it's so small it allowed me to turn it into a "just in case lens", and now just in case was paying off. All that was left was for me to patiently wait for someone to come by and do something interesting, like this....
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