Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

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For the modest $9 entry fee, a photographer gets a big bang for their buck. The obvious lesson at the arboretum is Macro photography with flowers everywhere that are ready for their close up across ten different landscape themes on the premises. However, to beat the heat or rain, and simultaneously learn the art of making still lives in natural window light as you step into any of the vintage buildings that date back to the late 19th century. For example there is the Queen Anne Cottage, originally constructed to honor Elias Jackson Baldwin’s third wife but they separated and the home became a gesture of appreciation for Baldwin’s fourth wife. The cottage is one of 5 different buildings that offer rich photo ops indoors and outdoors.

Start with several thousand orchids in the Tropical Green House and your instructor will help you highlight the flowers with Aperture Control techniques so you can isolate the main subject and simultaneously blur the background to create a soft impressionistic sensibility. Or use the camera controls to render an even focus throughout the entire frame of the image to catch the captivating essence of the entire green house, with the environs of trees and a sea of leaves, flowers and fauna. Then there is the Water Conservation Garden which is ideal for getting a sense of your Shutter Speed Control to create a velvety smooth rendition of flowing water or the crisp stop action of moving water as it is seen in one split second. As you capture your subject matter, your instructor will discuss composition strategies such as Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines and Symmetry to make dynamic images that draw in the viewers. Saunter over to the Meadowbrook Garden for beautiful landscape photo ops, of the San Gabriel Mountains, with lush meadows in the foreground peppered with magnolias and a variety of trees. In the Aquatic Gardens look for limpid pools of water accessorized by lily pads and various amphibious creatures. Your instructor will advise you on minimizing glare of the sun reflected against the water. There are endless possibilities in the Los Angeles Arboretum to encourage your creative efforts. One visit won’t even be enough to complete your portfolio of flower and landscape photography.

301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

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