Spring is emerging at the Chicago Botanic Garden and I'm there watching it unfold day by day. This is my favorite time of year to photograph. Watching and capturing the emergence of new life each spring is exhilarating to me. The snowdrops started appearing well over a month ago and, in fact, they are now beginning to fade. They are the first harbinger of spring and such a sweet, welcome sight after a long Chicago winter. They are hardy and can withstand snow and cold, popping up as early as January some years. The image below was photographed in the Waterfall Garden. These snowdrops bloom along the steps going to the upper falls, making them easy to get close to if you sit on the steps. Snowdrops are the perfect subject for the Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens. I almost always photograph them with a very wide aperture. Snowdrops can be a bit tricky to photograph - finding that perfect balance of focus in the main flower and curving upper stem and a nice blurred background to eliminate distractions. I spend a good deal of time looking for clumps of flowers that have a pleasing main subject and a nice composition surrounding. Because I am photographing them early in the season, before the gardens have been cleared of leaves and stray sticks, I often have to do a little "housekeeping" around the flowers I am photographing, gently moving dead leaves and debris from the dirt around the flowers. It makes my post processing work much easier and is worth the little bit of time and effort. I am a purist when it comes to photographing in a public garden - no touching or altering the plant itself under any circumstances.
These 'Cream Beauty' Spring Crocuses in the lawn south of the Bulb Garden are usually the first crocuses to bloom each spring. I'm still waiting and watching the crocuses on Evening Island, my favorite crocuses to photograph. They are up but they have been tightly closed with our dip in temperatures and lack of sun this week.
Many irises are up around the Garden. The 'Harmony' Reticulata Iris are in abundance in the Sensory Garden Woods. The horticulturist told me yesterday they replant these each year because many don't come back - all 12,000 of them! I love the mix of the Whitespire Birches and the purple irises - simply a beautiful sight!
Another favorite iris is the 'Katharine Hodgkin' Iris in the Landscape Garden. I love the patterning on the petals and soft colors.
The very first early tulips are blooming in the Bulb Garden - 'Early Harvest' Tulip. They were wide open with the sunshine and warmer temps over the weekend but they closed with the cold yesterday. I actually find them more interesting to photograph when they are partially closed; their colors are more intense on the outer petals and the subdued light makes them glow.
So much more to come as spring unfolds. Let's hope for some sunshine and warmer temps. Stay tuned for regular updates as I capture the blooms of spring.