This past week I walked past the “Enchantment Pond” outside the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. It isn’t very large but right now a couple of dozen water lilies are blooming. I photographed these lilies one day in the sun and one day in the overcast of the fog. Both provide lighting pros and cons.
The aim of his large Water Lilies paintings, Monet said, was to supply “the illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon or bank.” Monet’s presentation captures the changing qualities of light while blending the lilies, water and sky into abstraction while seeking to create “the refuge of a peaceful meditation in the center of a flowering aquarium.”
I am choosing to present segments of the pond very realistically.
The water lilies nobly burst through the water’s surface to reach the sun,
offering fragrance and gentle enchantment
while making home for bees and dragonflies.
The wisdom of the yellow petals unfolds for those who pass by
taking with a simple glance a meditation ready to reside in heart and soul.
A sun lit day provides crisp colorful reflections and an overcast day provides an even light that holds the saturated colors. With the sun often comes wind and that means you need a pretty fast shutter speed so your dancing water lily won’t be blurred in your image. So the challenge is getting the depth of field you need.
On the over cast day, with practically no wind, I mounted my camera and 100-400 mm lens on my tripod. I could use a relatively slow shutter speed to allow for a smaller aperture opening (f/16 or f/22..etc.) to get greater depth of field (The water lily and the floating leaves in the pond all in focus). When using a long lens remember to use the mirror lock up so the vibration of the shutter doesn’t cause motion blur.
But if you want to be more Monet like you might want a lot of blur. I will try that next time.
And don’t miss the turtles there!