A Visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden

Orchid at the USBG

I spent last weekend in the tropics, or at least as close as the tropics come in Washington DC.  I took a two day photography workshop at the U.S. Botanical Garden with Joshua Taylor on creative flower photography.

Photo workshop at the USBG

A really nice aspect of the course was that we had free access to the USBG for two hours each morning before the public arrived.  This meant that we could set up tripods and take our time in locations that would otherwise be too obstructed as visitors are passing through.

The Orchid Room is particularly hard to get to when the public is visiting

There was some classroom instruction but the bulk of the time was spent in exercising our cameras.  I did notice after the fact that I was so intent on the photographs that I didn’t spend much time noting the details on what I was photographing.  As a result in the pictures that follow you will see little of specific varietal descriptions 🙂

Japanese Quince with blue backdrop

The Amaryllis benefited from focus stacking to increase depth of field

Cyclamen - mother and child

The Old Man Cactus looks like a family to me as well

Striking orchid with purple veins

Orchid detail

Using flash to supplement the natural light

The backlit orchids were both challenging and rewarding to photograph

The U.S. Botanic Garden is open on weekends from 10-5 and is situated right in front of the U.S. Capitol.  Despite this prime location there is ample parking on Saturday and Sunday directly in front of the USBG in the places marked for permit parking only.  Apparently the latter applies only during the week and the implied threat is enough to make for easy parking (during the winter weekends anyway).  They have a new (to me anyway) outside garden which I will have to explore on another occasion.

6 comments on “A Visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden

  1. Josh

    Over the top images—Wow! Thanks for being a part of the workshop. Enjoyed your company too.
    Happy shooting!

  2. Randy


    Looks like you picked up some serious tips on photography. These images are pretty good!

  3. Cricket

    Wow! I really loved the focus stacking on the amaryllis — you really nailed that shot. Sounds like the workshop was a winner:-)

  4. Kathy J, Washington Gardener

    Nice photos. Josh is such a good teacher and a talented photog himself. He judged the 1st yr of our Washington Gardener Magazine garden photo contest, hope many of his students consider entering in future years…

  5. jericho josh

    Great shots, Dad! Sounds like a real fun couple of days. You got several real headliner shots, and I really like that backlit orchid at the end.

  6. marianne

    John – these are wonderful photos – I was down there myself two weeks ago – so wonderful to breath deeply of spring. What a great class that must have been.