I recently visited the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall. Their current exhibit titled, “Orchid Mystique Nature’s Triumph,” is amazing. This was my first visit, and I didn’t know what kind of photography equipment I should bring. Tripods are not allowed, but the good news is that you are allowed to get within inches of the flowers! The light is low, so I recommend bringing a fast lens. I took the majority of the pictures with my manually focused Zeiss 50mm 1.4 lens. I was very happy I brought my Canon 24mm f/1.4L lens, too. Next time, I will be sure to bring my lens-mounted ring light and 60mm macro lens.
The “jungle” area of the conservatory has three tiers! As you’d suspect, it is very humid with periodic bursts of mist falling from overhead. So, keep your lens spot free! The paths are narrow, and you don’t want to be lugging bulky equipment. I am sure one of the botanists would have beaten me with an empty pot if I would have knocked over an orchid.
All and all, I had a great experience and I am looking forward to my next visit.
NOTE: Please, don’t steal my work — see my copyright notice below. If you’d like to use any of my images, send me a message. If you’re a charitable organization or an educational institution, my answer will probably be “yes.” But please, ask me first. Thank you.
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