Food, Fun and More

An Afternoon of Spring Blooms

Last Saturday, I took a drive over to Hidden Lake Gardens with my cousin, Robin. We’re both photographers and it was her idea to spend an afternoon taking pictures and talking shop.

Hidden Lake Gardens 01 web
Discussing photography with a non-photographer will slowly cause that person’s eyes to glaze over, they will start to back away with frequent glances at their cell phone. That is one reason photographers tend to hang out together.
After lunch at the Big Boy in Brooklyn, we continued east on M50. Hidden Lake Gardens is on the left and if you’re not careful, you’ll drive on by, never knowing what you’ve missed.
We paid our $3 entry fee at the gate, which gave us access to the climate controlled greenhouses (arid, tropical and temperate), the reception building with its unique gift shop and miles of trails; some for driving, all for walking.
Since there was a cool brisk wind and it was too early for outside spring growth, our destination was the greenhouses. To our surprise and delight, the Spring Bulb Show was in full bloom. We could see that the temperate room was overflowing with color. Knowing we would spend most of our time there, we saved it for last.
a suculent webWe started with the desert plants. Robin had rigged up two portable black velvet backdrops. By using them we were able to isolate the distinctive blooms and leaves from unwanted backgrounds, bringing full attention to the flowers and plants in our photos. We even shared the backdrops with two girls who were taking pictures with their phones. A orange tree web
We moved on to the tropical room. The warm humid air was welcome after months of dry cold Michigan winter air. I went through the room twice, seeing blooms and fruit that I’d missed the first time.

a Pineapple web
I was surprised by the pineapple plants growing low, tucked in between larger plants. I’ve tried growing my own from the tops of grocery store pineapples. I ended up with rooted plants but no fruit. The ones in the greenhouse were the first plants I’d ever seen with little golden pineapples.
When Robin and I had finished with the tropical plants we turned our attention to the temperate room. I stood in the doorway and let the colors of spring wash over me. There was a subtle smell of warm earth and awakening in every breath.

a bench web
Our camera shutters started clicking. The formal displays and grouping of blooms filled our lenses. Sunlight filtered through the frosted glass roof making the light perfect for photography. We were able to shoot without a tripod, using a low ISO, fairly fast shutter speeds and any f-stop we needed to get The Shot.  a reflection web
After an hour or so of shooting, I sat on a bench to take a break and just absorb all the spring beauty.

a daffodil web
I glanced up and there was another photographer I knew. Kenny and his wife were celebrating their wedding anniversary with a trip to Hidden Lake Gardens. He is a professional photographer and let Robin and I try out his super-duper camera, a Canon; Robin’s camera of choice. I prefer a Nikon, but the quality of both is comparable. Either one will render great quality photos.
We spent the entire afternoon in the greenhouses taking photographs. On the ride back to my house, we talked about equipment we’d like to have, new techniques we’d heard about and where we want to go for our next photo trip. It looks like we’re headed to the Butterflies are Blooming exhibition at Meijer Gardens. It’s gonna be fun!


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