Wagon with flowers, canon 1d mark iv taken at lincoln park conservatory in Chicago,IL.

Dear friends, I know that we are stuck inside right now, but this story was something I wanted to talk about, since I experienced it in the past, the search for inspiration. What do you do when the people or locations you normally shoot aren’t available? Go somewhere new and find something different.

Flowers, canon 1d mark iv taken at lincoln park conservatory in Chicago,IL.
Colors abound – worth shooting for sure!

The answer was to head somewhere new (tough at the moment) and I have considered shooting inside for quite awhile but had not gotten around to doing so. One of the places to check out to find something new was the Conservatory at Lincoln Park Zoo, in downtown Chicago.  The idea was that in search of “models” perhaps the stunning array of plants would do, all of which are housed in a metal & glass palace (its really stunning) and even have a bit of a holiday theme. 

green leaves and flowers, canon 1d mark iv taken at lincoln park conservatory in Chicago,IL.
Green fronds and steel frames – love the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM!

Off I went, into the home of the plants themselves, armed with the Canon 1D Mark IV, sporting a 50mm f1.8 STM lens, and my trusty Pentax Spotmatic (circa 1965) which is a truly fun and compact 35mm film camera, with the wonderfully high resolution 35mm f3.5 lens (very sharp).

I ended up Digitally shooting in CR2, and on film shot with one of my favorite films to bring out blue and green colors: Fujifilm’s excellent Pro400h film. Seriously if you haven’t tried this emulsion I recommend going out and springing for a roll in any format. I can’t say it has the latitude for alternate processing as some of Kodak’s newer offerings (you may disagree), however the Fujifilm stock is amazing within its color palate, and even at shot box speed.  Some people overexpose it for the pastel look, but I find it excellent at all speeds even “box” or normal (metered for ISO 400).

Koi swimming in pond, canon 1d mark iv taken at lincoln park conservatory in Chicago,IL.
Lazily swimming Koi – lovely color!

Getting back to the conservatory, it offers a great set of shooting backdrops, with rooms dedicated to ferns, tropical plants, orchids, and other super fun themes.

Heading through the main entrance is a delightful Koi pond as well which is home to many small Koi, and a few giant swimmers who have likely lived there for quite some time.

See some of the photos interspersed in this post, for some of the digital shots, as rendered by the absolutely lovely and tack sharp Canon 50mm f1.8 STM lens. Everyone raves about the various 50mm lens designs by brand, and my guess is that since the optical formula for the 50mm lens in 35mm is quite old and refined, the ability of major brands to make optics this good can be done at a very reasonable cost.

Flowers, canon 1d mark iv taken at lincoln park conservatory in Chicago,IL.
Something fun about these particular stems – shot on Canon 1D Mark IV with 50mm STM

Without a doubt if anyone needs a first lens or better than a kit lens tip, its get that nifty fifty of your camera brand at the most reasonable price (The STM version of the Canon lens is about $120USD). You wont be sorry!

Green stalk with flowers, canon 1d mark iv taken at lincoln park conservatory in Chicago,IL.
Greens are some of the most soothing and vibrant – love them!

Enjoy the digital shots of the conservatory, and the film shots will be coming soon. Thanks for visiting, and leave comments on your favorite uses for Fuji’s Pro400h, and nifty 50’s!

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