Over the last 8 years I've been to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens a bunch of times, mostly looking for the Yellow Crowned Night Herons. But also other birds and the great Lotus flowers and water lilies.
This year there weren't any YCNH's that I spotted, so I photographed the Lotus a *lot*.
Sometimes the petals would fall off quickly, in a sort of chain reaction once the first one broke free. I'd never seen that before, it was cool.
The YCNH's were great in 2008. I went multiple times and got some close ups and some feeding photos...
The second to last time I went this year I shot the water lilies in the back, and the light was pretty good. I used a 600mm lens, which I would normally use for birds, and I shot the flowers...
Just prior to this visit I had gone to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens I think 5 times, and the first few times I took a normal approach and shot the flowers with a long lens, and had hoped to see birds, but still shot the flowers. The images I got were "normal" and looked ok. I was happy with them at the time. But they were like many other images I've taken and seen others take. This one with the Red-Winged Black Bird was a highlight. The birds were in the flowers and I could shoot them for just a few minutes before they flew off.
So this year on visits 4 and 5, I brought some macro gear and shot much closer images of the flowers and got much different and I think better results.
As I reflect on the half a dozen-ish visit I've made to KAG before this year, and then the 6 or 7 visits I made this year I noticed how it took a few visits to shoot through the shots and approach I had in my head already. It took that long to then be able to try to think differently, to see the gardens and flowers differently and to get different images.
On the last few visits I still brought a long lens (600mm) but I also brought a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 24-120mm f/4 lens, along with the Canon 500D closeup filter for a 77mm lens ring. By using that filter I was able to turn both lenses in to very close focusing lenses that gave drastically different shooting distances and super narrow depth of field.
I'm happy with the results I got this year. It took a bunch of visits to get lucky with the RWBB and then to start to see and shoot the flowers in a new way. In the future I guess I hope to be able to push past what I had planned and the way I was seeing things initially, and start to see in a fresher/different way like I did on visits 4 and 5 with the macro shots.
I've been meditating and practicing mindfulness this year and last year, and as I read what I just wrote above, I think that is a result of this new approach to life. It's all too easy to have a plan, work towards a plan, and then either execute on the plan and be happy, or not execute on the plan and be disappointed. But with a fresh approach and fewer expectations, and a more flexible nature new and unexpected things can happen.