Somehow it has been years and years since I last visited Kew Gardens. I managed to visit on the penultimate day of their Orchids – Colours of Colombia exhibition, which seems to have proved wildly popular. I got down to Kew just after opening on Friday and the guy at the ticket desk suggested that if I wanted to see the orchids I head straight there.
This proved to be a smart move. Sure, there was a slightly noisy school party who didn’t seem quite as excited by the vivid colours of the plants as their teachers were, but later on, once I’d left, I saw a queue snaking right back down the path towards the nearby lake, long past the “25 minutes from this point” sign I’d walked past on the way in.
I brought two lenses with me to shoot with – my regular “walkabout” 16-50 lens, and a 90mm macro lens. While I didn’t explicitly see anything on Kew’s website about tripods, I didn’t bother bringing one because I knew it’d be busy and tripods would get in everybody’s way. However, shooting macro photos without a tripod isn’t especially easy because you really need to manually focus, and the focus range can be fractional. My workaround was to shoot high speed while fractionally adjusting the focus ring on my Tamron lens. That gave me a better likelihood of capturing sharper images.
The bigger challenge photographically was the change in humidity between inside and outside. Camera lenses don’t like rapid changes in humidity, and as I strolled in from around 8C into the humid Princess of Wales Conservatory, my lens instantly fogged over. Wiping it with a lens cloth doesn’t help much either – it fogs over again. You just have to wait a bit for the lens to acclimatise.
Anyway, as well as the shots here, there are plenty more over on Flickr.