Saturday, November 13, 2010

DC's Hidden Gems - Part 1

By Chip Lenkiewicz, Penn Camera Tysons Corner
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It is really great living and working here in the DC area. So much to do in just a few hours drive - North, South, East or West. Yet some of the best things are closer by as gas prices inch ever upwards. One of those gems is the United States Botanic Garden (100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20001); right next door to the National Museum of the American Indian.

This place is a macro photographer/plant lover's paradise. It had been a number of years since I was last the the USBG. It had closed a few years back for a much needed renovation. In the process of the renovation, they added an outdoor garden.

On my recent visit there, I was treated to an upcoming exhibit of DC and international landmarks made out of botanical elements. It officially opens at or around Thanksgiving Day and runs thru January 2nd, 2011. A wonderful Holiday treat for young and old alike.

A few tips based on my recent visit... BIG thing... dress in layers. Botanical gardens are basically lavish greenhouses. So being able to shed layers of clothing and have a spot for them is a good thing. Next is that tripods and monopods are not allowed - unless you get a permit. Plan on going back at different times of year, and different times of day - DUH! As any macro photographer will tell you. The other tip is to allow your gear to get used to the temperature differences. Sometimes a simple micro-fiber cloth across the filter will be enough - unless you are coming in from the cruel November temps we have been having of late.

Otherwise take lots of pictures...