Getting Reacquainted with the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Two years ago, I decided to take a camera to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It was the Earth Goddess display that piqued my interest. She seemed like the perfect subject for an early-morning image. Unfortunately, summer and autumn passed, and the visit was postponed until 2023. Last April, I purchased a family membership in anticipation of floral portraits, but once again, the year slipped away. By this spring, I had grown wary of making plans, but I finally made it two weeks ago!

Late March is not the best time to visit any garden—the grounds are still awakening from winter, and summer glory is still far off. Even so, I was eager to see what had changed since my last visit in the mid-1990s. Wanting to keep weight to a minimum and knowing that many exhibits would not be ready, I packed two rolls of UltraMax for my Freedom Zoom 160 and my Canon s95. It was a beautiful Thursday morning, and I was all set for a quiet walk around the grounds. The “quiet” part never happened–it was spring break. The place was packed.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is located in the center of the city adjacent to Piedmont Park. It covers a 30-acre area, and once inside, it feels as if the city is far away. Founded in 1976, it is fairly young but constantly growing. Since so many people were present, getting the type of images I wanted wasn’t possible, so I used this visit to learn my way around and take a few touristy shots.

As we walked around the grounds, the sun chased away the clouds, making it beautiful for walking but, very bad for my Freedom Zoom 160, which has a top shutter speed of 1/500. The sun was too much for the UltraMax. Even so, I got a few decent images. On my next visit, I will take an SLR with an ND filter to be safe.

The following images offer a brief view of the main sites at the garden’s center (see map): Anne Cox Chambers Garden, Japanese Garden (Canon s95), Vine Arbor, Fuqua Conservatory, Conifer Garden, and Rock Garden. A few images were taken inside the Fuqua Conservatory. The Conservatory has a glass ceiling, but there is dense plant growth, so it is still very shady in some areas.

Oddly, the shots of the skylights turned out great on film but poorly using the Canon s95. However, film shots of foliage turned out flat because of the flash, but the digital foliage shots turned out well. In all, I enjoyed my first visit to the garden in nearly 30 years, and I’m already looking forward to my next outing. In the future, I’ll double-check the calendar for school vacations.

The Fuqua Conservatory houses orchids and many other exotic plants, which is the subject of the next post in this series!









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