Palm House Cone Tree

In the Palm House area of the Conservatory is this Tropical Christmas Tree. It is an amazing tree with tropical plants and flowers. Very colorful to photograph but difficult with all the visitors trying to take in all the colors and textures. A fun photo subject!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Christmas Lights At Longwood Gardens

We went to Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, PA, for their annual Christmas light displays. These are just a few of the outdoor displays at night. There are also many other displays throughout the Conservatory and other buildings. One of the other very interesting displays was a room full of decorations with amazing ornaments made from books and other paper pages. They must have been cut/fabricated maybe by laser cutting. But it was amazing to see the intricate cutting & fabrication. I will post some of them next. Most of the images I shot with an Olympus OMD-1 mk I with a 14-140mm Panasonic lens (with the lens stabilization turned off). I was also using a Canon body with a 12-24mm lens,  but was relying more on the OMD for in-body stabilization. Much lighter to carry and with the stabilized body worked well for the images in early evening. I found the Olympus in-body stabilization worked better than the Panasonic lens stabilization. Plus if you stop down to f/22 you can get some really cool motion blurs or spins with the Olympus OM-D. I saw a few tripods being used, but you usually have to get a free permit for them and cannot use tripods after 2:00. Plus it was so crowded it would have been in the way, so they probably would not allow it for this time.

The featured image above was at 22mm with the 4/3 Olympus OM-D mkI.

We had to get there early, before 2:00 in the afternoon, otherwise, even being members, you had to have a timed entrance because of the huge crowds that come to see the night displays. Also getting there later you have to park off site and take shuttles to the facility. But there is plenty to see before the evening lights up! It takes hours to go through the Conservatory, which is all decorated for Christmas, and you still probably will not see everything.



Late afternoon along the walkways, getting ready for the full impact of the lights at night.


Fountains set to music – when darker they would have colorful lights


Along the path to other fountains & displays starting to get dark.


3 image panorama @14mm- assembled in Photoshop


Birdhouse Display early evening before dark, 18mm, f/10 @ 1/5 sec


Bird house display in the dark, f/ 5.6 @ 0.3 sec


3 image panorama – 14mm. Also these were cascading lights, so in a way it is also an Image Stack that included the cascading lights as they “fell”.  14mm, 1/3rd of a second each exposure, handheld. Pano & stacked in Photoshop. f/8 @ 1/8 sec, handheld


2 image vertical panorama & stack. Panorama to show reflections in water and stack to include more of the cascading lights.


Single image, m43 15mm, 1/8 Sec to show green lights before changing to another color, handheld.


Christmas Tree Changing Color of Lights, 1/13th sec, handheld, m43 @ 32mm

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Tree with Lights and Color Spotlights on Tree Trunk. f/ 4.5 @ 12mm Canon, 1/30th sec

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Another Tree with Lights, 12mm Canon, f/ 4.5 @ 1/13 sec. handheld

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3 image Panorama, 24mm Canon, f/ 5.6 @ 1/8 sec. handheld

Longwood Gardens Conservatory At Christmas Time

I enjoy going through the conservatory anytime of the year, but for Christmas it transforms into a colorful fun filled place to visit. It gets crowded, but in the morning it is easier to get photos before the crowds show up for the evening Christmas light displays. Usually I concentrate on plants in the different sections of the Conservatory. The Conservatory spans 195,668 square feet—or 4.5 acres and there are many areas from tropical to arid, to lush gardens and orchids. But at Christmas time all the areas are decorated for the season.

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Bird of Paradise

It is always fun to photograph Bird of Paradise flowers. Below is a different Head-on view, giving a different perspective. They remind me of a Great Blue Heron or Great Egret Pose.


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Head on View of a Bird-of-Paradise Flower

Poinsettia Stamen Pistil

We went to Longwood Gardens in Kennet Square, PA for their Christmas display with their 500,000 twinkle lights in their more than 1,000-acre outdoor wonderland. While we were waiting we spent the day in their Conservatory that was decorated everywhere for Christmas. Christmas trees everywhere, Poinsettias and other plants by the thousands decorating the whole Conservatory giving a colorful festive area to photograph. I started with a 24-105mm to capture the “feel” and colorful displays. Then switched to 150mm macro for textures, shapes and closeups. Then switched to a 17-40mm for the outdoor displays at night. This image was when I was concentrating on the closeups and thought the Poinsettia Stamens looked really interesting. Especially that close up. It was so crowded I was traveling light. Next time I will bring a Canon MPE 65mm 1-5X Macro or a 200mm macro for a m43 camera to get even closer. It was crowded there I was traveling light and did not want to be in the way.

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Conservatory at Night

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Sample of some of the lights at night.

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