This trio of Lotus seed pods might look a little odd to those in the know- they’re not exactly in their native habitat. I was wandering the trails at Kenilworth, saw these three had fallen while still full of seeds, and picked them up to make a still-life. I re-planted them in the muddy bank of a lily pond to create this grouping.
This cat-o-nine-tails at full fluff presented itself to me at the edge of another one of the ponds.
I finally got around to scanning and uploading these shots from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens I took back in the waning days of summer. Now’s the perfect time to bring them out as it’s descending into freezing temperatures here, as a reminder of the golden light and radiant heat that we love to complain about while we’re in the middle of it, but deeply miss when it’s gone.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve seen me post other photos (and the odd video!) from Kenilworth. If you’re at all a fan of aquatic plants, Kenilworth is well worth the visit, as they have acres of lily ponds, lotus plants, cat-o-nine-tails and other species that grow in wet and marshy environments. In addition to the flowering plants, Kenilworth is a great place to go for wildlife – everything from dragonflies to frogs to turtles to herons and even supposedly a beaver family can be found there. And the amazing thing is that it’s not only in the middle of a city, but in the middle of a rough part of the city. Enter the gardens and you think you’re in some vast national park riverine oasis, not three miles as the crow flies from the United States Capitol building.
A turtle grabbing some lunch in one of the ponds at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington DC. I know I don’t shoot or post much video, but this was a nice, short clip I shot this afternoon that I wanted to share. Shot on my iPhone 6.
I’m feeling incredibly lazy this morning so I’m just going to let these photos speak for themselves. These are various scenes from around Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, which as I mentioned in an earlier post, are a 30-ish acre park on the eastern bank of the Anacostia River in Washington DC. Part of the National Park system, Kenilworth is a generally un-heralded and underutilized public park, a true hidden gem of Washington. Part of what I like about visiting is the psychological tension of knowing that just outside the gates of the park is a truly rough urban environment in one direction, and major hustle and bustle in the other, but while you are in the park you have zero awareness of this – a veritable oasis of calm and quiet.
Apologies all for the long pause from my last posting – I just needed a little break, and to recharge my creative juices after getting the show up on the wall. Perhaps this weekend I’ll post the pictures from the opening reception.
Anyway, here’s some stuff I shot last weekend and earlier this week. I lucked into a modest stash of Konica Infrared film, which hasn’t been made in probably 8-10 years. The stuff I have is older than that. I needed to find out how well it had kept in the meantime – IR films in general seem to age much faster than regular b/w film, and for all I knew, the IR-sensitizing dyes had faded and it would be just another slow b/w emulsion with tons of base fog, but grainy from the degradation (I shot some Kodak HIE 35mm that was from the last batch they did, and it had degraded to horribly foggy and grainy, despite the fact that it was only perhaps 4-5 years out of date). The results are in – while they do have noticeable base fog, the negatives are still quite fine-grained and do exhibit the infrared effect nicely, with very little overall degradation.
Here are results from two rolls worth, shot on a lunchtime walkabout near my office, and on an early saturday morning excursion to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
The infrared effect is somewhat subtle in these first two – the foliage is white, but the sky is not particularly black or contrasty. The red bikeshare bikes though are much lighter than they appear on regular b/w or color film. Also the wheel guards on the back wheels are completely translucent, but in real life they are dark smoked and/or black plastic.
The Rollei is a perfect camera for Infrared photography because you can focus and compose your images with the unfiltered viewing lens, so you don’t have to keep taking the filter on and off (the strong infrared filters like the Hoya RM72 I used are anywhere from nearly to completely opaque to the visible spectrum, making it very difficult at best to operate the camera with the filter installed on a single lens reflex camera).
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a 37 acre plot on the east/south bank of the Anacostia River which runs through Washington DC. Owned and operated by the US Park Service, it is one of the hidden gems of Washington DC. The neighborhood around it is still quite rough, which deters casual visitors not familiar with the area. I went looking for the giant lily pads they usually have, but they were nowhere to be found. One of the park rangers informed me that they had to skip the Victoria Lily pads this year due to budget cuts – they normally import them from the Amazon fresh each year.