When it is winter, walks outside are mostly very refreshing, at least here in Winnipeg. Lately, however, winter seems to have left. Even the Canadian Geese are already back.

Portrait

It seems we saw them out only a few weeks ago. In reality, that was late October. The winter has been soft, this year. Leaving us with

muddy streets, wet gardens and mostly no place to walk without rubber boots. So it is time to visit the preferred place for many photographers and “normal” visitors: The Assiniboine Park Conservatory.

The Conservatory houses many plants, flowers and even some small animals like turtles. So, now that I have a new macro lens, I need to practice. What better place to practice than in a sheltered, warm place filled with tropical plants?

OrchidOrchid

These orchids belong to the Conservatory and are most of the time on display. They are an inspiring subject and there are many ways to take pictures of them. In this post you will see some macro style pictures and some telephoto style pictures.

OrchidOrchid

I let you decide which one is which. Sometimes, pictures need some lighting, even if there is enough of that available. It gives for a more dramatic effect, like adding shadows and relief to the subject.

OrchidOrchid

The above picture has a more evening feel to it, simply by slapping on a 1/4 CTO (yellow) gel on the Speedlight. It warms up the light of the flash and feels like an evening in the tropics. (Now, if only I could get that pina colada as well…).

OrchidOrchid

Other shots are from a bigger distance, mainly because I didn’t feel like putting my feet in the fish pond the gardeners have constructed. Same lighting setup.

TulipTulip

But not all the flowers currently in the Conservatory are tropical. Some look very familiar to the flowers I knew when I was a boy in Holland. The tulips over there, on the other hand, are grown by the millions, if not billions. The fields are full of them and are a dazzling sight.

Daffodil or NarcisDaffodil or Narcis

Daffodils are also a common sight in Holland, but more in people's gardens than on the fields. Although in Holland, they are mostly even yellow, not multi-coloured.

A monstrous sightA monstrous sight

Then, suddenly, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that seemed out of the ordinary. I changed lenses to my macro lens for this one and got this not-so-sharp shot. Handholding the camera a few inches above the ground with a long shutter speed is not the best for getting sharp shots.

Black SwallowtailBlack Swallowtail

Of course, if I need that macro lens, this sight is nothing to be afraid of. It’s only a butterfly. Hmm, a butterfly mid-March in a Winnipeg winter? Perhaps this one survived all winter. The average lifespan of a butterfly is 3-6 weeks, apart from the Monarch that can live up to 12 months.

This one looks like a Black Swallowtail, with part of the left wing damaged. Black Swallow Tails overwinter in the Chrysalis state, so this is youngster.

A little walk in a warm environment, that’s all it takes to come up with colourful pictures. Even in the harshest time of the year.

Thanks to the Conservatory for that.