Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

Last week my wife and I made a very quick visit to the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. This article features a selection of flower and foliage images that I captured during our short visit.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/5.6, -1EV, 1/50, ISO-200

I wasn’t sure what to expect going to the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens so late in the season. All I could do was keep an open mind and look for whatever opportunities presented themselves.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/4, 1/800, ISO-200

It has been well over a year since I had the opportunity to use the M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS zoom lens. I spent most of my time just getting used to the focal range and trying a few different compositions.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/5.6, -0.7 step, 1/640, ISO-1250

We arrived about 2:30 in the afternoon on a bright, almost cloudless day… so not the best conditions for flower photography. I spent some of my time looking for flowers in dark shade. It was very breezy in certain locations which necessitated fast shutter speeds on occasion.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 86 mm, efov 172 mm, f/4, 1/800, ISO-640

I selected a few different backgrounds for my flower images to see what kind of effects I could create. Some worked better than others.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/4, 1/800, ISO-160

I also looked for opportunities to photograph some fine details like spider webs on some of the flowers.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/4, -1 step, 1/400, ISO-64

Finding some direct sunlight illuminating blossoms against a shaded background was a bonus on such a bright afternoon.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/5.6, -0.7 step, 1/640, ISO-100

Framing a complex flower formation up against the monochromatic blue sky helped to accentuate some of its details.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/4, 1/400, ISO-64

The repeating pattern created by these tall grass stems caught my eye.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/5.6, -0.7 step, 1/500, ISO-250

Doing a bit of work in post helped accentuate some of the natural contrast that I found during our visit. In the case of the image above, I darkened the shadows and also added some black to the image.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/5.6, -0.7 step, 1/800, ISO-320

This single blossom was one of my favourite photographs captured during our 75-minute visit to the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.

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3 thoughts on “Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens”

  1. Thanks for the (lengthy) well thought out reply Tom.

    I agree the 150 to 400 is likely going to be too heavy. I’m not getting any younger🙂, but I’d love to have that lens. I’ll wait until it arrives, but I strongly suspect I won’t opt for it.

    I’ll likely keep the 12-200 no matter what, as that is my travel lens. Travel in terms of not by car, and non-photographic trips. Its a one lens fits all, albeit a little slow and soft at times.

    I’m solely shooting for myself, and don’t really want to go back to carry two cameras with different lenses. That was great on safaris in Africa, But I’m no longer up to carrying that much on walks.

    So the 12-100 and the 40-150 combo would likely mean switching lenses on the fly less than the 12-40 and 40-150.

    The 40-150 has spoiled me in terms of image sharpness, I came close on my old Canon gear, but not handheld and/or at such low shutter speeds at times.

    The 100-400 would be for the extra reach….

    My wife has had the 75-300 for several years. She has been happy with it for her purposes.. she also has the12-100 amongst afew others.

    Thanks again for your thoughts, much to consider……

  2. Surprised to see variety still in bloom, but then Niagara Falls has a nice micro-climate😀

    Spider webs certainly adds to the image. All images very nice.

    I was out shooting yesterday in the fall colours, mainly used my 40-150PRO, but had to use the 12-200 a few times for the wide angle. The 12-200 is pretty good, but the 40-150 has spoiled me. (Even with the 2x converter).

    I need to decide if I should add the 12-100 or the 12-40 to my kit. I am leaning towards the 12-100 being more versatile despite a slightly slower lens.

    But that would kill any hopes of the 100-400 (or 150-400 when it comes out) in the near future😀

    1. Hi Jim,

      I had some challenges with my thought process as well when I was deciding on my Olympus kit in terms of my initial lenses, and how I would ‘fill in the blanks’ over time. Like you I really struggled deciding between the PRO 12-40 f/2.8 and the PRO 12-100 f/4 IS as they are both terrific lenses. We ended up owning both… the explanation for that follows.

      After much thought, I decided to initially go with the PRO 12-40 f/2.8 as I thought that this would be a much more functional choice for me since I also bought the PRO f/2.8 zoom lenses, giving me fast f/2.8 zoom lenses all the way from 7 mm to 150 mm with very little duplication in focal length. This absolutely ended up being the right decision for my work as I regularly shoot the PRO 12-40 f/2.8 wide open for my client video work (it is my go to lens along with the 7-14). For any of the interior work that I do, or family type photography the f/4 just wasn’t going to be fast enough. The extra stop of light was worth far more to me than some extra reach in one particular lens (especially since there would have been a lot of focal length overlap)… but that was just my situation.

      When I originally decided to buy into the Olympus system the pending 150-400 mm f/4.5 with 1.25 TC was on my overall plan (in phase 2 or 3). After a knee injury this year, and some serious thought about the likely size and weight of the 150-400 (plus a significant investment) I decided that the 100-400 made a lot more sense for me, so I have one on order. I’m anticipating that the 150-400 with 1.25TC will likely weigh in the 2-2.5 KG range. Add 1 KG for my E-M1X and I’d be shooting handheld with a minimum of 3 KG (~6.6 lbs) of gear. Having done that in the past when I was shooting with full frame gear, I decided I just didn’t want to go back to something that heavy as it would limit my outdoor sessions to 2.5-3 hours of continual shooting time.

      Our plan was always to end up with 3 Olympus ‘kits’. One would be my interior/fast aperture kit for client video work. The second would be an outdoor/travel kit for me with some emphasis on bird photography. And the third was something very light for my wife to use for the bulk of her interests. My client video kit was our first kit that we fully fleshed out with PRO zooms and the 45 f/1.2. Kit 2 consists of the PRO 12-100 f/4 IS coupled with the 100-400 (great non-duplicated focal length range) for travel/birding while still keeping the overall weight for 2 lenses with my E-M1X body to about 2.7 KG, only slightly more than what the 150-400 will likely weigh by itself. My wife’s kit includes the 14-150 f/4-5.6 II and the 75-300 f/4.8-6.7 II.

      I shared our plans with you for the sole purpose of giving you some insights on our thought process when building our system approach to meet our specific needs.

      You may want to consider how many lenses in the 12-XXX focal range you actually need. If you buy another 12-xxx lens will you be selling the 12-200 so you can avoid duplication of focal length? You already have a fair degree of focal length duplication with the PRO 40-150 and the 12-200. If you buy either the 100-400 or 150-400 you will duplicate the remaining focal length of the 12-200. Does your 12-200 become redundant at some point? You may want to ask yourself how the 40-150 has spoiled you? Was the f/2.8 aperture a factor? Would you be happy with an f/4 lens after using the PRO 40-150 f/2.8?

      If your ‘end game’ is to own either the 100-400 or 150-400 it may be prudent to consider how would your choice of a 12-xxx lens (or any lenses for that matter) would fit in with your long telephoto zoom lens plan. What lenses make most sense if you go the 100-400 route versus the 150-400 route?

      Planning out a camera/lens system can be difficult as it is best done keeping our immediate, as well as our longer term photography goals in mind.

      Sorry this response was so lengthy…


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