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Viewfinder: Botanical garden

Although I've been living here for about a year and a half, there are a thousand and one incredible places in New Orleans I have yet to investigate. As the heat and humidity finally began to die down, the occasional cool breeze slowly rekindled my itch to explore. I didn't venture far, but I did end up discovering a beautiful spot for thinking and photography: the Botanical Garden in City Park.

Bright, cloudless days can either be a boon or a hindrance for photographers, depending on the situation. While it's certainly helpful to have lots of light, direct sunlight can create harsh shadows and wash out detail in the faces of people and objects. Cloudy days are often much better for portrait and general photography; the clouds soften the sun rays, resulting in a relatively even cast across objects (this softness is evident in the last four images, which were taken in a naturally-lit but shaded greenhouse). However, the dark shadows of direct sunlight create interesting images in themselves, and can be particularly dynamic in black and white.

One thing I loved about the Botanical Garden was that there was such a variety of things to photograph: plants, statues, flowers, fountains, etc. I especially liked photographing the statues; the concept of giving life to statues in pictures is infinitely interesting to me, and I challenge myself to do it whenever I can. They also happen to be an excellent stand-in for models, as they are not prone to moving.

Overall this was a simple, fun shoot; not too many technical challenges, but plenty of opportunities for beautiful pictures. Perhaps I'll graduate to photographing the marshy Louisiana wilderness in the coming months, but I think I'll have a cold iced tea first.

Hanna Rasanen is a photography intern at NolaVie. Contact her at [email protected]