Portland's International Rose Test Garden
Friday 5 June 2015 — Category: Outings
As I recounted in my last article, during my third monthly photo outing to the Japanese Garden I was really struggling to be enthusiastic about taking more pictures there. I did find some inspiration — as you can see for yourself in the Portland Japanese Garden, May 2015 album — but after an hour I was ready to move on.
The International Rose Test Garden is just a stone’s throw from the Japanese Garden — both located in Washington Park — and only a couple of miles from downtown Portland. Established in 1917, it contains over 7,000 rose plants of approximately 550 varieties.
With all of that abundance, there must be a lot to photograph! While that is certainly the case, it is also true that after you look at a dozen different roses, they all start to look the same. Because I wasn’t trying to make a rose catalog, I had to keep my photographic eye out for unique shapes, colors, composition, and lighting. The overcast sky made this last criterion more challenging.
One thing is for sure: 7,000 rose bushes take up quite a bit of room! As I slowly wandered up and down the rows and rows of blossoming plants, admiring the incredible variety of colors, I was continually on the lookout for photo-worthy sights.
Many of the pictures were taken with my formerly-neglected but now-favorite Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 lens, with its classic 70-200mm 35mm-equivalent focal length. When used with wide apertures and zoomed to the longer focal lengths, I was able to get some beautiful close-up shots of flowers with nicely defocused backgrounds.
I also took quite a number of photos with my Olympus 60mm macro lens (120mm equivalent). Sometimes a scene which looks mediocre through a normal lens suddenly takes on a whole new level of interest when viewed close up through a macro lens. The last picture to the right is a good example of this.
During my one-hour stop to smell the roses, I took just over 60 photos. The best 34 can be viewed in the new Portland Rose Garden 2015 album. In light of the amazing colors of these roses it should come as no surprise that all of the photos are in color, despite my love for black and white images.