Taking Pictures of Plants
From experience, I know that it is unwise to be dogmatic about specifying a particular lens for a particular subject; however, general guidelines may be useful.
For taking views and vistas, a wide-angle lens is most appropriate and, in situations where the camera has to be tilted down (from a raised walkway) or up, I use a perspective correcting lens to straighten the converging verticals. A standard 50mm or a short telephoto —such as an 85mm – is suitable for photographing specimen trees, and a macro lens, with its own inbuilt extension, is essential for close-up studies of bark, leaves, flowers or fruits. I use both 105mm and 200mm macro lenses for taking close-ups out in the open and under glass.
Because I spend a great deal of time photographing wildlife all over the world, I have a wide range of telephoto lenses. Although I would not normally recommend a lens as long as 400mm for taking flower portraits, I found the Nikkon ED 200-4001 zoom useful for isolating larger flowers growing under glass from unsightly background struts and glass panes or for making elevated flowers accessible. When I focused it on waterlily blooms on one occasion, however, it revealed a heavy infestation of aphids not apparent to the naked eye! It was also useful for throwing distracting backgrounds in gardens out of focus. Calico flowers growing up high, proved impossible to photograph as detailed close-ups from ground level, even with the longest lens, but an offer of a ride in a hydraulic lift used for high-level pruning solved the problem in a matter of minutes.
Working on such a level site was perfect for using a shopping trolley to transport all my photographic equipment around the Gardens. Initially, I used a basic model, until I found one with a collapsible seat, which meant that I was reasonably comfortable during the time spent waiting for wild birds to appear, as I could set up a camera with a long lens on a tripod and sit down to survey the scene.
Flowers quickly fade in hot weather, so perfectly shaped blooms have to be photographed without delay.