May 21, 2009

From a jungle near you

This picture comes from my archives. Some two years ago, a new addition opened at the nearby Planckendael animal park and zoo: a huge glass-and-steel greenhouse to shelter Asian plants, flowers and (small) animals within a year-round rain forest environment.

An artificial waterfall covers the concrete wall at one end of the building. It is in fact part of the setup to maintain the tropical temperature and humidity conditions. The builders took some care to 'dress it up' but it remains obviously man-made.

By crouching (really) low on the walkway, and carefully moving and zooming around for a while, I managed to find a viewpoint from where the illusion of 'real' wilderness was maximal. Steadying my heavy zoom lens on a stone and taking full advantage of its vibration reduction feature, I was able to shoot at 1/5 of a second (for a milky blurred water flow) and f/11 (for a generous depth of field). Other than the usual exposure and contrast tweaking, I only had to darken the top left corner in post-processing: a medium brown wooden beam otherwise would seriously spoil the game.

If you're willing to spend some time and effort to discover a different and less 'conventional' point of view, the world near you may open up and reveal unexpected fantasies!

Gear notes: D200, 70-200/2.8VR

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