Filoli in Woodside, California, comprises an historic mansion and acres of gardens, meticulously cared for by permanent staff upwards of a thousand volunteers. Photographers know they are guaranteed seasonal garden scenes. Earlier this year I posted pictures of the lilacs in Filoli. Recently we were running an errand and decided to drop by for the summer views. This precipitated a near crisis, because I had forgotten to bring my camera. I know that’s unforgivable, but unforgivable things happen. I came close to having to enjoy the scenery entirely without taking photos. Then I remembered I had my older pocket camera, a Canon A570IS, in the car.
The problem with spare cameras is that the batteries go dead. Not this time. The Canon takes AA batteries, and a friend had given me some AA Sanyo eneloop “ready to use rechargeable batteries” to try. These are special NiMH batteries sold charged, and I had put them in the camera about four months ago. The batteries were still good, and took fifty frames without a problem.
Sanyo claims they retain 90% of their charge for six months, but blogger Stefan Vorkoetter measured found 91% of the charge retained for seven weeks, implying 74% after six months. Sanyo was first, but there are now at least ten other brands of low-self-discharge a batteries, all testing reasonably well. Regular batteries discharge six times faster.
It was approaching noon, not the best lighting, and it took me a couple of frames in garden of feathery low bushes to realize that having blank sky in this scene was not helping. I lowered the view to put the top of the image near the tree line. I waited until someone walked a third of the way across the view, following the “rule of thirds” in composing the scene.
In Photoshop™ I decided to crop out even the small sliver of sky and to adjust the black level slightly, producing:
An enlarged version is here.
Being there with a camera is more important than having expensive equipment and using photo trickery. Always carry a spare camera.