Judy and Her New Camera at Lurie Garden
When we bought Judy’s last camera, about eight years ago, we were amazed by what it could do. It was a Nikon D40, her first digital SLR camera.
We both tend to believe that any object that represents a major purchase should be kept until it is used up or no longer working (this explains why we had a black and white television until the 1990s). But when we needed to replace the D40’s battery, we found that Nikon no longer made batteries for it. We tried buying a battery on Amazon, but that turned out to be counterfeit.
So we decided it was time for a new camera. We were nudged along in this decision by Judy’s awareness that there had been major advances in digital camera technology. With help from a friend, she researched possible replacements, and settled on the Nikon D5300 (which, I figure, must be 132.5 times better than the D40).
We found a camera store at a nearby mall, figuring it would have knowledgeable sales people. Judy asked the salesman, who was not a youth, to explain the differences between the D5300 and the D40.
“It has much more sophisticated focusing and exposure,” he said.
“OK,” said Judy, “in what ways?”
“Well … it takes better pictures.”
He then fled before Judy could ask more questions. Despite the modest expertise of the salesman, we took the plunge and bought the camera.
Judy has been playing with it since then. In our yard she took pictures of our shrub rose ‘Cassie’ and our last pink peony. The focusing and exposure was in fact much improved. This is important because Judy’s schedule means she often has to take her garden pictures when the light isn’t very good. The picture of ‘Cassie’ above has far more detail than the old camera would have captured in similar light. On the right side of the photo you can see fluff from the nearby cottonwood tree.
On Monday we met at Lurie Garden after work. This was a good place to practice with the new camera, though unfortunately it became overcast shortly after we got there. Judy wants me to mention that she has not yet mastered using this new model.
The white wild indigo (Baptisia alba) was in full bloom at Lurie. The flowering stalks seemed to imitate the tall office buildings in the background.
I suppose some of you are getting tired of pictures of Lurie Garden’s River of Salvia. Well, too bad. Actually, the River of Salvia is starting to turn brown. Plants at Lurie tend to be a week or so ahead of others in the area, in part because it is on top of a parking garage and the soil warms earlier.
The pale purple coneflower (Echinacea palida) was also coming into bloom. I wouldn’t put this plant in my garden, but it’s hard not to like in this setting.
The blue star (Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’) was past its peak, but still had a scattering of flowers among the rising foliage of alliums (I think) and wild petunia (Ruellia humilis).
The prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) hasn’t yet lost that pinkish gauzy effect that is so unusual.
What is the usual common name for Monarda bradburiana? I’ve heard it called eastern bee balm, Bradbury’s bee balm, and some other things I can’t recall at the moment.
After walking around the Lurie Garden on a warm day it’s nice to take off your shoes and put your feet in the cool water.
Oh, and guess what – the new camera takes video. Judy is trying to get the hang of this feature, and I intend to demand my turn with it also. Here are a couple of her first efforts – one of a Baltimore oriole eating jelly, and one of a house finch and downy woodpecker at the feeders. The woodpecker has a blob of suet stuck on an inconvenient spot on his beak.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so impressed by this, but I am. It’s pretty darn cool, if I say so myself.