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Date Night #9 - Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show


For Date Night #9, we decided to do a daytime outing to one of our favorite places in the world - Chicago Botanic Garden. Every February, CBG hosts an orchid show that is a much-welcomed splash of color to an otherwise cold and dreary winter. We always love it when we are able to make the show, and this particular winter day happened to be a spectacularly beautiful one to be out and about!


Funny story... when we arrived at the gardens, we tried to take a selfie in front of the entrance, and a very nice woman stopped us and offered to take our picture. She snapped several shots, and it so happened that she was not the best of photographers. We ended up with a series of photos where we were smallish silhouettes centered in the middle of a giant expanse of the CBG entrance, with the bulk of each picture consumed by the driveway we were standing in and a small brick building WAY behind us (crooked, no less). We politely thanked her and returned the favor by taking some photos of her and her husband on her camera - nice portraits with close-ups of the two of them and the CBG orchid signs directly visible over their shoulders. We didn't want to offend her by re-taking our own selfies, so we thought we'd try again at another of our favorite spots in the garden.


Once again, as we were taking another selfie inside the garden, another very thoughtful passerby stopped us and offered to take our picture. Well, she must have taken the same photography course as the first woman, as we ended up with another series of photos that weren't significantly better than the first batch. We thanked her for her kindness, and quietly muttered that we'd have to try again later, as she was clearly planning to camp out at that spot for awhile.


Some time later, we tried yet again for a decent selfie, and had to work fast as another good Samaritan was clearly heading toward us to come to our rescue. We quickly snapped a passable selfie (not our best... but it works!) and moved on our way. I guess it's true what they say about mid-west hospitality. You certainly can't fault them for their kindness! We shouldn't complain... there are plenty of cities where if someone offers to take your picture, it's because they want to steal your iPhone!


While we certainly have a lot to learn about photography, here's a tip we once received from a professional photographer that we have taken to heart: portraits are for people, landscapes are for scenery. Pick one or the other for your frame - but not both! If you want to focus on the people, get close enough to really capture their image, and just enough of the background to set the scene. If you're aiming to capture the scene, then go for the whole backdrop, and let the people be in it just for scale. If you try to do something in between (close enough to see the people, but not far enough out to capture the setting), then you won't end up with a good photo.


But enough of the photography lecture! Here are some pics from Date Night #9 - our lovely trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show (click on the pic for full size)...



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