Lattice work #23
This is my 23rd attempt to photograph the external façade of Dunedin Botanic Garden’s plant propagation centre. I wanted to convey my pleasure in the colours and textures presented by a beautiful wooden trellis (horizontals) and sharp stainless-steel wires and nails (verticals) behind a border of iconic New Zealand native plants. Goodness knows where I would display such a wide photograph, but I figured the project would be a good way of learning the complexities of camera work.
The trellis and border is around 70 m long, 10 m high, and juts out in successive planes. But the real challenge for photography is that it flanks a road the curves away from the façade and rolls over a slight brow as it runs by. I had to stand on the road because thick bushes and tall trees on the other side would not allow me to get far enough back from the façade to overcome lens distortion. I chalk-marked around 25 photo points along the road (using a rope to fix the distances from the façade), bought a ladder and hi-viz coat, stationed a lookout (Fiona again), and darted out to each spot and up the ladder between passing cars. Trying just after dawn helped avoid arrest or becoming a road kill. I tried different magnifications and different levels on the ladder ... even hand stitching the panorama … but then eventually gave up. I simply could not get the horizontals of the trellis and vertical wires straight. I have dedicated the year since to trying to remember the KISS principle when with a camera in hand.
But then two things happened this week to entice a sequel to this bad movie. Firstly, the botanic garden staff cleared the vegetation alongside the road at one end of the façade to replant it, so suddenly I could get back a bit further to reduce lens distortion and be off the road to reduce marital tension. Secondly, Steveng (bless him!) set a “Structural/Geometrical" theme for the ‘W-I-D-E on Wednesday’ challenge.
The above panorama was stitched from three adjacent focus-stacked images using a little Olympus camera. It still has distortions, and it still only covers less than a third of the length of the façade, but I’ll let it rest after this.
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