Garfield Park Conservatory, Indianapolis . . .Simply Fantastic

Marco photography at Garfield Park

Marco photography at Garfield Park

Indianapolis has a park on the Southside called Garfield Park. The park has a conservatory. I had never been there until this past Saturday. It was wonderful! Now I have heard many people rave about Garfield Park, but I am not really into flowers and my macro photography has mostly sucked! So, my good friend Sherri, who has been talking some great photos of these wild hawks, suggested we visit the park to shoot. So what are friends for, right! I agree and we do it.

Since Sherri was late, she paid my entrance fee to the conservatory…$1. Big spender, right! I should have gotten lunch out of it right! So we grab our gear and head into the building. Here is what Sherri had; a Nikon D90, with a 18-105 lens and a Nikon D3100 with a Sigma 150 – 500 mm lens (the Hawk camera) mounted on a 72 inch Manfrotto tripod. I had my trusty Nikon D7000 with my Tamron 90mm macro, a Nikon SB700 off camera flash and a Yongnuo ETTL off camera flash with a base, plus my entire camera bag and my 54inch tripod and my small tripod for mounting my Nikon SB700. We were ready for some macro.

Once they saw our equipment, this very mean Ogre of a woman (actually she was a very pretty, small and very nice young girl) said “although admission is only $1, if you bring a tripod it is $25.00!!!” So the big 150 – 500mm lens and all our tripods went back to the cars. Me sucking at macro photography, knew I was going to suck today with out my Tripod!!! However, I thought of my friend Shanti (that I have vowed to behead with a sword from Game of Thrones because he takes such incredible macro photos) when he told me “I hand hold all my macro shots” AUGH!!!

Back to Garfield. The Sunken Gardens was closed for repairs until March 2013 so I will need to return to see it in all of its glory, but the conservatory lived up to its billing. It was lovely. There were little ponds with Koi fish and very well maintained greenery. Nope more than, maintained, that garden was loved.

The best part of the day? My macro did not suck! In fact, I took probably the best shots of my life with my tripod in the car. Eat your heart out Shanti! (By the way, Shanti is one of the most humble and giving human beings on the planet. He spent an entire Saturday photographing CLD’s College Prep Conference, for free because I asked him to help. His images was stunning there as well. Check him out here (

We had a such fun at Garfield Park Conservatory we decided to hit the Indianapolis Zoo and White Water Gardens after we hit the road. Because it is the middle of winter, the African animals we not on display, but we still captured good images at the zoo. However, the gardens at White Water Gardens were a big disappointment.

So in closing, beware of the Ogre if you have a tripod; Do visit Garfield Park Conservatory, Do visit my website to see more of my work, and keep taking pictures.

3 thoughts on “Garfield Park Conservatory, Indianapolis . . .Simply Fantastic

  1. Andre, you obviously don’t check my blog regularly! LOL

    I live a stone’s throw from Garfield Park, so I use if often when I have the itch to shoot landscapes, florals or the tropical vegetation in the conservatory without needing to travel far. My last few blog posts were on shoots taken in or near the park after the recent snowfalls, for example ( ). A good amount of the flora/macro shots at my SmugMug site were taken in the conservatory, which hosts annual spring bulb, orchid and rose shows, which you ought to drop in on — great macro opportunities — as long as you can shoot hand-held or on a monopod, of course. So yes, I love the park!

    Because I know the park, I was not surprised to hear about your experience with the so-called ogre. The no-tripod rule inside the conservatory has been in existence for as long as I can remember. You can bring in a monopod, but not a tripod … unless you’re there as part of a special private group outing, which the IMUPC happened to snag on the eve of one of the spring bulb shows a couple years back. Our group paid a $5 per person admittance for off-hours access and were allowed to bring in our tripods because we were the only people in there.

    Because of your experience re the tripod there, I’ll also warn you … they don’t allow professional photographers to use the Sunken Gardens for work shoots (portraits, etc.) unless they purchase a pricey permit first. Amateur photography (e.g., shooting the floral displays) in the Sunken Gardens is supposed to be allowed without question, but be warned: The park rangers who drop in on the Sunken Gardens during warm weather months often don’t have a firm knowledge of the distinction between a portrait/pro professional photographer and someone there just to shoot pictures of the flowers or simple landscapes. Some have chased me away just because they see my DSLR (a non-P&S). The ranges have supposed to have been coached to tell the difference between amateurs and pros by the professional look of the gear (including and especially a tripod), even though … technically, you should be able to take a tripod into the Sunken Garden at twilight, for example, and be able to shoot night shots as long as you’re not shooting portraits or doing your photography for business, So be prepared, if you go to shoot flower shots in the garden when the weather gets warm, to possibly be challenged by a park ranger.

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