[/caption] The cold and damp spring weather made it very difficult for the roses at the Portland International Rose garden this year. However, since only the most hardy roses survived the cold and wet spring weather they became even more vibrant and magnificent than I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t surprised to see that there were less roses this summer but I was really surprised at the quality of the roses. The ones that survived really did seem way more robust and much larger. I guess the strong do survive when it comes to flowers. I visited the rose garden in the later part of the morning in order to avoid some of the tourist crowds but once the early afternoon came it was busy as usual. I was lucky enough to take some photos of the roses just before their pedals opened up and then was able to photograph them as they opened all the way up. There were also a large number of bees congregating around the flowers which allowed me to take my favorite photos of all….A bee in a rose. I never get tired of photographing bees as they pollinate the roses. It’s amazing to watch them at a macro level as they literally gorge themselves as well as crawl throughout the entire belly of the flower. I’m also amazed that they don’t even mind a massive camera lens as well as a 6 foot person only centimeters from them. I guess they’re too busy working to care about any infractions. I took this photo while using my Sigma 50mm macro/prime lens. I made sure to remove my CIR-PL and only attach my warming filter since I wasn’t using a tripod. It’s almost impossible to have a CIR-PL when not using a tripod on macro photography. You run the risk of camera shake and blur due to the little amount of light from using a polarized lens. Since I had the camera mode in Program/Normal mode the aperture was set at F-9.1 and the shutter speed at 1/500 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -1.3 in order to avoid any over exposure. It was about 11:30am and the sun was directly overhead so I was lucky enough to take this photo while standing on the western side of the garden which prevented any shadow from appearing. Since the rows of flowers are grown on a south/north angle you have to make sure that you approach each flower at the correct angle in order to avoid any shadow that will be created by your camera or yourself. However, sometimes you may be looking for a photo with a shadow effect.