Springtime brings rapid changes at the Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden as spring bulbs and cool-weather pansies give way to other flowering plants.

Spring bulbs and pansies provide early color in the botanic garden of the ABQ BioPark Up close to a tulip at the ABQ BioPark

If you're a photographer, the "magic hour" of low-angle light as the garden opens in the morning provides great soft light for photos. Bees and birds are already out, taking advantage of the calmer air, and the crowds have yet to arrive. 

A honeybee collects pollen from a flower at the botanic garden of the ABQ BioPark

Multicolored pansies provide a splash of color in the shade of the botanic garden at the ABQ BioPark The ABQ BioPark has spiny, sharp plants in abundance at the Mediterranean Conservatory

Hydrangeas, colored pink and blue by changing the pH of their soil, pack the inside of the Mediterranean Conservatory at the ABQ BioPark 

The garden has layers of color and texture - check out the lacy red Japanese maple against a green backdrop - and some of the most interesting photos are of things not in plain sight, such as woodland flowers tucked in the shade under trees.

A flower blooms in the deep shade of the trees of the Sasebo Japanese Garden at the ABQ BioPark  There are cactus aplenty in the botanic garden at the ABQ BioPark

More about taking photographs at the Botanic Garden: 

I use a high shutter speed to create a very shallow depth of field on most of my shots, blurring the background and making the subject stand out. While my "go-to" lens is usually a 24-70 mm wide-angle, for the garden photos I toted a 70-300 mm zoom mated to a Nikon D800e camera. My tripod would have been the perfect addition for some of the photos shot in the shadows that required slower shutter speeds.

A model train chugs through the foliage at the ABQ BioPark's Railroad Garden. Volunteers from the New Mexico Garden RailRoaders Club maintain two 400-foot loops of G-gauge trains A wood duck paddles along in the koi pond in the Sasebo Japanese Garden at the ABQ BioPark