Garden Photography: K.I.S.S.

Malus 'Branzam' Brandywine_Crabapple_DBG_LAH_5147

It’s helpful to understand your equipment, to know how to set up your camera so your subject will be in focus and properly exposed. Knowing how everything works will allow you to avoid mistakes and the frustration that accompanies them. If you’re especially enamored of technical things, you’ll probably enjoy trying out all your camera’s menu choices, dials, and buttons, learning what it’s capable of. But just as most of us don’t pull out our phone simply to play with the settings, understanding the technical aspect of photography isn’t our final goal. Rather, it’s the means to an end. We want to create quality photographs.

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Plant Photography: Lighting

5.25 x 5.25 Sunflower_5104

Photography. The very word means “writing with light.” In spite of all our digital technology, light is still the most important aspect of a photograph. And light is often the difference between a nice picture and an outstanding work of art. The old masters knew this—think of Rembrandt, with the light  illuminating his subject:

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Plant Photography: Settings

Pete photographing Paintbrush_GuanellaPass-CO_LAH_0026

The fun part of taking pictures of plants is going out into the garden, admiring all the flowers, and creating magnificent photos. The not-as-fun part is understanding the technology behind your images. Yet, if you’re going to get great shots, you need to know a little about how your camera works.

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Garden Photography: Accessories

Bee on Aster_DBG_LAH_7241_filteredYou’ve got a camera. You’ve acquired a few lenses. You’re eager to get out into the garden and start creating photos. And you can certainly do so, right now. However, there are a few additional accessories that will enhance your photo experience. What else should you add to your camera bag?

My top priority would be an extra battery, and another memory card. Batteries have improved drastically since the early days of digital photography. I used to go through two sets of four AA batteries in a single afternoon. Now my camera battery lasts two days, or more. Still, there’s nothing so frustrating as being in the middle of a photo shoot and realizing that your battery just died. Carry a charged spare!

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Gear for Garden Photography

8x10 Dahlia_BellevueBG-WA_LAH_6725_filteredIf you read last month’s post, you now know why you’re taking garden photos. The next question is, what kind of camera do you need? Cameras range from simple point-and-shoot models to the camera in your phone to professional DSLRs. While there’s a lot of truth that you get what you pay for, all of them take photos.

At least to start with, use the camera you have. Yes, you’ll have more creative latitude with extra lenses, camera features, and other equipment, but keep in mind that most important part of the process is the photographer. Continue reading “Gear for Garden Photography”

The Purpose-Driven Photo

Rosa_Rose_Columbus-OH_LAH_3536Perhaps you want to hang a huge framed photo of your prize roses over the couch. Or maybe you see some striking flowers in someone else’s garden, and you want to grow them at home—but you don’t know what they are. Maybe you simply want to record where you plant your tulips this fall, so you don’t bury them under a new perennial  come spring. I’ve taken photos for all of these reasons and more.

Perhaps the first and most important consideration when it comes to garden photography is to make clear in your mind just why you’re taking a particular photo. If you don’t have a specific goal, it’s very difficult to accomplish it!

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A Garden Photo Contest

Are you a gardener? Do you take photos of your plants? If so, you might want to know about the National Gardening Association’s annual photo contest.

I hesitated to share this with you—after all, I intend to enter and advertising the contest just increases my competition. On the other hand, I love seeing the pictures other photographers create. You give me ideas. You inspire me. I can learn from you.

If you need some help, I’ll be posting a series on garden photography—after the contest ends! ( I know. I’m being mean.) Meanwhile, you can look at all the photos I’ve included in my garden posts over the years. Then check out the series I did a while back on bird photography. Many of the techniques and tips are the same. Simply type “photography” in the blog search box, or choose “Photography” from the drop-down category list at right.

I’ll look forward to seeing your entries.