Home is where the art is

NPhoto - - Over To You… -

It’s of­ten said that we usu­ally take our best pho­tos close to home, and although I try to visit as many gar­dens as pos­si­ble, RHS Wis­ley be­ing my favourite, I find that I can catch the best light in the ‘or­na­men­tal al­lot­ment’ I’ve cre­ated with my hus­band. I pre­fer nat­u­ral light, so I only use a re­flec­tor with a cam­era mounted on a tri­pod, and I some­times put a small re­flec­tor on my macro lens – peo­ple are al­ways stop­ping to ask me what it is!

I shoot in aper­ture-pri­or­ity mode, with as low an ISO as pos­si­ble. This of­ten ne­ces­si­tates us­ing a tri­pod, which can be re­stric­tive. When I need to get close to tiny, low flow­ers on un­even ground or with no space for tri­pod legs, I use a bean bag. I also wear knee pads, as get­ting close to small flow­ers in­volves lots of kneel­ing in odd po­si­tions. This is how I took the pho­tos of the Fri­t­il­laria rest­ing on a green­house shelf [3], get­ting as close as pos­si­ble to show the tiny golden heads in their full glory.

I pre­fer ‘real’ finds to stu­dio set-ups, and love the free­dom of shoot­ing hand­held. This usu­ally means set­ting a wide aper­ture, which has the ben­e­fit of cre­at­ing a shal­low depth of field. If I need to ob­scure a busy back­ground I’ll use a sheet of coloured pa­per.

When look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion I’ll of­ten turn to Ja­panese art. Like Manet and Whistler, I am fas­ci­nated by Ja­panese artists’ use of space, del­i­cate pas­tel colours, and their love of cherry blos­som, which was my in­spi­ra­tion for ‘Snow­ing Cherry Blos­som’ [1].

03 Fri­t­il­laria Uva-Vu lpis from Kew Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G Macro, 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO400

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