Home is where the art is
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 , 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’ .
03 Fritillaria Uva-Vu lpis from Kew Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G Macro, 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO400