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Lens Flare

At one point or another all garden photographers will have to deal with lens flare.   Too much strong directional light will cause the glass in the lens to disperse the light – flare, and affect the quality of the image.

lens flare in garden photo

The flare will wash out color and reduce contrast.  It is not always so obvious as in this example, where I was very consciously playing with the sunlight to see how far I could push my lens.  I was previsualizing a glorious sunrise moment and trying every trick I could think of.  More at the end of the post. Continue Reading →

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Hardscape in garden photos

To get a good garden photo, look for hardscape to help define your composition and tell the story, a story about the structure of the garden, how it is put together, what elements, besides the plants, make it work.

In this lesson of the PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop, we continue the assignment theme “Think Like a Gardener” where I ask you to use your own knowledge of gardens and trust your insight to make photos in your own style, communicating in your own voice.  Hardscape is your theme. Continue Reading →

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Succulents Simplified – An Interview with Debra Lee Baldwin

Anyone who knows Debra Lee Baldwin is aware of her extraordinary prowess as an author, writer, photographer, and artist. As a co-contributor at Gardening Gone Wild for 4 plus years, I’ve had the good fortune to develop a professional relationship and friendship with her. Not only is Debra Lee all of the above, but she is also a kind and generous individual. In this discussion, she talks about her newly published book, Succulents Simplified ~ it is a work of art. Fran Sorin

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1. Can you share where your passion for succulents began and how it developed over the years?

I grew up with succulents in dry gardens in Southern CA and never thought of the plants as special. They were what people grew if they couldn’t afford automatic irrigation. If you neglected to hose-water, the succulents usually survived, at least the big, mature ones did—agaves, jade and prickly pear were bulletproof. Later, I planted cuttings from my parents’ garden in my own, and succulents proved to be the least trouble. But I was much more enthralled with cannas and roses. Then several things coalesced: the seemingly endless CA drought; more varieties of succulents than ever before; and a realization on the part of the gardening public that flower or tropical gardens may be unwise in terms of time, water and aesthetics over the long run. Rosette and sculptural succulents were what forward-thinking designers were installing. After seeing my scouting shots of many such gardens, my Sunset editor suggested I write a book. Designing with Succulents, the first in the trilogy, came out in 2007.

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Tools for flower photography

You have heard of farm to table ?  Here is garden to wall.

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I simply could not resist making a PhotoBotanic illustration of this Iris in my garden.  My studio was all set up from yesterday’s rose shoot and I wanted to practice photo stacking on a more complicated flower than a rose.  Off into the garden . . . an Iris in mind.

More on the photo stacking tool later, a method to get maximum depth of field in one photo by using multiple exposures.  But now, I am distracted by my subject.

I went looking for a big flower and I saw a magnificent stalk.  The day’s work got much longer.  I used another tool.  There is an illustration here that needs to be made. Continue Reading →

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Photos on the Road

Should you even try to take pictures when the light is horribly wrong ?

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This is the dilemma of any garden photographer when traveling or going into a garden that you may never get to see again.  How do you get some kind of picture worth sharing, something beyond the snapshot that serves as a memory jog?

It is easy to tell students to wait for the good light or to plan a visit in the early morning or late afternoon, but there are times you have no choice but to see a garden when the light is difficult. Continue Reading →

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