All posts filed under: Garden Photography

Judging the Ness Gardens’ Photo Competition

Last weekend I had the pleasure of judging the 2016 Ness Botanic Gardens’ Photography Competition, alongside Andy Lambie and Sara Bishop from Ness Gardens, Helen Watters from the Friends of Ness Gardens and my wife Janet (who also took the photo). This is the third year I’ve judged this popular competition and I have to say that the standard just gets better year on year. The winners will be announced in February at a special awards presentation and exhibition. Can’t wait!

Catkins of Garrya elliptica

Glittering Jewels

Viewed from a distance the winter-flowering evergreen shrub Garrya elliptica can look fairly unremarkable (to me at least). Its long, slender catkins could be easily mistaken for bits of old string draped over the branches. From the photographer’s viewpoint it appears too busy and confusing, with no obvious focal point. Move in a closer, however, and the catkins begin to look more interesting. Now add the final ingredient…sunlight…and the opportunity for a spot of magic emerges! I photographed this splendid Garrya at Ness Botanic Gardens and noticed the way the winter sunlight, positioned behind the shrub, picked out the catkins. The true beauty only revealed itself, however, as I moved in extra close. I concentrated on small segments of the dangling tassels and moved around my subject looking for the most effective combination of natural light and background… Voila! I’ve turned some bits of old string into priceless jewels. If only! PHOTOGRAPHERS’ NOTES For this photograph I used my favourite micro-Nikkor 105mm on a Nikon D300s. The key to the shot is the backlighting ie shooting against the light …

Frosty flower heads

Seduced by Seed Heads

Around this time of year, as the glitter of the festive season begins to fade, the majority of my garden maintenance clients expect to look out on a neat and tidy garden, all set for the new growing season ahead: leaves cleared, last year’s flowers cut down and barely a fallen twig out of place. I have to confess that there is a certain satisfaction in digging up spent annuals and cutting down last season’s dessicated perennials – their collapsing, straggly stalks and rotting or crusty brown leaves, if left in situ, can easily give the impression that the garden is unkempt and uncared for. But as both a keen wildlife gardener and photographer I can also offer a different viewpoint. Seed heads provide a vital source of food for hungry birds, especially during a harsh winter, and hollow flower stalks make great hiding places for countless invertebrates. To add to the argument, all it takes is a touch of frost to add sparkle, structure and interest to the winter flower border; cut them down …