We both just took a garden photography class with Saxon Holt, rightly renowned garden photographer, and I am now practicing some basic principles he shared with the group. (Not well, but practicing!) In no particular order and likely incomplete here are some basic composition ideas from Saxon:
- Fill the frame.
- Think about the elements and shapes in the foreground, midground, and background.
- Think about color as shape - a bit like your photo is a Mondrian with flat masses of color.
- Consider the rule of thirds - imagine the frame divided into thirds horizontally, vertically, to help you balance the composition.
- Notice how what's in the frame changes as you move the camera (and yourself) even slightly towards or away, to the left or right, up or down as you view the garden scene you are photographing.
- If you're taking a picture of a garden, include garden elements so people know it's a garden.
- Every picture tells a story: what story is your picture telling?
|I often shoot this view. It's one of the few garden-pretty ones in my garden.|
|I got more "into" the frame for this view for a change. Messy but - yes, it IS messy.|
|We are getting a lot of these interesting spider creations in the garden - you see them on foggy mornings. The stems are of naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum - our local wild one) - just budding.|
|More messy profusion - the naked buckwheat and some grasses and some common madia. With a bit of midground - Manzanita and background - monterey pine (not a good tree to have here).|
|On clearing the top of the chaparral of clutter - revealed is this twisting manzanita trunk - it grew around other shrubs that are now not there. Baby manzanita in foreground. This is Arctostaphylos tomentosa var crustacea.|
|Something in fore- mid- and background. Inviting chair. I quite like this. I recently moved the bird bath here and I and the birds are enjoying it.|
|Same general view -- Duncan (wearing boundary collar) in the foreground. Not very nicely composed but you catch him when you can. (The shoulder scar is from when Wood Rat backed onto him with the silent Prius.)|
|Same bird bath - opposite direction. Fog white-out in background!|
|See that all important point about walking into and out of the frame? The ugly and very substantial old TV dish support was hidden in the shot above! We keep thinking it can be the armature for a wonderful sculpture to come... one day...|
|Just to show the seeds of the needle grass I'm growing tons of this year. I harvest a lot of the seeds but I leave a lot for the birds...|
|This California towhee fledgling is feasting on those seeds. Picture taken through the window, from my desk.|
|A few ambience shots. My garden is nothing without the forest around. These trees in the background are a redwood - yay - and a monterey pine - boo.|
|Misty driveway, with oak opposite|
|I do love those little egg shaped spider webs|
|I would like to know more about them. Seems the newer ones are woven inside older ones, with the small spider safe within. Someone told me what type of spiders they are. But I forget. How can I keep hold of all this knowledge! Dang!|
|AND I love these foggy mornings - sigh!|
|Then the sun breaks through and illuminates the flaking skin of the manzanita, facing south east.|
|Trying for an interesting shot. Not quite there - more weird than wonderful. This little manzanita is near the top of the chaparral slope on the south side of our property, just below the parking area.|
|I just love this image -- suspension bridges come to mind. Also fairies.|
|Again the north slope down behind the house, showing the lovely foliage of the redwoods and etc. Bay leaves mostly. Let's not talk about the bay tree that used to be here, and that is sprouting back so vigorously, eh?|
|Let's talk about the elegant dead madrone whose gnarly trunk rises to the right of a young redwood tree trunk there. She's one of the presiding spirits of the place and her branches are wonderful (not shown here).|
I'm wondering what my last August's post was like - since this is our blogaversary of the meme we can now begin comparing year over year - which is part of the whole idea... I'm off to have a look...