Where It Doesn't Rain

I have been feeling a little off colour of late, and so haven't been out and about as much as normal. The weather this summer hasn't helped, and let's face it, has been pretty awful hasn't it? I was itching to get out with my camera again when I woke up one morning to find that it wasn't raining. Not only was it not raining, the forecast seemed to indicate it wasn't going to rain, and it might actually be sunny. Cue frantic camera battery charging. By the time I had gathered all my photographic accoutrements together, the sun was well and truly out. I was feeling in a floral mood, so headed off to see if I could photograph some horticulture.  Here are my efforts.

They are both shot in situ in the local RHS Wisely Gardens, natural light only. I used my Fuji XT-1 with the 35mm f2 WR lens. 

Where I Give A Photography Lesson

A couple of weeks ago, I had a lovely day out at RHS Wisley with a couple of chums who wanted to brush up on their photography skills. Caroline wanted to learn how to take better photographs of her gorgeous family, and having only used a point and shoot was starting pretty much from scratch. Kate had been using a DSLR for a while, and attended an introductory course a little while ago and felt she needed a few more pointers to get her into the photographic groove. 

I am not one to turn down a day's photography with some pals, so I happily agreed to go out with them and explain the basics. I made a little plan, and knowing Wisley well, I took them to specific places in the gardens where I knew they could practise shooting and get to grips with aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  

Being all round clever bunnies, they picked it all up very quickly. Caroline shot on my Fuji X70 as that gave her the manual control she needed, which her current point and shoot couldn't provide. Having understood the technicalities of depth of field we set off towards the herbaceous borders to see if we could spot anything worth shooting. Caroline took the lovely shot below whilst practising shooting at small and wider apertures. The colours are lovely in this. 

Flowers by Caroline Smither

Flowers by Caroline Smither

We also talked about composition and how that can be impacted by the aperture and shutter speed selected. The lovely black and white image below is another of Caroline's. 

Flowers by Caroline Smither

Flowers by Caroline Smither

We were lacking a model for portrait practise, trust me when I say it is better that I stay behind the camera, but Kate found some suitably shaped topiary!

Topiary by Kate Price

Topiary by Kate Price

Photography, is nothing, if it isn't about the control of light, and Kate took this wonderful shot of a sculpture of a dandelion clock. With the sun in just the right place it creates this gorgeous silhouette.

Dandilion Clock by Kate Price

Dandilion Clock by Kate Price

I teach and coach engineering principles and techniques on a fairly regular basis, and always enjoy passing on knowledge and experience, but this was fantastic. Photography is such a joyful, creative pursuit that teaching others how they can make the most of the kit they have and really develop up that learning curve was such a wonderful experience for me. Both Caroline and Kate have a great eye, and I fear that they may have caught the bug... Caroline was in the local camera shop the following Tuesday buying  a Lumix camera so she could have full manual control. I can only apologise to her family who will now be forever running away from a camera lens. 

Where I Have A Photography Day Out With A Chum

Last week, I had a lovely photography day out with my chum, Kate Vaisey. I met Kate on a photography course, and as it turns out, she lives but a mere stones throw from Fennell Towers. Kate has a great photographic eye, as well as being an all round good egg, so I knew it would be a good day. We decided that we would head off to RHS Wisley, armed with our cameras, spare batteries and memory cards*. I had my Fuji XT-1 with the 35mm f2 lens, my favourite combination, whilst Kate was shooting on her Canon 650D. 

Wisley is a wonderful place to take photographs, well, if you like flowers and trees that is. If you like to shoot rock bands you are likely to be disappointed. We didn't have a plan, we just wandered around and shot what took our fancy. Given how hot it was, we headed for shaded areas and practised controlling the light to get different effects. The light was very harsh, and so contrast was the order of the day.  I would like to be able to tell you definitvely what this plant is,  it is possibly a lily, not sure, but I do like how sculptural it looks with the very harsh highlights and very low shadow. 

Lily bud, Fuji XT-1, 35mm f4, 1/280s

Lily bud, Fuji XT-1, 35mm f4, 1/280s

Having spent a good half an hour shooting the shrubbery we braved the heat and headed out towards the grassy meadow areas. It. Was. Roasting. But what sort of photographers would  we be if we didn't suffer for our art? Risking severe sunburn, we practised long exposures on Kate's camera and yet more light control. 

Grasses, Fuji XT-1, 35mm f2.2, 1/4000s

Grasses, Fuji XT-1, 35mm f2.2, 1/4000s

Poppy, Fuji XT-1, 35mm, f2, 1/4000s

Poppy, Fuji XT-1, 35mm, f2, 1/4000s

I'm pleased with the shots I got, particularly the lily bud, and Kate got some stunners, particularly this one, using my 10 stop ND filter. It was also nice to have another photographer to work with and to bounce ideas off. It helps when there are two of you, as you feel less of an idiot as you contort yourself into an odd position on the ground in order to try and get a winning shot of a rhododendron.  

Has anyone else been out to Wisley to photograph the plants there?

 

*We managed to choose one of the hottest days of the year, so fortunately, K was also armed with sunblock.