Favorite Garden Photos of 2012

The pot has such great texture, and then there's that owl.
The pot has such great texture, and then there’s that owl.

Do you ever have that experience downloading photos where you go — wow! — I can’t believe I captured that image?  Garden tours often leave me with that sensation — though it’s more due to the beauty of the gardens than any skill I bring to the party. This year, I visited Monet’s Garden in France, where nearly every picture was lovely. Here are a few other favorites from 2012. Interestingly, several of them were take on the same day — June 23 — when I visited the Hudson Wis. Garden Tour. The light was perfect that day — a little overcast, but bright — and the gardens were gorgeous. What was the favorite photo you took in 2012?

Happy New Year!

 

Book Review: Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers

A Gardener’s Reading, 29 of 30

By Alan L. Detrick (Timber Press, 2008)

Back in 2007, I had a chance to take a day-long photography course with Alan L. Detrick as part of a Garden Writer’s Association event in Kansas City. Even though I was using a point-and-shoot camera (I’m embarrassed to admit that!), Alan was a true gentleman and a fantastic teacher. He even liked some of my pictures, and he truly wanted all of us — editors and writers — to become better photographers.

A few months later, I bought a digital SLR and this book. Macro photography is essentially super closeups done with special lenses. Detrick walks readers through the reasons for taking macro photos, the equipment you’ll need, f-stops, histograms, and the basics of thinking about photos: light, angles, composition, background. Like a true photographer, Detrick believes you get better pictures by paying attention to what you do before you push the shutter rather than trying to adjust the photo on the computer.

The best part of the book are the dozens of photos Detrick has taken in his years of photographing gardens. Each one is accompanied by a lengthy caption explaining how it was taken, the equipment involved and why the photo worked. Often, the book includes side-by-side shots of the same image taken a different way to illustrate a technique or idea.

If you are interested in taking macro photos of plants and gardens, this is a great book. However, I will say that I’ve learned much more from taking short courses on photography from Detrick and from Donna Krischan than from any book. If you have room in your schedule and your budget for a course, that’s really the way to go to improve garden photos. In Minnesota, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the North House Folk School and photographer John Gregor are among those offering photo courses geared toward gardens and nature.