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Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Photographing an early spring garden

I wanted to do some photographs of the garden before the April blooms filled my yard with colour.

I got my tripod, mounted my 70-180mm macro on my camera, put batteries in my flash and started walking around my garden searching out plants that were interesting enough to make pictures of.

It is always fun to walk in the garden, even as it is still mostly lifeless and monotone. There is always something to see and if a photographer hunts hard enough he/she will always find something worth a photo.

There is still snow on the hills above my house and the night-time temperatures are only a few degrees above freezing. However, it is getting warmer on days like today when the sun is out and I am expecting more colours by Easter.

A macro lens is a necessity, the spring growth is just beginning, so one must look very close and make photographs that are very close to the subject and a macro lens (a lens designed to be used very close) is the best way to get good sharp shots.

I use a tripod so my camera doesn’t shake, and I keep my shutterspeed high. A high or fast shutterspeed will help with subject movement. I also use a flash.

When I meter, I underexpose by two or three stops. That means I control the light and light direction. I don’t always bother with a flash stand. I hold the flash up in the position that will give me the most favourable light. I also shoot TTL. I only put my flash on a manual mode if I want to do something special like backlighting a flower.

This time out I was mostly looking for colourful buds, and I found a rose bush that had two or three green stalks that were good subjects.

I spent around an hour moving my tripod to different locations in search of plants that I could photograph in different ways. Sure, I have been photographing this garden for about 40 years, it has changed dramatically from the original field of low yellow chamomile. In those days there were a few irises and young lilacs struggling to grow. My wife, Linda, would go through catalogues of flowers and say, “choose the ones you think would be good to photograph”.

The garden isn’t as filled with flowers as it was when Linda was tending it. I’m not the gardener she was. Now it’s mostly bushes. But the lilacs we planted along the front fence prevent those that walk or drive by from seeing in my yard.

The garden changes season-to-season, and year-to-year and I photograph those changes. Right now it isn’t that colourful, but it is still interesting and I can always find something enjoyable to photograph.

For those like me, who enjoy photographing their gardens, here is a quote by Robert Brault, “It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional”.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week.

Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net



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