On a very sunny Tuesday in mid-September I headed off to Bluebell Cottage Gardens for the last flower photography course for this year. It made a change to be 100% confident in the weather forecast and not be mentally preparing a plan B in case it poured down. The sunshine was streaming into the tea rooms as I set the room up and the flowers in the beds outside positively glowed.
I run three courses per year at Bluebell Cottage Gardens, in April, June and September and it’s amazing seeing the transformation through the seasons. Towards the end of April the flowerbeds are all neat, the grasses are neat, low clumps and the stars of the show are tulips and allium. In June the garden is luscious with colour and bees and butterflies are alighting on flowers bursting with pollen. By mid September there’s a definite change afoot, almost a faded glory, but no less photogenic. Tall grasses make a fabulous textured backdrop for brown seed heads, especially if you shoot wide open to blur the grasses.
The light has a different quality in September, softer and kinder, even early afternoon and I showed the course attendees how to take advantage of it, shooting flowers that were backlit. I love images like this where the light, colours and plant structures all fall into place and using large apertures adds depth and that dreamy, buttery, artistic look. Really evocative of our indian summer.
Flowers hold their beauty even when they are fading and there’s still so much to photograph relatively late in the season. Seed heads, rotting or fallen fruit all give a sense of time and the season and when photographed up close, they reveal all sorts of fascinating details. You can see more images from the gardens on Pinterest.
A flower photography course at Bluebell Cottage Gardens wouldn’t be complete without homemade cake, hens and getting damp knees from kneeling down!
At the end of a very enjoyable day, we sit drinking a final cup of tea, eating aforementioned cake and reviewing everyone’s photographs. It’s the most enjoyable part of the day for me, when I get to see the progress people have made and how much their confidence has grown.
Course dates for 2015 will be available in January. I will also be adding a number of other flower photography courses so if you would like to receive details please sign up for the email newsletters. In the meantime, take a look at some of the other blog posts on Flower Photography for lots of tips and inspiration.
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