Our little cornish break came to an end all to soon, but I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Glendurgan, a National Trust garden, on the last morning. Miraculously I was able to drag Abii out of bed and persuaded her to come with me (anything was preferable to packing).
This is a garden more about exotic or structural plants such as bananas or tree ferns rather than great displays of flowers. The centre piece of the garden is the cherry laurel maze, planted in 1833. Kids find it great fun to explore and it’s very photogenic too, especially from the vantage point looking down on it.
It was quite an overcast day and the sky was a featureless grey as I took this shot, so I purposely excluded it. If the sky doesn’t add anything, don’t include it. (Can you spot Abii in this shot?)
It’s also worth photographing the same subject from slightly different viewpoints. For this next shot I sat on the path and focused on the wildflowers in the foreground.
I just had to take a picture of this tree, such an immense trunk and branches and so much detail in the gnarled bark.
Just for scale, here’s Abii.
On the way out of the garden I grabbed a quick portrait of Abii with some Cornish wildflowers in the background. She asked me why I focus and then move the camera and I showed her how I was using Focus Lock. I first fixed the focus on her and then re-framed to put her on one side of the final image, with a pleasant, soft focus background of flowers and trees. This technique is fundamental to getting good composition and elevating shots from just snapshots to interesting and well shot images.
I’ve edited this picture using some Photoshop Actions or Presets. These basically shorten your editing workflow significantly, as they automate a whole series of actions that would otherwise take a long time to do. I’ll write a blog on this as they are immensely useful and can easily be modified to create your own individual look.
I find it hard to pass by a coffee shop but we opted for the one at neighbouring Trebah Gardens as it was a bit nicer, with a lovely terrace overlooking the gardens. I was about to pack my camera away when a blackbird landed right by my bag and I realised lots of birds were flitting from table to table. I couldn’t believe my luck when a little robin rested for a few seconds on a twig about 18 inches away from me! I was just relieved that I had the 28-300mm lens already on the camera!
He was swiftly followed by this female blackbird who settled on the table right in front of me. Had we not been facing a 6 hour car journey, I would have happily stayed there awhile, in bird photography heaven.
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Take a look at my photography course for parents “Let’s Shoot the Kids.”