A few more holiday photos (& some top tips)


Ability level 2

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.


Canon 5D mk II; Tamron 24-70mm lens, focal length 36mm.

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.


Canon 5D mk II; Tamron 24-70mm; focal length 40mm.


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.


Canon 5D mk II; Tamron 28-300mm lens; focal length 84mm.


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!


Canon 5D mk II; Tamron 28-300mm; focal length 300mm


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.


Canon 5D mk II; Tamron 28-300mm; focal length 300mm


Did you like this blog post or find it useful? If so, please leave a comment, sign up for email reminders at the top of the page or share it with your friends (or even better, all three!!). Thank you – Jane :-)

Take a look at my photography course for parents “Let’s Shoot the Kids.”

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16 Responses to A few more holiday photos (& some top tips)

  1. Marie June 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Your pictures are great Jane, I love the robin and the pictures of your daughter. I also really like the graphics in the corner, I think they will help me. I have managed to reset my camera ( I still don’t know what I did wrong) and I’m back to shooting in manual mode. I now need to learn where to focus, especially in group shots, so that I get everybody in focus. Hope your mini break has recharged your batteries.

  2. Julia Beagan June 4, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    Beautiful pics – great hints & tips plus a relaxed feel to your photography.
    Must get that course booked with you or at least a coffee date fixed in the diary with you sometime soon xxx

    • Jane Burkinshaw June 5, 2014 at 8:08 am #

      Hi Julia, thank you! Would be lovely to catch up and I’d still be interested in photographing some products. x

  3. Jane Burkinshaw June 5, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    Hi Marie, glad your camera is back to normal and that you’re back in the saddle! In group shots, just make sure you’re not using a really low aperture – go for f/5.6 or a bit higher – and aim at the person in the middle. If you’re not sure, take another shot straight after using a slightly higher aperture. Unless you’re really close to them should be OK. Jane 🙂

    • Marie June 5, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks Jane I’ll bear that in mind.

  4. Claudia June 5, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    oh goodness what a beautiful place and what beautiful pictures!

    • Jane Burkinshaw June 5, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      Claudia, it was lovely, but didn’t have much time there :-(. Will have to go again. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) June 5, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    OMG this is so helpful! I need you in my life =P

    Thanks for sharing knowledge and tips! That’s so generous =) #hdygg

    • Jane Burkinshaw June 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      Hi Merlinda, You’re welcome and I love your comment! Will be sharing it anonymously on my Facebook page! 🙂 What does the #hdygg mean??

  6. Mammasaurus June 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    Such lovely photos – and great advice – thanks for sharing!

  7. Gemma June 5, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    Fantastic Robin photo! The female blackbird is beautiful too 🙂

  8. Katie June 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    Lovely photos! I have been wanting to get a good shot of a robin on a branch. I’ll keep waiting…

  9. Ness (@jibberjabberuk) June 9, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    I must remember about focus lock! I really don’t use all the functions on my camera enough. *goes off in search of camera manual*

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