Taking better pictures in your garden

A bright sunny day always makes the garden look great to your eyes, but unfortunately it is not the best time to take photographs. The harsh sun casts deep shadows, and your pictures end up with highlights washed out and the shadows too prominent and dark. Sometimes the strong sun can be used to good effect by back lighting your subject. This is particularly effective with poppies and other plants with few paper thin petals. Open shade is a better situation to give you more even light, but of course you can't always move a plant to shade for a better photo opportunity. You can follow the shade through the day and take different parts of the garden at different times.

A bright overcast day, with high cloud cover, is a better time to take pictures. Early mornings are also good, when the light is soft, and as a bonus you have dew drops to accent your flowers. The light may be reduced at this time, so break out your tripod if you need a longer exposure, or use a table or whatever is available for support. Having a steady camera is essential to sharp photographs in low light. Avoid using a flash because that also creates shadows that you are trying to avoid.

If the weather is not cooperating, you can create your own lighting situations. Get a couple people to hold a large white sheet between the subject and the sun, or use a white umbrella or wax paper for smaller areas. Tin foil can be laid on the ground to bounce light into dark shadow areas, helping to define the underside and even out the shadows. You could also use something solid to throw a dark shadow behind your subject to block out something you don't want in the picture.

Fence shadows make a striking picture Composition is an important element in achieving the exceptional photograph. Panoramic shots can be useful for record keeping, but rarely do they succeed in showing off the best of your plants. Although your eye can take in the whole field, there are usually a few stronger elements which stand out. Zero in on those, and fill the frame for a dramatic effect. Sometimes it is a single flower, sometimes it is an attractive plant grouping. Consider what the essential thing that attracted your interest is.

Look for natural and man made patterns, such as repetition of seed pods or hardscaping. Set up the edge of a bed or a path on a diagonal to suggest depth and lead you in to the picture. Use garden sculpture as a focal point, but place it in the environment to give it context.Try unusual views, such as down low on eye level with a flower, framing the view with a doorway, or climbing a ladder to see it from above. Don't put your subject smack in the middle, but divide your composition and line a major element up on the one third line. Fascinating designs are abundant in plant life. Sometimes all it takes is a clever eye to focus on what we often overlook.

Remember to check what will be visible or distracting in the background. Groom the beds a little, deadhead and pull out weeds and drifting leaves. Changing your angle may help to cut something undesirable out of the picture. Leave the sky out of the composition as much as possible so the light meter doesn't read off the sky and cast your garden in darkness.

We are proud of our gardens and, like our babies, want to show them off to others. We have all had the disappointment of bad pictures that just don't do any justice to the feeling of being out there among the vibrantly growing plants. Focusing on the subject that most draws you in will help capture the elemental joy of gardening.

Getting a Start with Garden Art

Here are a few tips for creating a personalized statement by including some art in your garden

Garden Art is a personal statementWinter is a good time for assessing where you might need to add some art, because that is when the bare bones of the garden are more evident. Look for holes where you need something to draw the eye. Select something to be a focal point, whether it is a fountain, statue, or arbor. Place large pieces to the back, just as you would larger plants, and allow them to draw you down the path.

Make the path meandering with gentle turns, so you come upon other unexpected elements, on a more intimate scale. Provide seating so you can stay and contemplate the object within its environment. Enhance your experience by providing for the other senses as well, with the sound of moving water, scented plants, or wind activated elements, such as kites, flags, and mobiles.

You can use natural elements to make an accent as well, by winding white twinkle lights in a tree, or spotlighting from below so that the trees’ form is highlighted. A large scale rock can anchor a point; if you are bringing in a large rock, it is best to bury it by half to three quarters, so it looks naturally set into the ground.

Many found or cast off objects make unusual trellises or planters , and add an element of surprise and often humor. Mattress springs, with their spiral coils, might make an attractive trellis; an old claw foot bathtub can be a pond or planter; a crystal chandelier hanging in the tree will catch the light. Broken dishes and tiles can become a mosaic table top, or decorate a terra cotta pot.

We are spending more time in our outdoor rooms and it makes sense to carry art into the outdoors. Garden art is a personal statement that reflects who you are. It should fit the style of your garden, whether it is formal or funky. And as is true with all art, most of all, it should please you.

Here are some other links
related to garden art

http://www.the-artistic-garden.com/ http://www.gardenartisans.com/ http://www.flyingmobiles.com/ http://www.herrsculptures.com/ http://www.gardenartaccessories.com/ http://www.garden-art.com/ http://www.gardenart.com/

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