Spring has finally started to show signs of life here in the North Wessex Downs and it seems to have been a slow start for many of the garden plants. Last year, by now, I would have been busy capturing those early spring shows for a number of my clients who are garden designers and creators. Yet, this year we’ve had to wait a little longer for the snowdrops and quince to really start doing their thing!
However, that’s not to say there aren’t dramatic statements of spring to be found and photographed – a couple of weekends ago whilst out cycling with a mate of mine we happened across a wood with a bed of snowdrops so large and dense, it literally looked like it had snowed beneath the trees and covered the ground in a blanket of white. Excited by our ‘discovery’, I took the first opportunity I could to return with my camera, a bag of lenses and a few visualised photographs in my head.
The discovery, however, is clearly no secret to those who live locally – as it turned out. Welford Park happens to be a large manor house gardens which once a year are opened to the public in order to allow access to the stunning snowdrop display and raise funds for a selection of local charities. This of course created a few challenges when coming to make photographs that look natural and absent from crowds of tourists like me!
Apart from the delicious tea and cakes, it was a truly rewarding trip… two new photographs worthy of my landscape photography portfolio which will also be added to a growing collection of woodland photographs I have been creating. These will eventually make up a follow up to last years ‘The Downs’ landscape exhibition.
A formal garden in spring, awash with purple allium punctuating the air above the formal box hedging and magnificent lollypop box shrubs.
Before I start, I should say that I’m struggling to concentrate today, with Tour de France fever definitely taking it’s grip I’m being constantly distracted by the plethora of amazing TdF photographs that are currently to be found just about everywhere on the internet. I’m not trying to get rid of you so early into the blog, but you can find a great example of this here. Just wait until the end before you go take a look!
Last Friday I spent a great few hours at the Blenheim Flower Show, enjoying all of the amazing displays and stalls that were there. As well as taking photographs at the event, it was a wonderfully inspiring day that left me wishing I had a garden that was a blank canvas and the money to create whatever took my fancy. There were so many beautiful plants and flowers on display I could easily have filled the car and more.
Friday’s inspiration quickly turned to Saturday’s action – firing up the computer and getting out the negative files to gather together a selection of my garden and plants portfolio, to finally add the intended gallery to the website. And I’m pleased to say, between a mixture of memory and reasonable keyword management within Adobe Lightroom, I’d soon whittled 19,000 to a shortlist of 200 garden and plant photographs. The hard part, as always, was making the final selection. With the help of Claire I finally managed to get this down to 50 garden & plant photographs for the website, which just left me with starting to upload them on Monday morning. I’m pleased say there are now around 20 photographs but more will be added over the course of this week, with the promise of some of the best being left until the end. So please do come back and have another look at the end of the week.
Following the photography editing session on Sunday night, Claire and I sat down to watch a film, as we often do to mark the end of the weekend. Claire nearly always amazes me with her capacity to recognise actors and state which other films they have made… but always as a question. Knowing my ability to both recognise actors or name other films they’ve starred in is probably limited to a handful of people at best, my usual reply is ‘I’ve no idea, how on earth do you know that?!’. I started thinking about our ability to retain information and how interest plays such a huge part. I can sit through a thoroughly enjoyable and brilliant film and not have a clue who I’m watching, yet ask me where a photograph was taken and when, out of my entire archive and I could probably recall the moment I pressed the shutter release . I bet I could even recall where I was, what the conditions were like and probably who I was with at the time.
So, ask me to find a certain type of photograph from my archive… easy peasy. Ask me what films Joseph Gordon-Levitt has made… not a chance, you’ll be waiting until the cows come home and longer! Based on the task I was facing to put together my new Garden & Plants photography gallery, it’s a good job I’m a photographer and not a film critic!