In 2015, after moving to Herefordshire, I started going to a monthly networking breakfast put on by Kidwells Law in Hereford. It was there that I met Mary Stevenson, a garden designer. Mary said she might have work for me in the future, and in July 2016 I took garden landscape photographs for her of a garden design she’d finished for her client a few weeks before.
The garden is in a village south of Hereford, and as a part of my free consultation, I met Mary at her client’s house to talk about what she wanted from the photographs and to have a look at the garden design, the landscape, and the light, to plan my shoot. Mary wanted the photographs to use on her website to promote her designs, and she had a list of photographs that she wanted me to capture. Walking around the garden planning the shoot, the curves of the design leapt out at me – lovely S shapes that started in the paths and raised beds and swept out into the lawn in curving borders.
I decided then that with the back garden facing north I’d have to take the photographs at dawn to make sure to avoid harsh shadows from the house as the sun moved high and south during the day. Landscape (and garden landscape) photography benefits from early morning or late afternoon sun, when the sun is low in the sky casting interesting shadows, but is still soft and often giving a lovely golden hue. Landscape (and garden landscape) photographs also have more impact when there are some clouds in the sky to break up the otherwise solid blue.
With that in mind, I watched the weather reports keenly for morning conditions that would be best for the shoot, and on the 20th of July, I got up at 4:30 to arrive on site just before the sun had risen enough to clear the hedge.
There were perfect clouds that morning, wispy, soft and interesting, to help balance the photographs and show the garden at its best. Time was of the essence as the sun doesn’t stop for photographers, so working fast I made my way around the garden, shooting panoramas and multiple exposures that would make sure that elements of the garden that were in the morning shadows would still be clear and not drowned out by the sunlight. It took two hours to capture all the photographs that Mary and I wanted in the back and in the front, highlighting the garden’s wonderful curves that even echoed in the driveway.
In editing the photographs, I kept the composition of landscape photography in the front of my mind, combining exposures to get the best balance in contrast, stitching panoramas to show the sweep of the garden landscape in a single image. It was a challenging edit, but well worth the effort, as Mary was very pleased with the results.
The photographs above are a sample of what I took that morning.