Sound Shooters: Photography in Gardens

Thursday, June 18, 2015

By Hitomi Dames

After we bought our first digital EOS Rebel in 2003, it took several months for me to start photographing. I wasn't a photographer then. And I didn't know what I wanted to shoot.

On the following year our friend took us to the Chinese garden in West Seattle. That spring day I began to photograph in gardens.

Here is "Spring Light" I shot at the Chinese Garden.

Spring Light
Photo by Hitomi Danes

Focal Length 55 mm, ƒ/10, Shutter Speed 1/200, ISO 100

You might have thought I shot this with a macro lens, but it was a 18 -55 mm zoom lens which came with my Rebel. My first year I only had this lens. Actually we had pro zoom lens but it is heavy and expensive, so I was afraid to use it. 

Choice of Lenses

Now I use mainly the 100 mm macro lens for flowers but I also carry wide lens with me to get the entire garden.

Don't run out to buy a new lens. You can use many different lenses in gardens.

1. 18 -55 mm Zoom lens

a )  Focal Length 51 mm,  ƒ/5.6, S 1/100, ISO 100

Japanese Garden
Photo by Hitomi Dames
Zoomed in on full scene

Remember, you can shoot close-up with this zoom lens if a flower is large enough like peony. But as with any lens, as you get closer to the flower, lens autofocus won't work as well, so best to focus the lens manually.

2. 100 mm Macro Lens

Macro lens get in closer than a zoom lens.
ƒ/5.6,  Shutter Speed 1/80, ISO 400

Peony shot with a macro lens
Photo by Hitomi Dames
I did not have more than one camera when I travelled Japan, so I was constantly changing lenses back and forth.

3. 17-85 mm Zoom Lens

I sometimes shoot two shots at the same scene; one focusing on the foreground, another midground focus or background. The garden stays the same with each shot, of course, so you get a variety of images simply by changing focus and angle.

a ) Focal Length 73mm, ƒ/7.1, Shutter Speed 1/160, ISO 800


Focusing on the midground object
Photo by Hitomi Dames

I also shot focusing the plant in foreground at this scene. If you want everything to be in focus, you need to increase the f-stop to maybe f/16 or even more.

Still Life Portrait

b ) Focal Length 64mm, f/6.3. Shutter Speed 1/100, ISO 200 (17-85mm lens)

Zoomed in to create still life portrait
Photo by Hitomi Dames

4. 75 -300 mm Zoom Lens

A telephoto comes in handy when you shoot flowers on a tall tree. And when you don't want to or /can't get close to a flower.

Focal Length 265 mm, ƒ/5.6, Shutter Speed 1/50, ISO 200

Mimosas
Photo by Hitomi Dames


I always think which camera and lens to bring each time. I usually carry at least one camera and two lenses. Often I take two cameras (meaning one lens each camera, of course). Sometimes two cameras and three lenses.

There are zoom lenses like 18-200mm, 28 -300mm. I wish I had a 18-200 zoom lens for traveling.

However, even if I had a 18-200 zoom lens, it is a good idea to bring an extra lens, and even an extra camera. I experienced either camera or lens failure when I got on location, but fortunately I had extra of both. Bring extra batteries and camera cards too.

Garden Tours

Garden tours are the perfect place to hone photo skills.

Don't miss the chance to hone your photography garden shooting this Saturday, 20 June.
Music and Art in the gardens at the Secret Gardens of Lake Forest Park.

Musicians will perform and artists will display their artwork. Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions.

Photo Booth - Not Just a Tiny (Open with huge background), Portraits, Events, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Weddings, Albums



1 comments:

RomiAndJaredAreMarried July 24, 2015 at 12:38 PM  

Great article! Very helpful tips, and beautiful shots!

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