It's springtime across the South and the sudden rise in near record setting temperatures, has caused a eruption of brilliant colors as flowers and trees begin to come to life. Gone are the dreary days of winter, daylight savings time has kicked in and it's time to dust off the camera and get out to capture the beauty that nature sprouts during this time of year.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be visiting several of the South's most favorite and unique floral and botanical gardens, sharing those visits with you as we explore how best to capture the images nature provides. So let's get started. Make sure you've got your tripod, off camera flash and if you've got allergies, your favorite med.
Our first stop is Jasmine Hill Garden and Outdoor Museum, just south of Wetumpka, Alabama about a mile off highway 231, brings a little bit of Greece to the South. The main pathway is awash in pink and purple azaleas and Dogwood trees. As you meander throughout the garden, you'll come across various statues of Greek goddesses, wrestlers and urns covered with ivy.
The middle of this unique garden opens up to pavilion, complete with pillars of concrete and should you get a little tired while perusing the area you'll find plenty of benches to rest your feet or better yet take a moment to celebrate as Barbara and Polly were doing.
Now let's talk a little about photographing in the various conditions that will occur. Trees and shrubs will cast shadows where you not might want them to appear. You can counteract these shadows by using a flash. Use off camera flash when you can, as the pop up flash can and will cause hots spots. The add-on flash will give you the ability to bounce or redirect the light providing better results.
Everyone loves close-ups of flowers. You'll need to get up close and personal to get these shots. A tripod is a necessity here and I like to use a remote control trigger, that way you can reduce camera vibration, creating a sharper image. As you compose the shot, remember your DOF, do your want a blurring effect or do you want everything in focus.
As always, the rule of thirds is important, what are you trying to draw the eye to? Everything does not have to be centered, in fact some of the most interesting images are a little off kilter.
Have fun, watch out for ever lurking bumble bee, and happy photography.