Saturday, September 13, 2008

September in The Gardens

Look up the word blowzy in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of the Display Gardens at Rutgers Gardens in September. Still colorful, the formerly neat beds overflow onto the lawn. Once straight stalks are now bent under the weight of a summer’s worth of flowers. There is color everywhere. It’s as if the entire garden is desperately trying to hold off the inexorable march of the season towards the killing frosts of fall.

I brought my camera with me today to try and capture the glory of the gardens in September. After I had done some much needed work on my plot, of course. The cleome, now gone to seed, was removed and the cosmos, calendula and marigolds deadheaded to prolong their flowering for as long as possible. Then it was off to enjoy and record the late season beauty.

First, I give you the Photo of the Day:

Lion's Tail

I love the strong verticals set off by the horizontal leaves. The flowers haven’t opened yet so their vivid orange is just a splash of color amongst the bright green of the foliage.

Backgrounds are a big problem for me at home where my yard is enclosed by an ugly chainlink fence. Because my property is so small, it’s virtually impossible to take photos without the fence making an unwelcome appearance in the rear. When I am shooting in a garden other than my own, I have a bad habit of overlooking the background when concentrating on a particular plant. Today, I made a point of experimenting with various backgrounds.

Not bad, but the background is too busy. Let’s try another angle.

Nope, that looks lopsided. Too busy on one side.

Okay, that’s better although I’ve lost the emphasis on the grass. I do like that background.

Another assignment that I gave myself was to avoid photos like this:

I caught that one in time to be able to take another one without the offending branch:

I missed this one:

But caught this one:

Last week, I checked out a wonderful book on digital photography from my local library, The Betterphoto Guide to Digital Photography. I’ll do a full review of it when my own copy arrives from While I’m waiting for it, I tried some of the techniques I read about.

Turn around. The author recommends when shooting, turning around to see what’s behind you. In this case, I always shoot this arbor looking in towards the Log Cabin. Today, I tried shooting it looking out from the Log Cabin.

My first photos included the branch as a framing device, another recommendation. I wasn’t happy with the result, so I moved forward to eliminate the branch.

My subsequent photos used the path to draw the viewer into the scene as suggested in the chapters on composition.

On my way in to The Gardens, I saw stands of golden rod along the entry road. On my way out, I spent some time photographing them using different apertures, focal lengths and shutter speeds.

You can see all of the pictures I took today on Flickr.


joey said...

So enjoy the format of your blog, Caren. Cropping through the camera lens is a gift that tells a story ... much to learn but fun and rewarding as your post shows. Love how you guide us in well written text and photos.

OldRoses said...

Thanks, Joey. I had my fingers crossed that I wasn't boring everyone.