A wise friend recently said to me that while many photographers travel the world looking for that incredible capture, I manage to discover wonderful things close to home.
It is true that where I live is a fantastic hub. Two hours west I arrive to the mountains, two hours east I can slip my toes in the sand and breathe salty air. Within an hour places me in our Nation’s Capital filled with world-class museums and great architecture. One area in particular in my little radius is the Brandy Wine Valley in Pennsylvania that boasts being home to more than 20 elaborate gardens.
A favorite of many is Longwood Gardens created by Pierre S. du Pont and is over 1,000 acres of beautiful landscapes, breathtaking waterfountains and exceptional and extensive plantings.
Late summer is Dahlia season and this year Longwood Gardens will be hosting the National Dahlia Organization’s Annual Event in September. I’ve been wanting to photograph Dahlias for some time now, and I plant only a few in my garden. Last year I did manage to find a wonderful selection on display at the Maryland State Fair but the lighting is a bit of a challenge in the small room.
I can only dream of being able to head out to Swan Island in Oregon with my dear friend Denise Ippolito but in the meantime I can at least see what I can find close to home.
So packing all of my Macro equipment in a bag, off I went to Longwood Gardens to enjoy the day. Choosing to go on a partly-cloudy day (I would have preferred fully overcast) I entered the gardens and began working with the Dahlias.
What was special was seeing how masterful the gardeners are at Longwood Gardens and how they pair colors together in the flower beds. Only they would dare to place bright green foliage under deep red Dahlias.
Selecting flowers that were in the shade, or waiting for cloud cover over the sun many of the flowers that I captured were brilliantly colored. When I started working with the images at home, I had a hard time making the images work. And this is when the artistic perspective kicked in and I began to use some creative edits that helped soften the color and the look of the flowers.
Using Topaz Studio and the modules available within in such as Topaz Impressions and Textures I was able to come up with a nice selection of images that are different than the ones you might see in a plant catalog.
The overall result of the day is that I worked with one subject and captured it in many ways.
A great photo coach suggested one exercise to challenge yourself in starting to see things and it was for you to go into your Bathroom and take 100 pictures. You can’t leave until you take those 100 pictures. What will happen is that you’ll start noticing the details within the details of your bathroom. Creative images will result as you’ll exhaust the obvious at the beginning and then be forced to see things that you wouldn’t ordinarily see before hand.
It doesn’t have to be your bathroom but something in a similar nature. Select a spot and see just how far you get to see your subject in many different ways. Good luck!