Volunteer Amateur Plant Photography

Could this post title be any more...blandly exact?

Friday morning, I volunteered as a "photographer" for a friend who is a horticulturalist at the National Arboretum. He designs and cares for all the gardens and koi ponds surrounding the administration building, through which so many of the guests pass on a daily basis. He is always busy, y'know, taking care of plants and such (I'm still trying to get him to tell me his entire job--I want to shadow him or something, but I think that might be weird), so he doesn't have time to spend walking the grounds taking pictures. So, while having coffee the other night, he was sketching designs for the summer installment of the square planters on the patio near the koi pond and mentioned to me that he needed one of his volunteers to go around taking photos to entice magazines to send someone to spotlight his gardens.

I was all over it. I told him that I had off on Friday and that I'd be there first thing in the morning.

It is an awkward time, however, to be photographing the gardens (also, I was a little late, so the sun was getting a bit high by the time I was only half through). The spring blooms are mostly gone (leaving behind unaesthetic bits), and the later plants are only just getting prepared. There were a few good shots of late-blooming Camellias, a cute duck, some Sedum, and a few other things on the camera I was provided--but the battery had been low and ran out when I was about 2/3 done the gardens. So I snapped some quick photos with my own camera and burned a CD that I'm dropping off today when I go back to volunteer at the Washington Youth Garden for the first time this season.

That's all to preface why I don't have more/better photographs to share! There were some amazing shots with Dianthus that I would have loved to share. Maybe I can get those photos from dude.

As an addition to this adventure, I came home tonight to see Fern's (of Life On The Balcony) tweet about photography's rule of thirds. I remember learning about that eons ago, but I haven't really practiced its use until recently, because of the difficulty I have with autofocus cameras. I'm almost scared to see how the photos I took with the unfamiliar camera came out, if these are the best of the bunch with my own camera... I didn't bother taking pictures of the labels of the plants, because I know my friend will know everything that's planted here. Probably because he planted them all.





















Okay, so this isn't truly the "rule of three" bit. It just has three little new bits on the old prickly pear cactus! I thought it was cute.

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4 Responses to Volunteer Amateur Plant Photography

  1. Looks great Kenneth! I especially like your photo of the foxgloves. It have a very whimsical feeling to it.

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  2. Thank you, Fern! I'm glad you liked the Foxglove photo. I tried several times to do something right with those--I didn't want to step in the beds and they were 10 feet in. Focusing was difficult. But it gives it that fuzzy shiny edge, I guess. :P

    My favourite is still the spiky aloe, however. I like a little danger.

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  3. Great photos, I especially like the one of the saw-toothed plant above and the green plant below it! (Such identification prowess I have, LOL!)

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  4. Erin, thank you! The saw-toothed plant is my favourite, too! (The spiky aloe.) Both of the ones you like are in the same planter with a palm--which I was not a fan of, hence the lack of photographs of it. I jokingly in all seriousness asked my friend if I could remove it from the planter to get better photographs.

    The planters are at the entrance to the walkway over the koi pond, which brings people into the administration building. I don't have pictures from last year, but those containers held some of my favourite plants--which I never got around to asking identifications for, either.

    Sigh. So many missed plant-ID opportunities!

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