Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

19 Sept 2015

How to photograph spiders' webs

There are, undeniably, moments of staggering beauty in the Autumn garden, whether in the way that plants have grown together to form a living collage or the many many webs that spiders have woven between the plants and supports.

My veg garden has lain undisturbed, except for torrential rain, for the past week so I was expecting to see plenty of spiders and their webs this morning.  I was reminded of a blog post I'd read recently in which the blogger said she walks into the garden waving her arms in front of her at this time of year for fear of walking through webs. (I apologise as I can't actually remember who it was that wrote that!) I haven't done that yet but I have brushed webs out of my hair and off my face many times during this so-called summer.

And so it was that I went to the garden early this morning armed with a cunning plan, my digital SLR camera and a spray bottle of water. Any spray will do but Ikea do one for 80p. Also good for ironing ;o)

If there was any dew this morning, it had all gone by 7.30 am when I went down to the garden. Time to put my plan into action.  Spray, so I knew where the webs were, and then - why not? - photograph them.

I am, of course, just getting my eye in before we get proper dew in the garden but I hope you agree it worked rather well. Plus it's an excellent way to show children how big the webs are, before scurrying back indoors to read Charlotte's Web. Now wouldn't that be something, to find a web with a message in it!

A few key points:

  • Spray in a light mist across the web. You may need to go back and forth across the strands a few times and you'll be surprised at  how far some of the webs stretch!
  • Have your camera ready as spiders may make a bolt for safety.
  • On a still day, dial your camera to aperture/AV (rather than speed/TV) and set the aperture to a low number. This will blur out the background but you will need to have precise focus on the web. 
  • Try to have a dark background to make the web stand out.
  • This is best done in early morning or the cool of the evening when there are more spiders about.
Edited to add:  One last tip - be patient and take your time.  It's worth it for the right shot and you'll see a lot more of the delicate beauty in your garden. 

I do love spiders' webs but how about you? What's catching your eye in the garden this Autumn?
And do you have any good tips to share on photographing the garden?

7 Oct 2012

Foraging on an Autumn morning

Grass seedhead macro
~ Dew be-jewelled grass seedhead ~

Given the leaden skies and storms we've had over the last week, I'm treasuring every sunny day as it happens.  We had a beautiful day yesterday but I was indoors at a workshop all day.  Grrrr.  Luckily, the sun is also shining today (my one free day this week) and I was determined to go out to find rosehips as I've spied some beauties as I've been walking around the parish - and there's a delicious sounding recipe for Rosehip Jelly in this month's Grow Your Own mag.  (And I've run out of home-made rosehip cordial.)

So, off to Parliament Hill Fields on Hampstead Heath first thing this morning, having already gathered a half kilo of hips from bushes overhanging the streets of Kentish Town at dawn.  It was still early so I wore wellies as I knew the long grass would still be wet.  What I wasn't expecting was how beautiful everything looked in the sun.  There were a few runners and dog-walkers about, other than that I felt I had the heath to myself;  an extraordinary thing in the middle of London, and very peaceful. I was completely in the moment, camera in hand, focussing on the tiny details and enjoying the warm sun on my back.

With the light bouncing off the camera screen, it was hard to see my photos outdoors;  back inside an hour later, I was very pleased with several of my shots, especially the one above.  I've been a bit of wreck this last week (strep throat, eye infection, cold - all now nearing the end) and that's affected my photos. They've all been a bit uninspired.  Today, though, I feel I've started to get my mojo (whatever that is!) back.

With the dew to inspire me, I photographed glittering grass stalks, thistles that look like sea anemones ...

Dewy thistle heads

... and the sun shining through grass seedheads:

Parliament Hill Fields

Finally, I reached the bank of rose hips and set to work.  This is the first year that I've foraged for rose hips and I'm amazed at how many there are!  Is this normal, I wonder?

Rosehip branch

I gathered a kilo of hips by cutting carefully;  there were so many, both single hips and in bunches, it hardly looked as though I'd taken any!  I took my secateurs to reduce being scratched (mature hips have very effective protection by way of their thorny stems!); they're also handy for reaching branches slightly too high!  Even with using these, my fingers smelled of rosehips on the walk home, a reminder of the goodies to come.

Rose hips 7 Oct

I'm saving the task of removing the stems until later in the day as I want to make the most of this lovely sunshine to get into the veg garden.  I have to dig up the strawberries on ground level to make room for some rhubarb plants that I've grown from seed.  I'll save a few strawberries as I want to give them their own raised bed next year but all the others will be .... ssshhh, say it quietly! .... composted.

I'm a bit off strawberries after this year (who knew that slugs were so fond of them?) but the children enjoy them. I hoping my redcurrant bush will fruit next year (its third year) and I want to get a couple of dwarf apple trees and some blueberries for the veg patch.  Some of the herbs will be relocated in this process - something I'm looking forward to as I love to move things around!

Hopefully I'll have time to post the results of my kitchen efforts with the rosehips fairly soon;  I'll certainly be posting again later today with my Capel plant ID - I only knew one of the plants this week, the cardoon, so will have to work hard for my full marks this week!

17 Dec 2011

An award, a prize and some parcels ...

I've had a really happy week. These last few days have brought unexpected and much appreciated surprises in the form of an award, a giveaway prize, a parcel of books and a winning entry in a photo competition. I'm not sure what I've done to deserve such abundance but it's certainly brought a smile to my face and given me a huge boost.

First, very warm thanks to Jo of The Good Life blog for including the Urban Veg Patch in her Liebster Award list. It's rather lovely to have this award as, even after a couple of years of blogging, I'm never sure if what I write is of sufficient interest beyond being a record for myself. Jo regularly takes the time to leave appropriate comments on my posts which is lovely to read and very reassuring.  I've been reading Jo's blog now for over a year - and very good it is too.

As other bloggers have said, it's really nice when readers leave comments;  it strengthens the online community and friendships are developed.  I've met some lovely people through blogging, this year has been especially rewarding in that respect and awards such as this are a lovely way of introducing the blogs I enjoy to a wider audience.  In order to accept the award, I have to follow a few simple rules:

Copy and paste the award on your blog - (check!)
Thank the giver and link back to them - (done with pleasure!)
Choose five blogs (with less than 200 followers) that you'd like to pass the award on to and leave a comment for them on their blog.

This last rule is where I thought I'd run into problems as many of the blogs I enjoy have already been chosen for the award by Jo's other blog nominees.  But after carefully checking that I wasn't duplicating anyone's choices, these are the five that I would recommend:

Suburban Veg Plot
A Life Less Simple
Lovely Greens
Erin's Urban Organic Gardening in Sidney
Charlotte's Plot

These are all new to me this year and I've really enjoyed reading them and getting to know their authors a little bit and hope that others will find the time to pop over and take a look.  (I would have added A Woman of the Soil, Wellywoman, Little Green Fingers and FlightPlot to this list but that would be flaunting the rules  and we wouldn't want that.)

And what about my other luck?  Well, it appears that one of my photos has earned me the first prize in the UK Veg Gardeners photo competition and I'm going to be the very lucky recipient of a pair of Felco No 7 secateurs! Obviously I'm over the moon at this but can't quite believe it as there were some stunning entries from other members. Congratulations to Mark at Mark's Veg Plot and Karen at The Garden Smallholder whose photos were also, very deservedly, chosen.

Unbelievably, shortly after the above news came my way, so did another email from Jo saying that I'd won the giveaway that she was hosting on her other blog, Through the Keyhole.  My two childhood obsessions were with reading and making things, whether by sewing, knitting, drawing or building, so I'm really looking forward to the arrival of Jo's very generous parcel as I've won a copy of Cath Kidston's book 'Make!' (as well as other lovely things such as a tin of fudge - mmm, yum! - and a book of Victorian niceties.) Perfect timing as, with a few days off over Christmas, I intend to indulge in a spot of sofa flying (as Flighty would say).

But I did say parcels, didn't I?  More than one?  Yes.  Because I've taught children's art clubs, gardened with children and our newly formed Transition Town will be hosting children's crafting workshops, CICO Books have sent me two rather lovely books to review.  These are Green Crafts for Children(35 projects using natural, recycled and found materials) and My First Sewing Book. Both are beautifully photographed with some very interesting projects to make - perfect for ages 7 and up and just in time for Christmas.  I have a weekend ahead of me and an enormous stash of crafting supplies so I'll be back with a review tomorrow.


The sun is shining here in London;  I hope that each of you has some sunshine in your day too!

Caro xx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...