Apparently I don't look it, but I'm shy. And big parties can make me especially nervous. So when we were invited to a barbeque where I'd only know two people, I figured having a prop might be a good idea. When people noticed I was hauling (OK, it's not THAT big, but definitely more noticeable than any P & S or iPhone) my Canon 60D, they'd say, "Oh, you've got your camera." And with a smile I'd reply, "Yes I do." Then I'd quickly put it up to my eye and shoot something, anything, and thus I would seem both friendly and occupied. A winning combination. Much better than the Scotch neat I used to carry years ago to get me through a house-full of relative strangers (or strange relatives--but that's a whole different story). And, in my experience, one's hosts appreciate the attention one is paying to their gardening efforts far more than they would the chattering of a formerly quiet but now alarmingly outgoing guest.
However, it turns out there are more advantages than just giving a tongue-tied person something socially acceptable to do. As I've said too many times here before, I'm lousy at landscapes. Yet it appears that when I'm driven to take a wider view of an unfamiliar place, and when that wider view is as beautiful as the one in this particular garden, I'm not as bad as I'd thought.
This is one of those places where you drive several miles along a gently winding road so thickly lined with tall trees that you can't see the properties that might or might not lie just behind them. There are glimpses of the mountains further away, but that's about it. However, once you take the turn off the road and drive the long gravel path to the house, the sky opens up, and you're somewhere else entirely. A beautiful somewhere else.
And while there is a difference between shooting your own flower beds (over and over again) and shooting in an unfamiliar space, there is a special joy in photographing a private garden. Most public grounds have views so consciously created and so identified with the place itself that they're practically labeled "photograph this from here, no, two inches to your right." This is known as "the postcard shot" for its guaranteed, generic beauty at almost any time of year. Nice, but one feels compelled rather than inspired to take the shot.
Private gardens have views too, but usually they've been designed by the people who live there every day, who walk the grounds at all hours, and have no board of directors to please. There is no one, special place to stand, so the views are, in a sense, created each time by the viewer.
I am still a macro photographer at heart, and, even with my walk-around lens, flowers and butterflies on a lovely summer's day are almost impossible to overlook. And, of course, there's the added bonus that a crouching person who's holding her breath as well as a heavy camera is best left alone.
Other people's gardens can inspire the photographer as well as the gardener. And though I'm not at my best photographing people, my lovely friend, Louise, seemed so much a part of the experience of this beautiful view, that I had no trouble taking the shot.
I know what you mean about parties - and strange relatives! And I also really enjoy looking at private gardens, simply because they are so personal. Actually, I like to walk down the alleys in our neighborhood and peek over the fences to see how others' gardens are looking. This garden was certainly in a wonderful setting, and I love the shot of the swallowtail.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I know what you mean about getting a look at private gardens. I love going on local garden tours, but when folks know they're going to be visited by hoards of other gardeners, they seem to manicure just a bit too much. I'd rather sneak in some early morning (if I had the nerve).ReplyDelete
I rarely get a look at private gardens. I just know so few people who garden and almost no one in my neighborhood gardens. I'm not shy at all but when I'm surrounded by people drastically different from me, I can become very quiet. It's easier than defending my point of view all night. Love the swallowtail shot. :o)ReplyDelete
Ha! I do know that feeling as well. All too often I'd rather follow the butterflies around then stand still and chat with strangers.Delete
I wish these tours were not all mid-day. Your photos turned out nice in the bright light. I love that last image...what a view.ReplyDelete
Thanks! Mid-day in summer is just about the worst time to photograph anything. I just got lucky with the views. Pretty amazing place.Delete
You have captured lovely shots...and what a amazing place these people live in. Laughed to hear that you take your camera to overcome your shyness, I leave mine at home because I am shy. I don't like crowds either, but somehow my retail side of me takes over, and I start to talk to strangers..ReplyDelete
After we leave, my husband always asks me..do you know them? Nope, is the answer he gets...lol.
Thanks Jen! My husband was surprised to read that I AM so shy. With our friends I'm very out-going. And can be relatively friendly when in a very small group of new people. But crowds do me in. Too much information coming at me too quickly. Plants are more patient.Delete
Hi Emily, that's an incredible view of the mountains and landscape, really beautiful! I'm rather reluctant to take pictures of other gardens. I'm actually torn between knowing that it is a great compliment to the gardener to have someone come to your garden and take pictures of it and on the other hand, feeling like it's a kind of intrusion, coming in and taking pictures of something that is normally very private and personal.ReplyDelete
Thanks Sunil! And I know what you mean. If someone walked around my garden taking photos I'd be way too self-conscious about what I'd created, plants I'd put together, weeds I hadn't weeded, what the garden might say about me to an outsider, etc.Delete
I find that it is very rare you don't find in other people's gardens something that is original or done better than in your own. We each have different things we do well and I see the camera as the way to record it.ReplyDelete
Gardens always say nice things about their owners - even when they are weedy!
Alain, I completely agree. Walking through someone else's garden gives one the opportunity of learning something new and different about that person. However, not everyone has the generous eye that you clearly possess. I have seen people yanking weeds and twitching off dead blooms as they make their way through others' gardens! Some folks just can't appreciate variety. Thanks for stopping by!Delete