Photographing Flowerscapes

Following on from the last article in the series, this article deals with treating whole areas of foliage and flowers to produce satisfying pictures in which the emphasis is on the way in which the picture works as a whole.  Gardens are purposefully set out with this in mind but you can find equally good colours and patterns occurring naturally.

 Orange Aloe flowers in PlantationThe picture on the left shows a clump of aloe in flower.  The composition is well framed by the two trees in shadow and the dark foreground.  This frame sets off the contrasting colour of the orange flowers in the strong sunshine.   A mixture of many different shades of green provides interest for the whole display.


Orange RhododendronThe rhododendrons in the picture on the right also have some framing with the out-of-focus purple blooms at the top and the near-horizontal thin branch on the right.  Below that, the emphasis is on the depth of the picture with the clear orange rhododendrons giving way in the distance to pink rhododendrons, and the two tree-trunks, one behind the other providing emphasis of depth. 

It creates a mild sense of mystery as the viewer cannot see much beyond the pink flowers but wonders what might be there.  The viewer is thus drawn into the scene in which the array of colours is the chief feature.

Rhododendrons by Path

A sense of depth is also created in the picture of rhododendrons on the left, but this time there is no framing, just a path going into the picture and petering out.  The green hedge on the right simply defines the right border of that path, but on the left there are layers of colours and of different greens creating a mosaic effect that is appealing and makes the viewer wonder what else they might find in the far distance if they can only get there.

Display of Flowers and Foliage

The collection of rhododendrons on the right has neither framing nor a strong feature portraying depth and to draw the viewer into the picture.  Instead it has a single strong highlight – the purple rhododendrons in the centre around which the rest of the picture is assembled. 

 The band of ferns at the bottom left adds interest in its texture and it is counterbalanced by the layer of tree foliage at the top right which helps to maintain attention towards the centre.  It is a composition mainly of colours and textures, though the small white flowers in the centre right imply that there may be more to see in the distance.

Layers of Green, Isabella Plantation, Richmond, UK

An entirely different approach has been taken with the picture on the left.  The emphasis of this composition is to build up horizontal bands of differing greens or near greens one on top of the other as you move up the picture and into the distance. 

 There is a strong green from the well lit leaves in the foreground giving way to the water with its water lilies, more leaves, but seen from the other side and differently lit making them a slightly different green colour, another horizontal band of bushes and finally in the top fifth of the picture more conventional forestry to give it context.  The plants matter less than the pattern they create making a semi-abstract and intriguing impression.

 The last article in this series will deal with creating semi abstract compositions dependent of textures created by plants and other natural features.