Last Saturday I tutored another Photo Trek at Buscot Park near Faringdon. Once again Buscot impressed with its mixture of open parkland and more formal gardens, giving a superb variety of locations for photography and, of course, photography training. Thank you to Lord Faringdon for allowing us to run Photo Treks there.
The Trek delegates were a nicely mixed group with a range of experience and equipment. All came with a desire to improve their photography in a beautiful place.
As always on a Photo Trek there were surprises…
The central pond in Buscot’s 4-seasons walled garden has fabulous dark red water lilies and quite a number of frogs, but we were surprised to see a toad sat on a lily pad with a toadlet on its back. You can imagine it’s thinking something like, “Go into the pond and play! I’m trying to get a bit of rest here.”
The weather on the Trek was perfect. The sky was partly cloudy with sunny intervals, and the light was changing all the time. This allowed me to demonstrate to the Trek delegates the importance of looking at the sky and waiting for the right light to come along.
Here the sky is very atmospheric but the house is too dark. The difference in brightness between the house and the sky is too large to give a good exposure for both of them. Using the camera’s Exposure Compensation control made the sky too bright. What was needed was more light on the house. A quick look at the sky and wind direction showed that it would be in sunlight in a few minutes.
The sun came out, the house became much brighter, and it was then possible to get both the sky and the house properly exposed. Just by waiting a few minutes.
There’s a perfect spot at Buscot for discussing the use of foreground objects to frame the main subject. The swimming pool by the east end of the house has a pavilion next to it. The pavilion contains a theatre and a squash court. The archway through to the pool is a perfect frame for the east elevation, and is useful for getting rid of the otherwise bright sky.
One of Buscot’s defining landscape features is the water garden designed by Harold Peto. The gardens are arranged as a series of canals and rectangular ponds down the hill towards the lake. Here we talked about using different camera viewpoints to give more interesting images. The leaf was floating on one of the ponds and I held my camera just above the surface. It was hard to see what I was framing on, but the beauty of digital is that it costs nothing to try again.
They say that “time flies when you are enjoying yourself”, and all too soon it seemed, we had to return to our starting point. It had been a great afternoon, with lots of photographic ideas flying around, and lots of “How do I…” questions being raised. Thanks to everyone for making it fun for me too.