Gale’s Galanthus

Welford Park, near Newbury in Berkshire, is a country house with a real speciality this time of the year; snowdrops.   The galanthus bit of this post’s title is the Latin name for snowdrops.  It comes from the Greek for “milk flower”.  For a few weeks in February and early March the gardens are open, so visitors can admire the magnificent displays of flowers.  How could I resist going along?

“Welford Park snowdrops #1” by Derek Gale

One of the main attractions is in the beech wood, as the ground is literally carpeted with snowdrops.   I used a long focal length lens to compress the perspective and show the masses of plants to their best advantage.  Like a brick wall is made from individual bricks, this carpet of snowdrops is made up of thousands upon thousands of individual plants.

“Welford Park snowdrops #2” by Derek Gale

Those individual plants are worth photographing in their own right.  I dropped down low and used a wide aperture on my Lumix GF3, to give sharp focus on just one clump of plants in the foreground.  The background plants are going out of focus, and it actually looks a bit as if the foreground plants are in front of a mirror.

I was still wondering how I could show the “snowdrop carpet” better.

“Welford Park snowdrops #3” by Derek Gale

I decided to try “creative camera shake”.  This technique uses a long shutter speed and lots of camera movement.  Here I used a 1/15th of a second and moved the camera downwards as I pressed the shutter.  It’s a technique that often needs a bit of trial and error to get the shutter firing in the right place.  When it works, it gives a dreamy, impressionistic effect.

The 2013 snowdrop season is now over, and the gardens are closed, so make a note in your 2014 diaries to go and see the Welford Park snowdrops!

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