Park and Tilford Gardens
... 8 Themed Gardens to
Satisfy Your Inner Photographer

If you're anywhere near the North Vancouver area, get out to Park and Tilford Gardens...  take your camera along with you. Such a large variety of plants, fountains, garden structures and just a divine space to lose yourself for a day. Stop work for now and brush up on your flower and garden photography.

The front entrance is great for photos - the sign is a half circle, a nice shape to place in the top half of the photo. I took this shot from the side but I walked around from one side to the other and got several angles.

It's a good idea to look at your subject from all sides and you'll come up with one angle that you really like.

A Teaser of Park and Tilford Garden Photos

The sun was strong and the walkway was shaded and it made for a contrasty scene. A really strong sun might limit the good shots you can get on any day. On all my daytime visits, it was bright and sunny and on those days, it's difficult to get even light. Evening is better because the sun is lower and the heavy foliage shades the garden.

So visit on a lightly overcast day and limit the amount of sky in your shot. Big blobs of white sky will ruin your photo unless you're skilled at Photoshop. Then you can use another sky and pop it into your image.

The Japanese Garden

There are huge differences between Asian and Western gardens. Both aim to create a relaxing niche. But Asian gardens use a lot of rock, sand and water... they're heavy on symbolism.

Rock and water are nature's basic elements. Rock is body - water is spirit. Water reflects like a mirror and makes a space appear much larger than it actually is. Photographers get ecstatic about reflections.

Like the illusion of putting a large mirror in a small hallway. Makes you feel you could step right through it into another world, right? Sort of Alice in Wonderland. That's what I thought when I was a kid!

Here's the oriental garden from the tea house. A view of the Park and Tilford Garden through the full moon shaped window! Find frames to shoot through. They give the photo some extra interest.

You can make frames out of tree branches, so that they sweep across a side or top of your photo. Great trick for cutting out boring white skies!

Windows are fun to shoot through, and bridges... they provide framing on all four sides of your picture.

And here's a Japanese Maple right beside the tea house and just at the red bridge. This shot was taken with an iPhone 5s. If you don't have your "big girl" camera with you, it's no excuse to let photo opportunities slide by.

I edited this JPG in Photoshop. It didn't need much tweaking... the iPhone camera is so impressive. A lot of professional photographers use their cell phone cameras often. There's even an arm of photography that's popular now... iPhoneography. Tons of fun cell phone apps, small lenses and filters... I love technology!

Wrapping it up

Think you might want to stop off at the gardens?  You can do a bit of shopping or get a snack at one of the restaurants in the Park and Tilford Shopping Centre and Gardens and visit the gardens all in one go.

The garden opened to the public in January 1969. It has an interesting history... the creation of the Chairman of Park and Tilford Distillery - George D. Kuhn. Just as you get into the garden, there's a plaque and bronze head of this charitable gentleman on the right.

Mr. Kuhn donated the garden to the community and people of British Columbia. But people from all over the world come to enjoy this garden.

The 3 acres is much like a house with 8 rooms. They all blend smoothly into each other and the top notch design gives the impression that the space is much larger than it really is.

Park and Tilford Gardens isn't just a summer-time fling... they put on an amazing show during the winter season. Their Festival of Lights is a must-see so put it in your calendar and make sure you take your photography gear. For night photography, that means a tripod!

Drop by any season... there's always something worth photographing.


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