The Spring Garden
... Meditations on Light

Nothing like a spring garden to warm up your heart after the winter chills. I'm not  a fan of cold weather any more... not after leaving Manitoba and it's -40 degrees several years ago to work in Saudi!  So a few hours with my camera in a sunshiny spring garden totally thaws my cold blood!

Click on one of the images for a larger view and a slide show.

Choreopsis flowers with texture layers.
Queen Elizabeth Park tulips and daffodils near The Seasons Restaurant
Young spring ferns at VanDusen Botanical Garden.
Spring, daffodils and textures.
Originally yellow and orange daffodils, now sepia.
Spring, glowing rhododendrons
Queen Elizabeth Park garden - the quarry garden.

The new  gardens are dizzying with scents and radiant colour and the buzzing insects are in a frenzy to collect the golden pollen. How can your cares not dissolve away like magic?

Once you're feeling completely peaceful and you have a plan for what you want to photograph , it's time to wander out into the garden with your camera!

Spring Garden Photos In the Right Light

Spring's light is softer than mid summer but it can still be strong, especially in the middle of the afternoon.  A polarizing filter adds a richness to spring colours. It also cuts reflections if you're shooting at a pond or through glass.

And, since it is a dark filter, you lose a stop or two of light and you have to adjust your exposure. If you open up your aperture (f-stop), you'll decrease your depth of field and your background will be out of focus... perfect if you're taking a picture of a single flower or a garden portrait of your friend.

Check here for help on changing your camera's exposure for your spring garden pictures.

If you're out in the garden mid afternoon, look for lightly shaded areas to photograph.But not "dappled" light... you know, when the sun is shining through the leaves and there's lots of light spots.

Shooting For Sidelight or Backlight


Light falling across a subject from the side will accentuate any texture. Like the bark on a tree or all the bumps on a piece of canvas. Fantastic for so many images.  The last photo in the slide show is a great example of sidelight... it's so gorgeous and warm.


If the sun is coming right at you and into your camera, then it's falling on your subject from behind. Super-fantastic for translucent petals... you can get some gorgeous shots. But make sure you shade your lens from above with your hand or a paper, or you may have a lens hood that came with your lens when you bought it. Hint... don't get your hand in your photo!

Backlight creates a beautiful rim light around a subject but the right exposure can be a little tricky. Try exposure compensation and take 3 photos to get one that works well.

Wrapping it up

Click on one of the photos at the top of the page and go through my images.  In every picture, you can tell what the subject is because it fills up most of the photo.

When the spring flowers start to bloom and the gardens look and smell so intoxicating, it's easy to want to capture all of it.  Don't! Choose a small part of the garden as your subject and get close so that anyone who looks at the photo will know exactly what it's all about.  If they look confused, you missed the mark. Review some of the composition and exposure rules before you pick up your camera.

Shutter Speed
The Histogram
Leading Lines
Fibonacci's Golden Mean
Rule of Thirds

Most important, the spring flowers are fleeting. Practice your photography, study your pictures and see where you can improve your technique. If you're honest in your critiques, you'll make huge strides in your flower photography. 

And have fun!

Please leave a comment below on what you've learned or any topic you want to know about.  And if you enjoyed this page, it would be super if you'd "like" it.

All this helps me know how to create even more great content for you.

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