It's cold outside...

…and wet. We have been what we like to call ’tidying up’ in the garden. That makes it sound as if we are doing a little gentle sweeping and tying back a few stray bits of rose.  In reality this year it’s meant  major surgery to several plants and shrubs – a pittosporum that had got too big for its boots just had to go and the rot in the decking had to be stopped. And that’s just for starters.
With all that hard work going on it’s sometimes hard to have the energy and indeed the enthusiasm to photograph plants.  The exuberance of autumn is slipping away and the plants are showing their age. The skeletons of trees are showing through; it is all rough texture and leathery leaves scattered on the ground. 

This is a real ‘end of autumn shot’. The fallen leaves are a mix of maple and liquidambar. The colour is great of course but for me it’s the green fern in the foreground that sets it off.  The weather has been so wild that I’ve been working indoors and trying to work through some ideas in the dry!

This is a real ‘end of autumn shot’. The fallen leaves are a mix of maple and liquidambar. The colour is great of course but for me it’s the green fern in the foreground that sets it off. 
The weather has been so wild that I’ve been working indoors and trying to work through some ideas in the dry!

I’m not a big fan of plants shot out of black. But this Christmas cactus has been doing its thing for a couple of weeks now and it called to me.

The simplicity of the colour works well against black – the challenge I thought was to simplify the very complex shape of the flowers so that the drama of the background could work for me. I used a long macro lens for this and LED lighting.


Primary colours are in short supply in the garden now, so I have been looking for objects that reveal interesting texture and shape.  

This poppy seedhead was left over from the summer. I took it indoors and used a macro lens to emphasise its texture more than its shape and to create an abstract image.  Black and white really lends itself to revealing texture and the seedhead has becomes something else – a fossil, a landscape – I don’t know. It’s interesting to use photography to reveal things that you didn’t know were there.

My indoor set up is a simple table that I can move about to take advantage of natural light from the side or from above. I use an old, semi-broken tripod and some lighting stands to hold reflectors and clamps to hold things where I want them. Nothing fancy. The fun bit is finding objects around the garden or on country walks that might make interesting textures – some work and some don’t. 
But there’s a never ending supply of material to experiment with until the colour starts to kick in next year.