ok I admit, I was very lucky to win a copy of this book from a twitter competition when the book first came out and I have to be honest and say I would of brought it anyway so it just saved me a few pennies. I have had a love of photography since I was about 16, when I brought my first SLR camera, a Canon. Many years of playing around, trying to get the photos right, I did take some good ones but never excellent. That passion has been relighted over the past 8years, my trusty film canon has been changed for one of the Canon Rebels but despite reading some books and magazines, I haven’t felt I have got to grips with my camera and indeed taking quality photos in the garden regularly. Nearly all the books I have read, focused more on the technical side which just went over my head and if they focused on macro photography, it was metal objects and I just couldn’t relate them to my type of both wildlife and close up photography. I suppose it all meant I just kept going doing what I have always done, using the basic programmes and kept trying new things, still felt I was unfocused and not getting the best from my equipment.
As soon as picking this book up, I just felt it spoke more of my own language, nice and simple! Andrea has written this book both in a very easy simple way to read and understand but full of knowledge and ideas. The book starts off just explaining just Why photograph your garden and how you can use your pictures as presents, reminders and just to catch that memory of that special moment like the first snowdrop appearing. It also had a small section on how to use the book, which I felt put me Both into the mindset of Andrea but also confirmed I was reading the right book for me!
The next chapter was about How to Photograph your garden, even this was nice a simple, first idea was to get to know your space, sunrise and sunset are the obvious points with their effect on light within the garden but also to try and go around with a cut out cardboard view finder just to find the perfect framing point or to get the right idea about a shot within your garden, like the rest of the book, Andrea gives great examples of times when this has come in handy for her. She then explains more about what she wants to get out from photographing the garden, from things that work well to things that don’t, changes that you make, then on to the decisions to make when photographing your own garden, including pets and wildlife, using the weather and light to your advantage, from snow and frost to the time of day you choose to take them.
Moving swiftly on to equipment, how much do you need, other books I have read, have always stated you need this and this but again it’s not done like that, with the different types of cameras talked about, outlining advantages and disadvantages of them including the camera we all use the most, yes your mobile camera! So great for a professional photographer to talk about mobile phone photography in a positive light! Then Andrea move on to talk about the more confusing areas of photography like aperture, depth of field (that’s what that button at the bottom of my canon is for!) light and light meters, again all done so I could understand it. Only at the end, Andrea goes though the equipment she uses and why but also how to use it.
In the next part of the book, Andrea takes a look at 10 different gardens she has photographed from around the world, setting out the reasons she was asked to photograph them, the ideas she had to photograph them and also the reasons behind those ideas and really got out the best from those thoughts and the different ways of presenting both the garden to be photographed and also the end photo. There is just so much information within this area it’s almost impossible include much of it in this review, safe to say I haven’t seen another book on photography where you are in the mind of the person behind the camera. Everything is covered from close up macro photography of rather endangered plants, to portraits of the owners and the thinking behind that shot. The advantages of taking quick snaps on the photo to record say a new pipeline to telling a story with people and movement.
There are just so many excellent and thought out examples and ideas in this book, all set out in a very easy to read style with brilliant photos but still with meat on the bones as they say! Andreas idea for the book was almost so you had a workshop experience though reading it, with someone helping you and explaining it to you and she has certainly achieved it. If you are setting out in either gardening or photography or indeed just a keen amateur like me, you will find this book so useful. a key thing with books like this with me, is how many times I go back to it and refer to different sections and for me with this book it has been a regular occurrence, trying to remember the wealth of knowledge given is almost impossible on the first read and I remember bits that Andrea covers while out in the field and come back and read up on how she did it. The book is an excellent read and even the most seasoned of photographer will find something of great value in it and I would heartily recommend it to you
It is published by Timber Press as a sofback and can be purchased from their many suppliers for £17.99
Please note all photography’s of the book have been take with permission.