13 May 2013 By Billy Hawkins
It had the makings of a great day - learning and putting into practice new photography tips courtesy of award winning photographer and Senior Kitchen Gardener at Myddelton, Nicola Brown.
After lunch a guided tour of the gardens from Brian Hewitt (Senior Ornamental Gardener) finishing the day with Andrew Turvey (Head Gardener) guiding us through the glasshouse restoration.
The weather leading up to the day was looking good, but then it started to get windy and in the end we had a day of all seasons - the weather testing even the more experienced photographers. We even had a fallen tree, but thankfully no cameras or photographers were injured!
Nicola’s work is utterly breathtaking with every shot having a warmth and depth to it that makes them magical. Whilst Nicola wouldn’t name drop, she has shot in some very impressive gardens - Piet Oudolf and Monty Don, for example.
Feeling somewhat inadequate with my point and shoot, Nicola passed on some photography top tips:
- Keep your camera straight (or get a tripod!)
- The rule of thirds – Google it!
- The best light (a sunny day with high white cloud) if it’s like that you can snap all day.
- Guide the viewers’ eye – paths, curves, S shapes –could even be clusters of colour.
- Reflections are great (rain, windows) always look at what is in the reflection. How about the glass in your Alitex greenhouse!
- A photograph is an unedited view of the world – no detail can be ignored.
- Reduce clutter – focus on the element that caught your eye and make sure nothing detracts from it.
- Passage ways, doorways, gates - are good atmosphere setters.
- Foreground / background - can be used to great advantage – play around.
- Stop and think before you snap – check the edges of your frame – move around, get down low.
- Most importantly - don’t be afraid to break the rules.
Feeling slightly more confident we went off with a task list – admittedly I was busy snapping photographers taking pictures, but I tried my hand using some of Nicola’s tips. Overall everyone had learnt lots and we had to be dragged back in for lunch.
Brian Hewitt’s garden tour
I have to say I am unable in words to do justice to this tour and wouldn’t want to give away any of his punch lines. Never have I been on a more entertaining and informative garden tour – and there have been many! Have a look at the what’s on guide to see when you can go along and hear Brian’s potted history of the Bowles family. I think Alitex tours at Myddelton Gardens will become a frequent feature in our event calendar.
Andrew (image with glasses on)continued the glasshouse tour explaining about the restoration and how hard it was to envisage how the greenhouses had looked at their peak. With some considered archaeology the team were able to make key discoveries that shaped the glasshouses that you see today. Andrew is keen to look at replacing the peach house as some of the features are impractical; the vents are not automated for example and Andrew and his team, especially on a typical British day, are running backwards and forwards to open / close the vents. In the summer Andrew often has to stay late into the evening waiting until it is cool enough to close the vents. Each vent has its own manual winding gear taking quite some turning; clearly not a practical solution for such a busy garden and Andrew covets the automated vents from the Alitex glasshouses.
The range of glasshouses are really coming into their own. The plants have now had time to get used to their new Alitex environment and they are positively thriving.
Myddelton House and Gardens really are a hidden gem and the passion, humour and hard work of the team in restoring this garden to its former glory is a sight to be seen and shared. Here at Alitex we are enormously proud to have been part of that journey.
To find out more about the glasshouses at Myddelton Click here.
For visitor information on Myddelton Gardens Click here.