This Photography Lark..


 I’ve always liked this photo: the light caught by the raindrop and shining through the leaves, the finest filament of spider silk and the bokeh, courtesy of water droplets on the surrounding plants.

I could tell you that I spent hours setting it up, making many fine adjustments to the settings on the camera. Or I could be honest. Last October we were walking up the drive when it started to rain, a short sharp shower. As the sun came out again I spotted the dripping Cornus tree. The shot was a complete and utter fluke. Hand held, no tripod, point and shoot mode, taken while slithering down wet clay on the 45 deg slope. I didn’t expect it to even be in focus. A tribute to the quality of the camera and nothing whatsoever to do with me, aside perhaps from a steady hand.

Thank you for all your kind comments on the photographs in the previous post. They were a team effort and I thought I should take time out to give credit where it’s due. There are shots on the blog from both of us individually but the majority of them Mike and I take together. I may have an idea of what I need for a particular post and possibly how to compose it, but it is Mike who has the real skill and technical expertise with the camera.



Lilium superbum

One of his finest.


In the middle of a wood light levels can fall way short of optimum. The small and simple flowers which I love are apt to waft on their delicate stems given the merest hint of a breeze. To check the quality of a photograph it really needs to be viewed full screen on a computer. In the garden Mike tends to leave the camera set up wherever it may happen to be and we return to the house, memory card in hand. Sometimes that’s quite a long walk. Especially when it’s clear we need to take a picture again. And again. At one point last week my long suffering other half was heard to mutter “we’ve taken over a hundred shots and so far banked two..” It’s probably not the most efficient way of proceeding and consumes an incredible amount of time.



Mike’s favourite assignment (not) is the series of photographs of the terraces we have been doing this year.

The author of this blog has the fanciful idea that come December she can create a slideshow of these monthly shots. Imagine them fading one into the other, the permanent structures providing a constant backdrop so only the planting appears to change. Could be quite cool? To achieve this, obviously, each picture needs to be taken from EXACTLY the same spot. It may sound easy. It’s virtually impossible. Mike is threatening to put three blobs of paint on the path where the tripod needs to go..



But even then variables would remain. Distance of the camera up from the ground, the degree of tilt and the extent of the zoom. The stone walls of the terraces, the house, the bare bones of the over-enthusiastically pruned yew, none of them should move within the space of a month. And yet somehow they always do.

I’m reliably informed it’s only 11 days till the next photograph in this series, at the end of the month. I didn’t know he was counting.


2018-04-04T19:25:13+00:00June 19th, 2014|Tags: |


  1. Em June 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Poor Mike….a slave to your blogging. So many of mine are flukes too. Always the best I think.

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Nice when the flukes happen, makes up for the hundreds and hundreds that end up in the virtual bin. Thank goodness for digital!

  2. Jane and Lance Hattatt June 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm - Reply


    The images which you include in your posts always add an extra dimension to your words for they are exceedingly professional, well composed and always of interest. Well, well worth all of the time and effort.

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:24 am - Reply

      You’re very kind Jane and Lance, thank you.

  3. Marian June 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Love your photographs, a team effort as I read now. The story of the evolution of the terraces through the different seasons made me smile. It must be almost impossible to do. Maybe arrange a permanent camera on tripod there with some kind of cover 😉 I don’t have a tripod and just take pictures as I go along. I also have those wonderful surprises sometimes like you show in your first picture. Love that the bokeh is so very colourful! Haven’t had that yet 😉 Maybe sometime, a lucky shot. Really hope you manage to bring an evolution of the colourful terraces over the year. I’d love to see that!

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

      The evolution won’t be perfect, the other variable is light.. some months there is no sun!

  4. countrysidetales June 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Worth all the hard work, tell him. The pics are superb 🙂

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:29 am - Reply

      Thanks CT, he loves it really… ?

  5. Sue@GLAllotments June 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Photography is addictive I came back with 176 shots after our visit today. Love the raindrop image – have you noticed the world is upside down when viewed through a raindrop? I didn’t until it showed up in a photo I’d taken.

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:33 am - Reply

      You’re right… it shows up on this photo too, the sky is at the bottom of the raindrop.

  6. Amy at love made my home June 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    I think that it is great that you take the photos between you, and very brave to leave the camera outside while you check the pictures. All of the photos that I see on your blog are superb, but the first one you showed above, and Mike’s lily really are amazing – really amazing!! I tend to take hundreds and photos and then edit them and select/crop/curate into a suitable set for a post. Sometimes I have 200 to take down and still end up with 40 or so. Perhaps I should go back and forth more like you do! Whatever your methods they are great pictures and great teamwork between you. It would be lovely to see a slideshow of the shots of the terraces – Mike! xx

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

      Leaving the camera outside turned out to be a bad move a month or so ago… the next day Mike noticed that the polarising filter over the back screen was broken. It must have been something very heavy that landed on it to do that.

  7. frayed at the edge June 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Oh dear, I’ve done it again, read it as super bum!! I am amazed at your dedication, checking shots on the computer as you go – I cross my fingers and hope for the best! Malcolm does a lot of spotting for me, although he raely wields the camera …….. I have always been the family photographer. I still can’t get Malcolm to believe that in some photos, I deliberately have the background fuzzy ……

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Fuzzy backgrounds can work really well. And hide a multitude of gardening sins!

  8. islandthreads June 19, 2014 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Jessica the first 2 photos are beautiful, I couldn’t go to all that trouble for photos on my blog, I point and shoot and later when I come to write a post I chose what is reasonable or covers what I want to show, I will view your photos differently now I know how much time you spend on them, Frances

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

      We could be a lot better at it I’m sure. Other than a day Mike spent at Slimbridge wildfowl and wetlands trust with a professional photographer neither of us have had any training. Perhaps that’s the next step.

  9. Such dedication but well worth it. I shall look at your photos from now on wondering just what lengths you went to in order to get that perfect shot.

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:44 am - Reply

      Stepladders have been known.. little call for paparazzi skills in deepest Devon though.

  10. John going gently June 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    You have a serious talent Jessica

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:46 am - Reply

      Mike even more than me, I am picking up bits. I now know how to alter depth of field..

  11. nataliescarberry June 20, 2014 at 4:02 am - Reply

    Great post and photos! You have a way with flowers, words, and photos, Jessica! Blessings and hugs, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Thanks Natalie.

  12. Charlie@Seattle Trekker June 20, 2014 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Yes I realize my opinion is shaded by the fact that I garden, but I really love your garden photos. The color, the detail, and the texture that you captured is really special.

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 9:52 am - Reply

      It does make a difference when you have a love for the subject, as I do for the garden. Flowers are beautiful things and even more so when viewed in close up. The next thing we need is a macro lens.

  13. Vera June 20, 2014 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Sooooo impressed by you and your husband’s skills, sooooo lovely are those photos, and sooooo I will try and properly learn about the in and outs of my new camera!

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Go for it Vera, that’s all we’ve done. Just practice and practice and it will come.

  14. CJ June 20, 2014 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Your photos are always wonderful, all that hard work and effort (well done Mike) is well worth it! I shall look forward to the December slideshow, it will definitely be really cool. I’ve found this post very inspiring! CJ xx

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 10:22 am - Reply

      I’m hoping it will be cool, although already I know it won’t be perfect. But there’s a limit to how many times you can try and get one photo, and still have a life. And a husband. The other small problem is that I haven’t actually worked out how to do the fading bit.. 6 months to crack it.
      Thanks CJ.

  15. Mark and Gaz June 20, 2014 at 7:03 am - Reply

    Thank you for the effort, it’s a treat for us all! Someday I’ll take the time to learn fine photography like you guys do.

    • Jessica June 20, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply

      It’s a satisfying hobby, and you won’t be short of dramatic subject matter!
      We are coming up against the limits of our camera now, it’s getting a bit old in the tooth.

  16. Crafty Gardener June 20, 2014 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I tried doing a monthly series of shots of one of our gardens … tried for the same day, time, angle etc … it is hard. I can relate to all you are going through. But now I have a look back over a year of that garden. I had intentions of doing it with another garden area but just never got around to it. On paper it was a great idea … in theory, a bit too time consuming.

    • Jessica June 21, 2014 at 9:11 am - Reply

      I suspect if I suggest we do it again next year the answer will be short! What it has done though is make me a lot more aware of the changes that happen, such as when growth spurts occur and how weather affects that.

  17. Jo June 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    All the hard work is definitely worth it, your photos are always wonderful. Mick rarely takes a photo and when he does he either chops someone’s head off or it’s out of focus. I’m not that much better but I’m trying to learn.

    • Jessica June 21, 2014 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Mike has a lot more patience than me, that helps I think. Although on point and shoot these days you can still achieve a lot, thankfully!

  18. Simone June 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Great idea to mark the spot for the tripod!

    • Jessica June 21, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

      He is using the photo he has taken of the feet for the moment. We tried chalk, which only lasts until the next rain shower and I’m resistant to paint which will stay there forever!

  19. elaine June 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Husband has a new camera which he is a bit possessive over – like a little boy with a new toy. I haven’t been able to get my hands on it yet – I want to be able to take a photo like your first one which is perfect.

    • Jessica June 21, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

      I can relate.. we have a house and shed full of ‘toys’! Thanks Elaine.

  20. angiesgardendiaries June 21, 2014 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Your lucky to have him Jessica – I could imagine the replies I’d get if I asked anyone here to help. It’s bad enough when I call in to ask to help me move something or hold something out the way. Requesting they actually hold the camera – not blinking likely 🙂
    Mike – well done, your photography is great. Keep up the good work 🙂

    • Jessica June 22, 2014 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      He loves it really, thankfully!

  21. CherryPie June 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    I take what I see and if it works it works. If it doesn’t I may go back another day and try again 😉 Mr C wouldn’t be so long suffering in helping with such a photo project!

    • Jessica June 22, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      When you are travelling that’s the only way. It’s the shots taken around the garden, then there are plenty of opportunities to go back and give it another go 🙁

  22. casa mariposa June 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    I have a small, cheap camera and zero photography skills. Any shots that actually look decent are pure luck. So tell Mike he is a Photography God. If I asked my hubs to take photos, I’d be single and photoless. Mike’s photo’s are incredible! 🙂

    • Jessica June 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Tammy. I think I also fly close to the edge of being single and photoless at times.. !

  23. woolythymes June 23, 2014 at 1:21 am - Reply

    i think that is so fun that the blog is actually sort of a team project! (I don’t think my hubby really knows I blog!!??) Always great shots….and always an inspiration (I’m doing a rework in the back yard…..and thoughts of how wonderful your garden is always keeps me trying!!!) thanks.

    • Jessica June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      Oooh, can’t wait to see the pictures of your re-work. Change is so motivating!

  24. Linda from Each Little World June 26, 2014 at 12:46 am - Reply

    Really enjoyed this post as my husband/photographer and I just had this same conversation. Lately he keeps complimenting my iPhone pix!

    • Jessica June 26, 2014 at 9:09 am - Reply

      They are in league. Strangely, I am just about to go out garden visiting and Mike has suggested I take my iPhone. Perhaps I am being shifted in that direction too..

  25. knitsofacto June 27, 2014 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Missed this. You clearly make a great photography team! What image processing software do you use Jessica?

    • Jessica June 27, 2014 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      It’s a Nikon package, Nikon capture NX2, which uses the RAW file. Thanks Annie.

  26. Chloris June 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Wonderful photography. Wow! That lily is amazing. I’ d love to get a decent camera and learn how to do it properly. I’ m frightened that I might go to all that expense and find out that it’ s a bit like learning algebra. I never really did get the hang of that.
    Lucky you having a husband who can chop down trees and take great photos too.

    • Jessica June 28, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Thanks Chloris. It is an expense, but you can always use it on point and shoot mode if all else fails, as I usually do! I’m gradually learning more about the camera, I wish I had more time and I would do a lot more with it.

  27. Mr Paul June 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Amazing shots and the reason why your blog popped when I first saw it. Your terraces are coming along beautifully Jessica. I am just making the transition to a proper grown up camera with awful results but I’m working on it. I’m hoping my recycle bin wont be overflowing just as much in a few months as it is today. 🙂

    • Jessica June 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      It probably will. If you are anything like us, when you start to take good pictures you want to raise the bar ever higher and higher. Especially when I see some of the stunning photos on the internet. I just have to remember that some of those are by professional photographers with much better kit. For the ‘Blooming June’ post we must have taken in excess of 500 shots, for the 16 or so that I ended up using. But that’s the beauty of digital!

  28. Vintage Jane July 1, 2014 at 8:31 am - Reply

    The photos on your blog are always wonderful. I feel very embarassed by my point and shoot efforts!

    • Jessica July 1, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

      Point and shoot is fine for most things these days, given the quality of even the average camera. There are pictures on the blog that we’ve taken on a phone!

  29. Natalie July 7, 2014 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos! And I do love your garden.

    • Jessica July 7, 2014 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks Natalie. You only see the nice bits!

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