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Formal Gardens
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Formal Gardens

Formal gardens provide a great opportunity to create some stunning landscape photographs. Beautiful public gardens exist in virtually every part of the world. The meditation gardens of Japan or the plantation gardens of the American South provide evocative reflections of their locale.

Equipment isn't much of a factor; a point-and-shoot will provide fine results. Because much of the design work has been done for you and the area involved is relatively small, you can often capture many different views in just a short visit. If the garden has very formalized rows of flower beds, a high angle (from a porch or hillside) will reveal their patterns. At ground level, a wide-angle lens will help exaggerate the perspective of long flower rows. In more free-form settings, try to build your compositions around a single feature: a particularly interesting piece of topiary or a river of stone winding through a meditation garden.

Gardens at peak season will, of course, provide the most colorful and extravagant pictures, but go early in the day to avoid crowds. If your travels take you to a garden that is prior to or past its peak, concentrate on wider views that rely less on individual flowers or plants and more on the landscaping itself.

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