Graham Riddell is a specialist freelance photographer at Graham Riddell Photography in the Scottish Borders, offering a stunning collection of nature-themed Wall Art & Stock images. Call 0777 764 5813. Commissions also welcomed for Portrait Photography, Event Photography, Corporate Photography, Publishing and PR and photography lessons.
I took myself out for a walk around Traquair House gardens here in the Scottish Borders yesterday in search of some much needed inspiration. The snowdrops were sprouting all around bringing forth the first signs of life of a long awaited Spring. And whilst the surrounding vegetation is still in hibernation, the days are lengthening as the sun rises higher each passing day providing a little more welcome warmth from what has been (is) a long cold winter. The earth is stirring once again.
Obtaining the right perspective for photography often means getting down and dirty amongst the grass or mud (or both) and manipulating a resistant tripod into a locked position that would still support the camera at the angle of view I had in mind. In the above shot I wanted to keep the foreground snowdrops in focus with the house behind also in focus to add context to the story of spring at Traquair House.
The ever changing light means that as soon as you are ready, Nature is not. Dull and overcast, flattening out the contrast to kill the shot. Clouds seem to know what you are thinking and so you just have to wait and be patient until they slip by allowing brief illuminations to flicker on and off like a magic lantern.
In those duller moments, my mind turns to thinking how good that diffuse light would be for a close-up of the budding stars themselves. I bank the idea and move on to explore new possibilities.
Another bank of snowdrops was growing nearby and so armed with my 100mm macro lens I turned my attention and focus towards them. Weighing up the possibilities, my eye was instictively drawn to the curving driveway which cut a swift 'S' between two trees with the edge of the courtyard buildings above the bank of snowdrops I was considering. The picture below was created from a desire to combine all the elements into one frame and provide a hint or glimpse of my focussed engagement.
There is a pond close by at the side of the house which is where the brewery is located and so I wandered down to see what I could find. Although the light was not as favourable there were still opportunities to create intriguing images. Water provides a wonderful canvas on which to paint reflective buildings or skies above and the ripples added a more atmospheric mood to the House's ancient and often turbulent history.
There are usually a couple of swans at this location and sure enough they magically appeared as if from nowhere and though I could not command them to pose ideally for me, one did make a pass whilst feeding from the beds below the surface, just long enough to snatch a quick image with the brewery behind and before the inverted bird presented its less flattering face!
All too soon it was time to go as the afternoon light was fading and I had to be back for an appointment which left just enough time to take a couple of the stars of the show themselves. I give you The Snowdrops!