Adventures in Garden Photography: Form and Foliage

Bellingham_20120919_2231I want you to join me in my adventures as a garden photographer, starting with my work with Sara Malone, my co-author in the blog Form and Foliage (  I started studying photography seriously in 2006 when I used “frequent buyer points” to buy an entry level Canon SLR.  I used it on full auto on a trip to Japan and was so thrilled with the results I resolved to learn photography from the f-stop on up!

About a year ago, my friend Sara Malone, a Master Gardener with a magnificent garden in Petaluma, California, asked me if I’d be interested in co-authoring a blog featuring her garden design ideas.  After years of struggling with the maintenance of annuals and perennials, Sara had decided that by focusing on plants that offer interesting foliage, structure and texture all year round, she could dramatically reduce her garden maintenance, or at least do it on her terms and not the plant’s.  Thus began the blog, Form and Foliage (

I approached the assignment with trepidation, because my experience with photographing plants was limited.  I don’t live in a great area for landscape photography, except for the beautiful beaches.  And, I didn’t see that I could add much creativity to the world of macro photography… Frankly, except for Sara’s request, I wouldn’t have been interested.  But, she’s one of my dearest friends.  How could I refuse?

Iseli_20120921_3661The first couple of photo shoots were frustrating.  And, if we weren’t such good friends, it could have been the end of the blog before it began.  I shot images that I thought had good composition and color.  She rejected 90% of them, because she didn’t like one of the plants in the image.  (Turns out, she’s ruthless in getting rid of underperforming plants!!!)  And, she thought that my processing of the images resulted in overly saturated images; I was “developing” them the way I saw them!  But we were patient with each other, and now we have a much higher success rate!  Sara is seeing color more the way I do, and I’m actually learning the names of the plants…not to mention, I’m learning how to photograph them to feature her concepts.  And, I’m loving it.

So, come along for the ride.  I’ll try to share my experiences, both frustrating and fun.  Share this site with your friends if you like it!