California Valley Oak trees at sunset , Quercus lobata.

Garden Design Magazine featured this photo in a recent online interview:

Photographer Saxon Holt shares his experience capturing the above photo for the Great American Trees article, featured in the Autumn 2017 issue:

How did you prepare for this shoot?
The photo was taken in a state park near my home.  I was working on a book about the summer-dry climate of California and knew I wanted to have some photos of the native landscape from which the best gardens take their cues.  I packed my camera vest with a couple of lenses, slung the tripod over my shoulder, and simply began to hike the hills looking for photographs. I hiked up far enough so that the afternoon sun would backlight the trees and I was able to see the rolling hills beyond.

What surprised you about this photo? 
I admit I was surprised that I was able to hold some of the details in the hills. I assumed the bright light was going to wash them out

What was it like to be there, in that moment?
Glorious. It is hard to look at that photo and not see that.

Do you have a photography tip you would like to share with us?
Back lighting can make things glow.

How did you get into photography?
When I was in college I got the bug working for the daily newspaper and became photo editor; then had an apprenticeship with a commercial photographer and my own studio before I realized I much preferred the outdoors and loved gardening.

Another photo from Garden Design’s Great American Trees article: Redbud tree at Mount Cuba Garden in Delaware:

Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis) flowering by pathway to woodland garden at Mount Cuba Center

Gallery of American Trees.

4 COMMENTS

    • Thanks – You dug back in time to find this one ! I had forgotten it mysel,f and am glad you brought me back to my memory of finding the photo.

  1. Hi,

    I’m a big fan of your blog and posts. You did a great job in the post about how you prepared for this shoot – it’s a really helpful post! I want to thank you for posting such a cool article on “How I Prepared For This Shoot.” It was nice to see all the time you spent planning, researching gear, and just thinking about what you wanted out of this project as well as what kind of experience it would be for your subject. The photo was taken in a state park near my home. I was working on a book about the summer-dry climate of California and knew I wanted to have some photos of the native landscape from which the best gardens take them.

    • Thanks – I really think if I can help anyone else take a better picture of a garden gardens in general win. The more we can show good gardens. the more we can convince others of their value.

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