Sometimes when I photograph a garden, wanting to show a useful plant in a clever setting, I want it to be an illustration more than a photograph.  An illustration is what the mind wants a scene to look like, and a photo too often reveals the truth.

Juniperus chinensis 'Hetzii Glauca', gray foliage evergreen shrub pruned into cone; Leaning Pine Arboretum, CaliforniaLeaning Pine Arboretum, California

But then again, what is the truth when we get lost in beauty ?  We look past the imperfections and remember the beauty.  Too often our photos don’t capture the scene we think we saw. Photoshop to the rescue.

When I came across this juniper shrub, Juniperus chinensis ‘Hetzii Glauca’ pruned into a pyramid at Leaning Pine Arboretum I was thrilled to see this gray foliage, tough, summer-dry shrub used so effectively in a formal setting.

I didn’t notice it needed a light pruning or the hole in the hedge beyond.  I only saw the shapes.  Perhaps not quite as abstractly as the opening photo, but I do pay close attention to shapes and how they can fill the spaces of a camera frame in composition.

So when I first saw the photo I really took, I was disappointed.  I decided to let Photoshop do the pruning.

Before and After Slider

I don’t do this often, I don’t have time to tweak every photo to make it the idealized perfection we think we see.  But these shapes were so carefully considered in this space, I wanted the photo to be about those shapes.  I never saw those imperfections.


Space and Shape is a lesson in The PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshops

ibook2-05It is available as a mini ebook in iTunes of Google Play for $1.99