Many plants for summer-dry climates have silver foliage. Gray leaves are a defense against hot sun and waxy succulents help store water and prevent evapotranspiration.
For garden photography, silver and gray add wonderful contrasts and drama, so it is no wonder I love to photograph them. Perhaps it harkens back to my days of black and white photography and the great masters of the f:64 club, but I love the interplay of gray with shadows and leaf texture.
When I saw the fantastic foliage of Eucaplyptus macrocarpa combined with Agave americana, created by my friend Jo O’Connell who owns Australian Native Plant Nursery, I knew there was a winner. What a wonderful Eucalyptus !
In the rush of a photo shoot, where the job is to portray an entire garden, it can be frustrating to “waste” time working one vignette, when the light is good and many more photos are waiting to be taken. This is a constant dance I have to make in every garden shoot when wonderful photos present themselves. Do I spend extra time with an exceptional scene, the “bird in hand”, or do I look for more photos?
I would like to say I immediately saw the tight composition at the top of this page, of the silver leaved Eucalyptus and Agave as I worked this garden in Southern California. I took many photos and walked around and around the scene for just the right composition.
It was only as I was editing and saw the crop in the center of another photo.
The vertical photo has just the right amount of separation between the Eucalyptus branches to reveal a bit of negative space and the dark silver gray of the Agave. I do love the cropping tool.
To see more photos of this garden, check out this gallery of the Mitchell garden and many more Australian plants in the PhotoBotanic Archive.