Over the last couple of months I must've totted up at least 20 hours of photography time in Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens. As someone who is inspired by nature there are a million photographic opportunities at every turn there - with plants from around the world showing flowers, leaves, seeds, bark, all attracting insects, and birds filling the many types of tree, as well as beautifully landscaped (or carefully un-landscaped) scenes.
The showstopper this year for the Edinburgh garden was the once-a-generation opening of the amorphophallus titanum (titan arum), and I will admit to being caught up in the interest - it did not disappoint!
Every Botanics session has been a learning curve. Sometimes I spent hours trying to capture single flower images, or bees on the flowers. Another time I realised that, whn trying to take photographs of birds, my best friends were the weather, and knowing what the birds would be doing - eg Great Tits love exploring for bugs under bark in the autumn - but there was no use knowing that, and so being in the right place, if it was cloudy as there wouldn't be enough light under the trees where the birds would be. Following a disappointing session on a cloudy day, I returned on a sunny day and had a lovely photoshoot with a Great Tit who was peeling bark and nosing through it on the ground:
In fact, that same day, I managed to take a long-desired photograph of a goldcrest - the tiny little high-pitched treetop dwellers came down to a pine low enough for me to capture one in film for perpetuity:
For the majority of photographers who make their way to the gardens, however, it is the flora which attracts them. This year my favourites were the irises - in which the bees were having fun:
And I was lucky enough to capture a beautiful bud as it opened:
As the season changes and the days shorten I intend to KEEP returning to the garden, as there has been something every time, no matter the weather or light, which has taken my fancy to photograph. If nothing else the great palm houses will be warm and dry! It's a great testing ground for photographers of every level, and a great day out for families. Go and find a botanical garden - you'll love it!