January 3, 2012

Autumn colour in Peckham Rye Park

It was in the last week of November that I ventured into Peckham Rye park to practise a few photographic skills but I soon found myself shooting pics for real. It was such a pleasant and balmy late November day and the soft sunlight was just right. The gardens at Peckham Rye are well husbanded and they have been a frequent haunt for me over the last few years. The gardeners were in evidence today and had tidied up to my advantage.

There are many beautiful trees in this park and some would say that it merits arboretum status. One of those trees is the stately ginkgo in the Sexby garden and this is where I started.

Actually, taking good photographs of gardens is really hard and here I’d chosen to use a sigma 10-20mm wide angle zoom lens at its widest angle with the intention of achieving clarity of focus from front to back of the image. At an aperture of F22, the reality is that even after sharpening, the image lacks absolute clarity.

Ginkgo biloba in Peckham Rye Park

Here’s a cropped version of this optimised for the web. It’s hard to say if the colour is over saturated or not. What do you think?

.Ginkgo biloba in Peckham Rye Park

Here is the same view in portrait. This time shot at F16 and consequently a sharper image. But now it’s time for a bit more detail and I chose to sacrifice depth of field for drama and foreground interest. At F4.5 the extreme foreground and background are thrown out of focus. The image works well as we look in a straight line through the image rather than across it. It also throws the emphasis away from the questionable crazy paving interest!

Ginkgo leaves in Peckham Rye Park

Going further into detail, the ginkgo leaf yields its breath taking beauty.

Ginkgo leaf detail

So how do you best photograph a tree? Giving it context might work though it is often difficult to find enough structure and shape to make the image work well. I quite liked the following even though the foreground is slightly under exposed.

Ginkgo biloba in the Sexby Garden, Peckham Rye

Finally, just in case you are feeling all “yellowed” out here are a couple of shots of Prunus leaf fall taken just outside of the Sexby garden.

Prunus leaf fall in Peckham Rye

And my favourite shot at F4 with a focal distance of 140mm on an EF 70 – 200mm lens.

Prunus leaf fall in Peckham Rye Park