Many people are nervous about photography, doubting their own creativity, or believing they need special equipment; but the technology within many smartphones is such that you can take some really brilliant shots just because you are in the right place and you have the right way of setting up the shot so that you capture a fleeting moment in time.
Going on holiday is a wonderful opportunity to relax and open our eyes to the world around us. In our increasingly frenetic lives being creative with a camera can be immensely soothing and absorbing. Standing and watching the waves rolling in, capturing little video clips that can be replayed later are all ways of taking the memory with you.
I have always loved photography; it is something that brings such joy whenever I see a shot that captures what was there in my imagination. This is mostly because I am shortsighted, so what I see in a distance is like viewing through a soft focus lens, and when I view the shots it is always a surprise – sometimes good and sometimes not what I had imagined!
As well as opportunistic shots that just present themselves I often go to places with a photograph in mind.
It is often driven by the weather, if I am working and I look out of the window and notice a cloud formation or I can hear the wind blowing I know that as soon as I can take a break, it is worth taking a quick drive to the nearest stretch of water.
Or at the end of a day if I see a sunset building, whether it’s an urban landscape or near the coast I want to be out there capturing it.
Many years ago I was in St Ives, Cornwall on the harbour front and just as the sun was setting, there was a sudden movement of people to the other side of the town; curious to see what was happening, I followed, only to be rewarded with the most amazing sunset off Porthmeor beach. As with many coastal locations, there are often spectacular sunsets, it is a photographer’s dream.
In these situations nature does the job for us, all you need to do is just point and shoot, whether you use a phone or a camera, the beauty just sings down the lens.
Images are around us all the time, but sometimes you need to think creatively about what would make the shot special. As mentioned above, certain shots are always spectacular and to a certain extent predictable, but looking for more unusual shots is when the fun begins.
Focusing in close, or using a macro lens, particularly in nature means that you showcase real beauty, for example whether you have pots on a balcony or a bigger garden, or even when buying a bunch of flowers, these in particular can provide the most beautiful images.
If you are very still, even in your garden you may also be rewarded with beautiful shots, of birds, butterflies, bees, ladybirds, squirrels, dragonflies and other insects, which can reveal spectacular shots, particularly when you zoom in.
Having an eye for the unusual, or using apps can extend these opportunities and take what could be an ordinary shot and turn it into something completely different, for example as shown here, taking a close up shot of a white poppy against a painting I had done created a completely different shot.
In the colder weather there can be some freak situations where freezing rain combined with snow creates the most amazing icicles on trees and shrubs in gardens. At the coast where normally the climate is quite mild icicles on rocks and snow on the beaches is something that is likely to be reproduced in Christmas cards and calendars!
When people are able to holiday abroad there are even more extensive opportunities to be creative with a camera, and what is interesting is how people often use the images from overseas to inspire them when they return home. One of the key themes in previous RHS Chelsea Flower Shows is the way that garden designers have used their travel experiences as inspiration when creating their gardens.
The growth of Instagram has provided a real opportunity for people to showcase their images, and friendship groups have developed where people share their passion for photography, gardening, the coast, and much more. Also remember video clips, not just of images, but also sounds, birds provide us with the most beautiful sounds of their chorus, not just in the mornings, but also in the early evening.
Photography is the most wonderful activity, whether an amateur or professional if you keep your eyes open you can find the most amazing photo opportunities, whether at home or away.