when i was in seattle just a few weeks ago, our last day was spent at bloedel reserve, the emerald treasure on bainbridge island. by far it was the garden blogger’s favorite day of #seattlefling, not only because rain shrouded the reserve in a magical mist, but that david perry, photographer extraordinaire treated us to an on-site workshop. as an aside, he was the judge for the january 2011 gardening gone wild picture this contest i entered, where he gave me the “making gourmet lemonade out of sour lemons award” for making the best of a broken mason jar. while his seattle sessions covered tips and tricks of shooting in less than ideal conditions, gratis, he didn’t let us go without an assignment: photograph a cover story of bloedel for the high-end magazine [insert your blog name here]. items to include: a cover shot, two-page photo spread and detail shots, perhaps one showing people interacting with the space. compose the photos into a magazine layout once you get home and post it to your blog and on the garden blogger’s facebook page. anxious to get to work, david reminded the group of the photographic tip he holds closest to his heart: that the secret, most magical element your pictures is missing is you. tell your story.
there was a lot of ground to cover at bloedel, so we all set off in directions that intrigued us. i had studied the bloedel meadow and moss garden as precedent studies for my graduate thesis work seven years ago, and was grateful that i was finally able to experience it in person. i recalled a bit of writing or conversation i had with my thesis advisor, leonard newcomb, that you never see the entirety of where you’re going at bloedel. walking through the moss garden, the japanese garden, the woodland edge and finally, the meadow, i was able to understand exactly what that meant. i should’ve taken leonard’s advice by dropping all my other graduate school responsibilities, maxing out my credit card, and otherwise risking a trip to seattle just to experience the space for myself. who knows how that would’ve affected my thesis work, but had i done that, i wouldn’t have had the accumulative, meaningful experience this time around. life works in peculiar ways sometimes, and i guess that’s why it brought tears to my eyes.
here’s the layout i came up with for the july|august 2011 issue of grwhryrpltd. let me know what you think. i haven’t had a good crit in a while…
for better views of the images, take a look at the bloedel reserve set on my flickr stream here.