Saturday, 10 October 2009

IN WHICH I TRY TO BE A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER






I am at West Dean this weekend, a delicious establishment at the foot of the South Downs. It must be good because James has been here as well.








Award-winning blogger James Alexander-Sinclair was here to deliver his plenary lecture on why garden designers can all go in the bin, apparently; he was last seen round the back of the fruit store being told off by some angry women.


Whereas I am here for a weekend-long course on how to create a garden blog. It may seem illogical to have an award-winning garden blogger on the premises and yet fail to exploit him for the garden blogging course, but there we go. So I'm the lesser-award-winning garden blogger helping the group to work out the foibles of Blogger's odd attitude towards uploading pictures etc.


But as well as a writing person, the group also get a photography person, in the form of Jacqui Hurst. As well as being a super-duper photographer, she is also a thoughtful teacher, and I feel like I've learned so much from her in the last 24 hours (never mind the actual paying students).


In one exercise she got us to do today, we had to try taking something we'd normally put centre of the photo - like these dahlias pictured above- and instead, put it off centre. And she has me thinking about backlighting, reflections and even planning to get up before breakfast for a spot of dewy post-dawn snapping.


I know the Sock is a fan of West Dean and its courses, but I would recommend them to everyone; there are people here this weekend learning to carve gargoyles, make lace, play Schumann and paint watercolours. The atmosphere is so peaceful, with rolling hills, baaing sheep and no mobile phone reception. And the food is excessively delicious and I fully expect to be rolling home at least a few pounds heavier. You can download the whole course brochure here, and if you've ever had the feeling that there isn't enough creativity in your life any more, I recommend you do it right now.






One watercolourist enjoying the autumn sunshine.

10 comments:

Victoria said...

I love West Dean, though I've never been on a course there. Yet another thing to do when I retire...
My favourite bit is the vegetable garden, with all those wonderful, hand-written labels. I'd like to go on a course that teaches how to do those...

VP said...

I've been doing just that with Dahlias too - they look really fab.

I was so pleased with mine (plus other experiments), I've had some Moo cards made :)

I was pondering the same question as you on Friday!

Arabella Sock said...

You're right I do love West Dean. The gardens are lovely and so is the surrounding area for walks. The house where the courses are held is gorgeous with a lovely welcoming ambience. The food is pretty good too.

Definitely to be recommended.

AMIT said...

You are a good photographer.

ad posting work india

Gary said...

Excuse me what camera did you use to take your pictures? They are very good, thanks for sharing.

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