Voyage of Discovery in the Garden

I’m currently taking part in an online course called Exploring Nature Through a Lens. In this course we’re learning about explorers and naturalists through history and exploring techniques and inspirations for our photography.

One of the suggested books related to the course is Voyages of Discovery by Tony Rice. I decided to buy myself a second hand copy. It’s beautiful, full of all the paintings and drawings created during natural history expeditions.

Looking at images such as this one from Hans Sloane’s expeditions inspired me to take some photos illustrating Beech leaves from my garden.

Hans Sloane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s really windy at the moment, and I also wanted to have simple images like the one above, so I set myself up with a temporary studio. It was very basic – some plain white paper on a table, light from my crochet lamp (daylight bulb) and my camera on a tripod.

These are my favourites:

Beech leaf
Beech leaf
Beech leaf
Beech leaf

These images also remind me of the dried samples of plants that Hans Sloane brought back. These dry autumnal leaves could almost be dried summer leaves, pressed and preserved.

I also took some photos of other leaves I gathered on my quick trip into the cold and windy garden – Maple, Bramble and Willow, as well as some Willow catkins. Here’s a Flickr album of all the photos:

Beech leaf

Imagine how amazing it must have been to discover new (to science) plants and animals and be the first person to describe and illustrate them!

By Suzy Shipman

I like to take photos and write words ...

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