Gardens

Botanic Garden in Berlin – one-hour photo challenge

Imagine you have a chance to photograph a new exciting location but you have only 1 hour to spend there. Do you run like crazy and take as many shots as possible hoping some of them will be treasures worth keeping? Or do you look for an unique frame and spend the entire time making sure it is perfect? Why not striking a happy medium? With the following easy photo challenge ideas, you will make the best out of this experience, coming back come with several great pictures.

Recently, I had a chance to go to the Botanic Garden in Berlin, but I had very limited time. I wanted to photograph every corner of it but I knew that I need to focus to make the most out of this experience.

In this post, I share some ideas, which can be a guide for your next visit to any (botanical) garden.

Macro

One colour

This is an obvious choice for botanical photography. It allows you to put even the smallest objects in the center of attention. What makes it special is the fact that you wouldn’t be able to notice all those little details just with the naked eye. So next time you see something flying around your camera, follow it and wait until it rests on the leaf or petal, come a bit closer and enter the magical world through the glass of your lens.

If you are looking for more macro photography ideas check my post Macro photography ideas – Baltic Sea beach.

Insects

Because many insects are relatively small, you can combine this topic with macro. Look for bugs in the grass, bees drinking nectar, and butterflies dancing in the air. Spider webs after the rain look spectacular too!

One colour series

Pick one colour and stick to it on all the photos. It doesn’t have to be your favourite one or the most abundant, but don’t make it too difficult. You can also take several versions of the same photo and combine them into one photo story. Black&white would be interesting to try too.

Tropical

Botanical collections include curiosities from all over the world. To see many of them, we would need to cross the ocean, wander in the jungle or climb high mountains. Luckily for us, it is not necessary and we can appreciate exotic plants gathered in themed rooms.

Moody

I love pink flowers – it is not a secret. But every now and then, it is good to look for a different colour palette, especially if it can highlight the beauty of the photographed object. Instead of vibrant, cheerful colours and lots of bokeh, go for more neutrals, grey and black and play with light and shadow. An accent colour is just a cherry on top.

Wild flowers

No matter how much effort people put to design gorgeous gardens, the most beautiful arrangements are done by nature itself. Fortunately, mowing the lawns is not in fashion anymore and many people let them grow throughout summer as a home for insects and other small animals. Capture natural beauty in its intact form and get inspired for other photography projects.

Spring (seasonal photo)

Sometimes you may go under the impression that all gardens are the same, but actually, they constantly change and every day they look different – new blossoms, new light, new colours. Although focusing on the current season of the year might sound too obvious, it is always a good place to start developing the idea further. Which colours are dominant at the moment? Which species are in full bloom now? Spring is all about blossoms but you are tired of pink petals? Look for fresh green leaves, imperfect/dying plants or young animals.

New perspectives

Experiment with how you hold your camera, change the angles and you will be surprised how initially boring subjects become perfect “models”. Do you always look at flowers from the top? How about a photo from the bottom? Do you tend to zoom in on individual plant? Try putting many of them in one frame. Playing with perspective will spice up your photo album.

My one-hour photo challenge finished very quickly and there were still many photo ideas in my head that I couldn’t explore. If photos of flowers are not really your thing, you can focus on the greenhouses and cute gardeners’ sheds. Don’t stop at the obvious general pictures of the whole building (no matter how pretty it is. Instead, go inside and appreciate all the details – the texture of the glass, door with vintage handles, openwork staircases. Such botanical photos can be a nice addition to your travel photography portfolio, since they are not an obvious choice made by hundreds of other tourists.

More photo challenge prompts:

  • landscape
  • architecture
  • black&white
  • birds/animals
  • portraits
  • reflections

Have you been to the Botanic Garden in Berlin? What did you capture there? Let me know in the comments!

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