Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Photography Tips with Tom

Friday, June 15th is National Nature Photography Day! In celebration of this treasured holiday, we asked our Garden photographer, Thomas Keever, to give us a few tips to help sharpen our skills. Tom has been a photographer for over 30 years and has been capturing beautiful scenery at CFBG for 5 years while also working as a horticulture technician for the first two years. You could say he’s an expert at shooting the great outdoors and that National Geographic is missing out on a very talented photographer.

1.Have a plan for the images you want to capture. Take no more than 2 lenses (unless you are going on a safari somewhere!). A wide-angle in the 12-28 mm image and a telephoto 100-300 mm should be sufficient.

2. On sunny days, early morning light (from sunrise to maybe (9 am or so) and evening light (5 pm to just after sunset) usually yield the best opportunities due to the warm light that occurs.

3. Once you have selected a subject, look at it from several different  perspectives before you begin shooting.Hopefully, your eye and sense of composition will provide the best view from which to capture an interesting image! A wide angle lens will be very appropriate for many situations

4. If your subject happens to be a bird, animal, butterfly or some other critter, a different set of circumstances apply. It is always best to wear neutral – colored clothing (no white). observe the subject from a distance, move slowly, until you are able to compose a shot. There may be times when you will want to lay on the ground to get the photo you want.
You should have a lens in the 200 to 300 mm range for best results and/or a macro lens for a subject that isn’t likely to move much. Always make several images of the subject, trying different aperture and shutter speed combinations.There will usually be one¬† that you will like better than the others.
*The above assumes that you are using a camera more sophisticated than a “smart” phone.

5. Location. location, location!
Don’t overlook your yard, particularly if you have gardens with flowers, plants and shrubs. However, for variety of subject matter, climb in your car and drive yourself to CFBG…we have it all…except for Alligators, Lions, and Bison!

Some of Tom’s favorite photos from in the Garden!