In the heart of UC Santa Cruz lies a public university like no other in California. Its diverse combination of liberal studies and major research includes an outstanding arts program, and the scenic arboretum. Even though the arboretum is a teaching facility, it's (thankfully) open to the public. The broad spectrum of over 300 plant families create the perfect environment for photographers.
Aperture Academy instructors Ellie Stone and Alicia Telfer met up with 11 eager students at the arboretum's horticulture building. Ellie and Alicia started off the workshop by getting to know each student. The habit of studying everyone's individual skill level and expectations for the day provides our instructors with the information needed to ensure a fun learning experience.
After introductions, it was time to get the photography fun and learning underway. Although the sun was shining bright, the instructors had diffusors handy to assist with softening the bright light. The enthusiastic group made their way into the New Zealand gardens, where the beautiful manuka, or tea tree bush, was in full bloom. The instructors assisted with exposure settings and compositional basics, in order to capture the lovely pink flowers covering the manuka.
The workshop was in full swing, and it was time to move into the Australian garden, home to some of the most interesting plant species, including quite a few in the Protea family. The large cone shaped flower is perfect for a lesson in composition. Ellie discussed the golden "rule of thirds" and how to incorporate the technique while photographing these highly interesting flowers.
The day was certainly moving quickly and the Australian rock garden area was the perfect spot to escape the sun and sit for a moment for a short break.
Ellie and Alicia next led the students towards the final destination of the day, the succulent garden. Many succulents have a fantastically natural spiral construction. Some colorful flowers lay scattered amongst the abundant succulents, so the photographic opportunities were vast, and exciting.
At this final spot, Ellie set up a fun and creative group shot, attempting to create the shape of a flower with the students arms becoming the petals.
And with that, another enjoyable day of photography and learning was in the books.
Until next time, happy snapping...
Ellie, Alicia, and the entire Aperture Academy team
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.