Them Flowers be spouting!
It's Saturday in spring - still a little
cold. Helen has a bit of
a green thumb. We decided to go for a short car trip out to
Abottsford to see some flowers. I found reference to the Bradner
flower show (with nearly zero net presence) so we made that our first
visit. The show features 400+ varietals of the Daffodils (I had
But it's also an all round garden show.
They had a presentation
area where one of the local nurseries was showing how to build
"planters" full of flowers that bloom both now and through other
seasons. Cut flowers were for sale ($5 got you three bunches of
tulips) and you could buy plants ($2 for a perennial).
But what I was really looking for was those
fields of flowers shots. Daffodils pretty much grow wild
out here but I was looking for a cultivated field. I didn't
really know where to go -
started driving away from town. About 10 minutes later we spotted
"Fresh Daffs" sign and found a small farm.
We trespassed (Sorry)
take some photos. Not exactly the huge field I was hoping for but
there were a lot of different species to take photos of.
We stopped for lunch at a local park (it's still
cold out) and after a
bit more driving (Abbotsford seems to mostly grow grass) we return back
Helen and I did a bit of gardening
(have to use those new
plants!). Not a bad use of a day.
The Reifel Bird Sanctuary is one of those
spots where you had no idea it existed until you actually go see
it. It was the Easter Long Weekend and some of us wanted to "go
out" for the Friday. I've been reading about birds and the Reifel
Bird Sanctuary kept coming up a place to see wildlife. I figured
it would be pretty boring - perhaps the odd bird close up, but mostly
small dots flying near the horizon. I couldn't be more wrong.
When you arrive, you are assigned a Mallard to
escort you through the
park. <grin> The Mallards (which are by far the
bravest ducks) figured out that people have bird seed (the admission
office sells packets of food for 50 cents) and they know if they hang
out, you may feed them. Eric and I both had our feet walked on by
Mallards that really didn't seem to care that we were there.
Most of the other ducks have larger requirements
for space, but getting
a good view isn't hard. The bird sanctuary really has three
different types of environments - the fresh water ponds, thin stands
of trees and the ocean marshes. In the trees you can spot some of
the smaller birds.
This time of the year the sanctuary is really
know for it's huge flocks
of Snow Geese. While we didn't get close enough to see them in
the sanctuary, once we left we drove around some of the near by farms
fields - one was covered in feeding birds.
Mike and Eric really enjoyed there time here
and of course I had no end of pictures to take. We weren't out
for more than a few hours (it was a bit cold) but it was a good day off.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Helen works roughly one weekend a month and when
she does work a
weekend, she get the preceding Thursday and following Tuesday,
Wednesday off. I'm on a new project that isn't so busy so it
wasn't a problem to take the day off. After looking for flowers
with the Bradner Flower show, we thought it might be nice to try to the
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. It's only a little more than an
hour from Vancouver and it's really popular - popular enough that
shouldn't go on a weekend.
Wow. I was totally overwhelmed by the
thickness and saturation of
the color. I saw a few of that dying breed - medium and large
format photographers. I took pictures.
Thankfully Helen and Roshini were patient (it
helps that they brought
cameras as well). So without further delay:
John's Unofficial Guide to Taking Pictures
of Tulips on Farms
I divide taking photos of tulips on farms into 5
broad classes of
photos. Other classes may exist, some classes may mix, but I
think there are roughly 5 classes:
Tulips in detail are beautiful flowers.
Get close. Use a
longer lens (90-105 macro's are perfect but many longer lenses have a
macro mode). The trick is to watch the background.
The Tulips are planted in rows for
cultivation. Generally these
bulbs are dug up each year, separated (so you can sell some of them)
and then replanted for the next years cycle. Sometimes they miss
a few (left in the ground) or they otherwise get mixed. Generally
farms will weed these plants out, but not always.
3: Diagonals in Medium Shots
The combinations of rows and the lumps in the
fields allow you to stage
rows behind rows or otherwise setup a stage. This isn't to the
point of including background elements - this is mostly a 2D
4: Barns in the Background
There are classic shots of old barns with the
burst of new life in
front. There aren't a lot of nice old barns any more so finding a
good background can be a pain. Depending on the angle of the
rows, you can emphasis the cultivation or the variety or the flowers.
5: An Ocean of Tulips
Some of these farms are huge - they seem to go
on forever. Using
a wide angle or a telephoto, you can capture the immense scale of these
It's important to understand how this
These are farmers who are growing bulbs for sale. Some of them
have figured out there is a killing to be made by letting people in to
see the flowers when they bloom, but it still is a business.
After the bulbs peak (which varies by weather and species) they are
"topped" so that the plant doesn't got to seed and the decaying pedals
don't attract disease. Selling cut flowers is minor part - this
is almost all about bulbs.
A great day well
spent. Thanks everyone!
As if I hadn't had enough of flowers already, I
decided for a Sunday afternoon getaway to go to the UBC botanical
garden. I read the web site quite a bit so I thought I would come
out and take a look around. Amazingly, Eric, Mark and
Francis were also interested in coming out.
I was quite impressed with the Alpine garden, but most of my local
alpine favorites weren't present. The alpine garden is huge and
has areas representing many different parts of the world so there are
lots of plants I've never seen before.
Tags: bird(18), Reifel Bird Sanctuary(17), flowers(14), farm(14), flower(14), shallow depth of field(5)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 > April 2006
Thanks for the flower photos - there great
And the tips
I am just heading out to look for some tulips and daffodils
I haven't been to Bradner and don't know what to expect - its April 28th
Laconor is great we were there a few years ago and I may go there instead of Brandner
Do you have any advise on finding tulip fields in Bradner?
Last Modified Saturday, August 8th, 2009 at 22:18:44 Edit
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