If you think green spaces are hard to come by in the big city, you’d be very wrong. Tucked away in South-West London is one of the most incredible green spaces you could ever want, steeped in history and richly diverse in plant life. Kew Gardens has been attracting attention since its inception in 1759, and it’s not hard to see why…
Housing over 50,000 living plants in 300 acres, photographers can get lost here for days and days. Whilst it’s possible to see all of the gardens in a day, it’s especially fulfilling to be able to visit season after season and observe first hand how the gardens, wildlife and landscape changes with time. If you’re serious about nature photography, consider getting yourself a Kew membership – you get unlimited visits and a companion gets in with you for free.
Over the last year I’ve visited Kew countless times (really, I’ve lost count) and pick and choose which bits of photographic kit to take with me on the day, weather dependant. If it’s raining, pack the macro lens and shoot inside the three large conservatories (the Princess of Wales Conservatory is especially ideal for this as you can get up close to the plants and they’re on a much smaller scale), if you have brilliant blue sky, stroll through the arboretum, take a walk on the treetop walkway, and marvel at all the ancient trees. If you have some cloud, or it’s slightly overcast, fold up the tripod and get some long exposures over the water. Whatever the weather, you’ll always find something to shoot.
Sometimes you’ll approach a location with a clear idea of what you want to shoot and you pack your kit bag accordingly, other times you’ve no idea and seem to bring everything but the kitchen sink…I’m guilty of both. If you visit often, a great idea is to challenge yourself to capture a particular aspect of the gardens; take a look at the site map and don’t try to cover too much ground in a day. Of course weekdays are always quieter, and those days where it’s not super sunny will rid you of some crowds, without being of detriment to your images.