Saturday, October 8, 2016

My best pictures from a recent photography workshop at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

Last Saturday I took my first-ever photography workshop at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. I would have missed it if Kathy Stoner of GardenBook hadn’t brought it to my attention—thank you, Kathy.

The workshop was billed for beginners, and while after 30+ years of taking photos I’m not exactly a novice, I thought it would be great to have early access to the garden (8 a.m.) in order to take advantage of the best light.

And the light was sweet indeed! The silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa) near the back fence, one of the garden’s signature trees and in full flower right now, was spectacular backlit by the morning sun.

I think this might be the most beautiful photo I’ve ever taken at the Ruth Bancroft Garden:

161001_RBG_IMG_1931

Agave ‘Mr Ripple’ and silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa)

Since this post is about photography, I’ll keep my commentary to a minimum and let my pictures do the talking.

161001_RBG_IMG_1933

Silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa)

161001_RBG_IMG_1959

Silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa) and opuntia

161001_RBG_IMG_2084

Silk floss tree flower (Ceiba speciosa)

161001_RBG_IMG_1952

Calliandra ‘Sierra Starr’

161001_RBG_IMG_1954

Yucca ‘Bright Star’ and Agave ovatifolia

161001_RBG_IMG_1967

Agave flower stalk and Yucca rigida

161001_RBG_IMG_1969

Opuntia leucotricha

161001_RBG_IMG_1973

Cleistocactus hyalacanthus seen through Dasylirion sp.

161001_RBG_IMG_1975

Cleistocactus hyalacanthus

161001_RBG_IMG_1979

Cleistocactus hyalacanthus with ×Mangave ‘Espresso’

161001_RBG_IMG_1987

×Mangave ‘Espresso’ (a variegated sport of ×Mangave ‘Macho Mocha’)

x161001_RBG_IMG_1984

Oreocereus sp.

161001_RBG_IMG_1990

Opuntia sp.

161001_RBG_IMG_2004

161001_RBG_IMG_1993

Harrisia pomanensis, one of several cactus species whose fruit is referred to as “dragon fruit”

161001_RBG_IMG_2010

161001_RBG_IMG_2018

Opuntia sp.

161001_RBG_IMG_2019

Euphorbia echinus

161001_RBG_IMG_2020

Euphorbia sp.

161001_RBG_IMG_2024

Euphorbia sp.

161001_RBG_IMG_2029

Encephalartos sp.

161001_RBG_IMG_2031

Xanthorrhoea nana

161001_RBG_IMG_2037

Agave parrasana

161001_RBG_IMG_2033

Agave colorata × bovicornuta

161001_RBG_IMG_2107

Agave attenuata

161001_RBG_IMG_2043

Buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.)

161001_RBG_IMG_2049

Possibly cardon (Pachycereus pringlei)

161001_RBG_IMG_2053

Agave franzosinii

161001_RBG_IMG_2059

Agave franzosinii

161001_RBG_IMG_2062

Agave bovicornuta

161001_RBG_IMG_2069

Agave stricta

161001_RBG_IMG_2070

Agave victoria-reginae

161001_RBG_IMG_2080

Agave horrida

161001_RBG_IMG_2081

Agave horrida

161001_RBG_IMG_2074

Agave guadalajarana

161001_RBG_IMG_2095

Agave gypsophila and Echeveria ‘Lace’

161001_RBG_IMG_2101

Echeveria ‘Lace’

161001_RBG_IMG_2105

Echeveria shaviana (right)

161001_RBG_IMG_2111

Leucadendron ‘Ebony’

161001_RBG_IMG_2109

Leucadendron ‘Ebony’

161001_RBG_IMG_2114

Palo blanco (Mariosousa willardiana)

161001_RBG_IMG_2130

Palm fruit

161001_RBG_IMG_2133

Calliandra ‘Sierra Starr’

The workshop was led by Bay Area fine-art photographer John Ricca, assisted by Charlotte Gibb. After a brief introduction we were set loose and could wander the garden at our leisure. John and Charlotte were available anytime for questions. This format worked great because everybody who needed it received personalized instruction.

According to RBG event coordinator Alice Kitajima there will be similar photography workshops in the future so sign up for the RBG’s newsletter on their home page. For members the workshop was free (awesome benefit!), for the general public is was $25.

16 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos! I enjoyed looking at them all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Exquisite. Every single one of them. Maybe YOU should teach the class?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Some really excellent shots here Gerhard! So did you participate in the class at all, or just roam around on your own?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I walked around on my own and then ended up talking to Ryan, the RBG horticulturist, about all kinds of topics that had nothing to do with the workshop (like cycad poaching). Ryan is one of my favorite peeps at the RBG and I learn something new everytime I chat with him.

      Delete
  4. That must have been fun! The light looks like it was wonderful. Great photos, as always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The light at 8 am was so different from the light at 10 am. I could hardly believe it!

      Delete
  5. As if its not enough that you get to visit the garden to get free events like that. Great photos as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I felt so lucky to be there. I truly treasured the experience.

      Delete
  6. Um um um ... what wonderfully composed photos of gorgeous plants!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!!! I hope you'll get a chance to visit the RBG some time.

      Delete
  7. You caught the light beautifully! I noted that the Yucca 'Bright Star' you photographed has its leaves interlocked at the top just like one of mine - I've hadn't noticed that with any of my yuccas until last month and have wondered if it's a precursor to a bloom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could well be! I'll check this particular specimen the next time I'm there.

      Delete
  8. Wow, these are just magic. I wondered the same thing that Alan asked. Was the class at all beneficial to you, or was it just about the timing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny coincidence: Before the workshop I had decided to primarily use a telephoto lens (something I don't do often enough). And that's exactly what John Ricca, the instructor, advised us to do in his introduction. I felt good about my decision!

      Other than that, I mostly did my own thing, occasionally chatting with Kathy to see what she was doing.

      Delete