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The Plant Doctor: Try these tips for photographing plants, gardens

What a frustrating winter season. Relatively warm weather has resulted in premature sprouting of bulb shoots, while just enough of a nip in the air keeps the earnest gardener at bay from even considering doing anything serious in the garden.

Time for still another one of The Plant Doctor’s winter projects — photography. One of the most enjoyable ways to enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the year is to photograph your garden several times before, during and just after the growing season.

For professional results — surely results that you will enjoy sharing with others — try following some if the suggestions outlined below.

• Get as close as possible to the subject being photographed. Include only the most appealing parts of your subject. For instance, focus on the best flowers, color combos, groupings of flowers and vegetation. Imagine the image you want to share with others. Crop out the rest from your viewfinder before you shoot. Your photograph should appear as nearly natural as possible. Don’t include eyesores such as overhead wires, cars, telephone poles — anything that looks like it just isn’t the proper partner for the subject.

• Lighting conditions can make or break a photograph. Out-of-door lighting is best suited during early morning and late afternoon. The lighting at other times during the day may simply wash out the colors of your subject. Incidentally, even a cloudy day can result in an amazing image. An overcast day can promote shaded colors for a classical, professional appearance. Indoor photography will require either flash assistance or fairly strong artificial lighting.

• The use of a tripod and cable release can ensure a photograph that is crisp, sharp and clear. Even the most adept photographer will occasional shake the camera either when focusing or pressing the release button. This is particularly true when the photographer/gardener attempts a real close shot.

• The use of different angles, time of the day, even different times in the growing season will provide diverse images.

• Practice shooting a number of rolls during the winter — learn from your mistakes, remember your successes. Best practice area — the Haupt Conservatory at the Bronx Botanical Gardens. Trust me, one roll is not nearly enough.

Good luck.

Questions or concerns about plants or gardening? Contact The Plant Doctor at

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