Tips for photographing wildlife:
Learn to look for opportunities in urban garden environments, it is a good place to start photographing birds as you can encourage them by establishing feeding areas close to the house so you can watch them from a window. A bird bath will also provide a useful spot. Remember to use a fast shutter speed as birds move quickly. And be aware of the direction of the light.

Visit parks with lakes for ducks and geese and woods for woodland species – maybe there is one with a bird hide close to you? You might want a zoom lens for this type of photography.

Look for colourful plumages, zoom in on a multicoloured wing, capture interesting behaviour such as courtship, feeding or flying, large gatherings, intimate close-ups and so on. You can include people – seek out a local lake and capture children feeding the ducks, or a heron on a pier next to fishermen, gulls whirling above a fishing harbour, a robin on a gardener’s spade.

Look out for squirrels, hedgehogs, raccoons, rabbits (usually easiest to spot at dawn or dusk, feeding in open spaces or even churchyards), foxes or even deer or bears(?) and of course kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and koalas from Down Under.

Work with the animal and the light – move yourself if it makes a better shot. Keep the background clean and uncluttered, you don’t want distractions. Get down low for unusual angles. Experiment with a tight cropping.  Try for an out of focus background.

Insects and butterflies in particular are best shot as close up as possible. Fill the frame with the subject or an interesting detail. Spend time observing their hovering patches and flight paths. Be patient and choose a subject that doesn’t mind a lens close up to it like a snail or a bee. Play around with angles, light and composition.

Above all, be patient. It might take a while to get the right shot.

In March I’m looking for Wildlife in the Garden

(This month I want to see photos and stories about wildlife in the ‘garden’ – insects, spider, birds, rabbits, hedgehog, fox, snake (!) whatever you can find in your garden, public gardens, lakes, parks. But please not the family dog!)


The Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Garden, London

Designed by architect Gordon Wilson, the Princess of Wales Conservatory was built partly underground in order to be more energy-efficient and easy to maintain. The southern end (warmer) is where you will find towering spikes of echiums and silver agaves from dry tropical regions such as the arid Canary Islands. At the northern end you’ll find hidden species from the moist tropics, including banana, pineapple, pepper and ginger.

And if you are lucky you might see one of the nine water dragons that live here and who provide a natural means of controlling unwanted insects in the conservatory.

Water Dragon

If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules 🙂

  • Create your own post and title it MarchWildlife in the Garden
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in April.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.

105 thoughts on “garden photography: wildlife at kew

  1. Nice photos and great idea – I love photographing insects and other creatures in the garden. Our weather is very bleak in Berlin at the moment (and we don’t have a garden!), but when it improves we’ll plan a visit to the botanical garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmm… I should have timed this topic to the summer when there are more insects, butterflies etc about. Old images are accepted if you have any lingering in your archives 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed looking at these photographs, Jude, and was especially interested as my Dad trained at Kew, and I’ve never had the opportunity of going there. Of that, i.e, my Dad’s story, I plan to write at some point in the future. My entry to this month’s challenge, and my first (I’m unlikely to be a regular 😦 ), is “recycled” from last year. Trust that’s in order. You’ll find it here


      1. Yip, we are. There should be a link from there to another post Glorious Gooseberries. We live in McGregor in the Western Cape. About 2 hours north of Cape Town, the other side of Worcester.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sounds very British! I have been through Worcester many times, but never to McGregor. Robertson probably the closest on the way to the Eastern Cape. You live in a beautiful area.


      3. Actually, it’s a bit schizophrenic! The farmers all Afrikaans and the villagers, in the upper village, mostly English. Residents in the “ou dorp” mostly Afrikaans. And yes, if you follow Route 62 to Outdshoorn and George, you go through Robertson, Barrydale and Calitzdorp. We are privileged to live in a very beautiful part of South Africa.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I can imagine. I’m scared of snakes, and don’t even like pictures, so I’ll be circumspect about the links I’ll be clicking on for this challenge.

        Reptiles with legs often seem cute, which is weird, though I was once slightly freaked out by a large, pet Galapagos turtle I was given the chance to feed.


  3. Handsome beastie 🙂 Birds see me coming, Jude. I do have frogs a-leaping somewhere but I might cheat and do wildlife sculpture. It doesn’t move about! Hope you’ve had a lovely Sunday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know you’re a lady who’s time poor at the moment but you might be interested in a conversation with Gilly and Meg on my Sky writing post. 🙂 Are you winning today? Pouring down here so I’m blogging/doing Mick’s accounts etc.


      1. Okay, will see what I can dig up. Thank you. Always fun.
        For me down here in South Africa this is probably one of the better times of the year for garden wildlife so I’m not complaining.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ark. What a great post – I’d better warn people that it includes those 8 legged beasties so not to scare them off! Clever idea to focus on eyes!


      1. No, this was a juvenile rain spider that had just been attacked by a pompilid wasp. It had sucumbed to he the wasp sting and all but paralyzed and unfortunately I was unable to save it.
        However, I do have shots of fully grown adults if you are interested?


        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never been to Kew Gardens Jude, but I do hope to one of these days. Love the lizard, beautiful shot. Do we need to photograph wildlife especially for March, or can it be a photo already taken, from any season? Will bookmark this for later… xx


    1. Kew is lovely Sherri – needs a couple of days to see it all I think, but easy to spend an afternoon rambling around. Wildlife can be from any month of the year and archives too. Mine are all archives, haven’t had much chance to get out with the camera. And I have a lovely blackbird who comes and sits on my pots / railing and sings his heart out every evening, but I just cannot get a shot of him. There is another one somewhere nearby who sings back. So sweet!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really look forward to going there one day. Thanks for that, I think I’ll be using archives too for the same reasons. Oh your blackbird sounds delightful. What a gorgeous photo that would be. I can’t get a photo this year of my robin either. The only ones I have are the same ones in the snow in 2013! But I’ll find something different for your challenge and keep it as a separate post this time. If I can get my act together 🙂 Hope the packing is going well Jude…not long now to moving day, hopefully? xx


      1. Lisbon is beautiful, but watch your pockets and bags if you use the trams. And do visit Belém and Sintra if you have a chance. Actually 3 days is not enough 😀


  5. Hey Jude – how great – another year another challenge, how did I miss this!!! No matter, I have made it now 🙂 – my contribution will be posted on Wednesday this week, I have linked back to you on my post. And as I think about it I realise I have loads of photos to contribute here 🙂 so exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. aha you have a flower blog too – didn’t realise but now I know – we share a love of flowers too – if you ever get the chance visit the san francisco botanical garden, and especially in later summer, the garden of fragrance - they have many different types of salvias there, some helleniums – I checked your garden list but that garden wasn’t listed so thought I’d suggest. Also check out one I went to recently but haven’t managed to post about yet: the hanbury botanical garden (in Liguria) easyjet flies there, there are wonderful restaurants, beautiful plants, in flower even in december – see last photo of this bench series – all the best Poli

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