garden photography: wildlife at kew

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. 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!

      • 🙂 I did look for challenges but was looking through the small blue green web site – obviously missed the new photo opportunity! Luckily I found it today

        • 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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