This year I invested in a drone (DJI Mavic 2 Pro) to capture aerial shots of some of the gardens I photograph. It took a lot of money and time, studying for the GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) with UAVHUB, so I now have an Operational Authorisation from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). It's a really exciting thing to be able to do, and really gives the feeling of flying above a garden. Even just hovering at 15' or 20' can give an enhanced view, just enough height to reveal the layers of a garden that at ground level remain stubbornly hidden. Gardens with strong formal layouts particularly lend themselves to aerial imagery.
And this year I've been shortlisted for the Portfolio Photographer of the Year in the Garden Media Guild Awards.
My features appear regularly in magazines including The English Garden, Landscape Magazine and Country Living and my images have appeared in many books, calendars and other commercial products produced in the UK and abroad. I'm a member of the Professional Garden Photographers' Association and the Garden Media Guild and am represented by GAP Photos.
Growing up in Bristol and going to camera club with my Dad in the 1970s I was told to have some red in the foreground and always make sure the sun was behind me before pressing the shutter. Nowadays, living in Wincanton in south Somerset and photographing gardens for a living, I constantly do the reverse, shooting into the sun to capture the animating light that illuminates the tissues of plants like the humming hot bulb of a slide projector brings to life a small piece of celluloid. I avoid the sun a lot too; light is a powerful thing and too much can destroy an image altogether.
I've always used a camera, though professionally only since 2004. Before that I was an artist and then a gardener, and my attempt to fuse those two things has brought me to the wonderful, creative place I spend most of my time now: making pictures of and writing about gardens and plants, hunting out weird and wonderful places and stories, and meeting people who are bonkers about a particular plant, who make beautiful spaces in which to spend time, and who practice horticulture professionally with immense skill and creativity.