Ecotat Garden and Trails
One of the hidden jewels near Bangor, in Hermon, is Ecotat Gardens. The acreage is home to over 55 gardens containing 280 varieties of trees, over 1500 varieties of perennials, and an abundance of animals, birds and insects. The gardens are free to the public and photographers are more than welcome to use the gardens whenever they want during daylight hours. They appreciate donations. I love it here as a place to practice different flower photography techniques. I also have seen the gardens used for family photos.
“The mission of Ecotat Trust is to preserve and expand the gardens and trails for the enjoyment and use of future generations. The name “Ecotat” was formed by combining portions of the words “ecological” and “habitat” – words describing the 91 acres of land located on Route 2 in Hermon, Maine, at the intersection with Annis Road at the top of Miller Hill.”
* Don’t just stick to eye-level shots. Strive to be unique.
* Shoot from a higher angle. This is actually quite easy to execute. Especially since you’re taller than most flowers.
* Go lower. You’ll have to stay really close to the ground, but the shots you get are definitely worth it.
* To help you stay clean while shooting, bring a rag or an old yoga mat you can lay on.
Wait for the flowers to be still.
Camera settings suggestions. 95 percent of the time I shoot at aperture priority. I love a soft/blurred background behind flowers. I will shoot at F2.8 and F5. Blurred backgrounds make the flower stand out. If you are outdoors and it is a bright day, consider underexposing slightly by -1 stop, to bring out the details of the flower, the leaves and stem.
Too much wind? Moving flowers is another technique. To make a swirling flower set your camera at its lowest ISO (50). F18 and set the camera speed around (ish) 1 second. Using a ND filter also helps but is not needed. This is just a crazy fun. The method. Move your camera and chimp. Try different swirl movements and pick out what you like best.