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Mother Nature's patterns.

A surprise visit to Kew Gardens made me realise just how much I have been missing. There are some beautiful patterns hidden in nature, you just have to look.

A few weeks ago I was down in London and was surprised with a visit to Kew Gardens. Having never been before, but having visited botanical gardens in the past, I kind of expected the same, but on a bit bigger scale. My breath was taken away by the monumental size of the gardens. A quick google has just informed me that it is a 326 acre site with over 28,000 different taxa of living plants in their collections – so yes, MASSIVE.

On the day, the only lens I had with my was my trusty 24-70mm, so I was thinking of what shots I could capture. I slowly started to look beyond the shots of buildings and statues. I began to see the intricate details of leaves, the complexity of vascular tissue and beautiful patterns that were on offer.

Plant vascularity #1

Plant vascularity #2

Beautiful pattern #1

It got me thinking, how many people actually take photos of plants? Ok, yes people take lots of pictures of trees, I’m sure you don’t have to look for very long on Instagram before you see a palm tree, a baobab or a lovely picture of a forest. But how many photos of leaves or bark do you see whilst you’re scrolling down your feed? As soon as I had clocked the number of patterns that were around, I couldn’t help but capture them. I was on a mission.

Mesmerising spines

Some were classics, take for example the water droplets on the leaves below (they weren’t legit, they were from a sprinkler and yes I did get wet, but not the point). This is an extremely common plant photo, but for some reason, the simplicity of it is tremendously powerful. Also the bark photo, again very common, but particularly exciting as there are so many patterns to be found, even on the same tree. Take a little step left or right and you’ve got a completely different pattern.

Water droplets

There are so many patterns to be found in bark

The variety in Kew is insane, meaning the opportunities for different styles of photos are never ending. The first photo below can be taken with a lot of different leaves, but the second is a lot more niche. This can only be achieved with very particular types of plants, so treat every new photo as if you’re turning over a new leaf (not even sorry). See what new patterns you can find!

The physiology of a leaf is so beautiful

Achieved only with a very special type of leaf

A quick word about editing, I will try not to make it too technical and keep it brief. On most of these edits, my main focus were the tones. I mainly played around with shadows, tone curves, luminance and saturation. I loved the effect of bringing down the shadows to isolate the greens in the images, just like the two images below.

So photographer or not, get yourself down to Kew gardens and see what you can create! Be sure to check out the amazing beehive sculpture by Wolfgang Buttress - see it below (or a pattern from it at least).

Thanks for reading,


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