CHANTICLEER: A PLEASURE GARDEN
1 Oct 2011
BY ADRIAN HIGGINS, PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROB CARDILLO When the intimate oasis of Chanticleer opened to the public in Pennsylvania in 1993, a history of passionate tending was evident. The authors of a new book about the Rosengarten Estate garden—originally…read more…
Pop Photo May 2011 on newsstands now
I like this image but didn’t love it enough to include in my recent gallery show but someone at PopPhoto did. And they weren’t the only ones — both Sue and Ray and were taken with it but I didn’t give much heed to their opinions. Shows you what I know! It’s in the new Chanticleer book which is now available through the publisher, Amazon and even ebay (??) .
A flurry of new and old friends came to the opening yesterday– great to see everyone and thank you all for your warm support! We handed everyone three post-it tags to mark their favorites prints and by the end of the evening the half-open allium bud won the People’s Choice Award. Many thanks also to the staff of the Wayne Art Center for their hospitality and to CN for kindly creating the wonderfully impressionistic images you see above. If you missed last night, the exhibit runs until March 19th.
I know, this is a ridiculous amount of self promotion. But I’ve put a lot of myself into this show and really want folks to see it. Some big beautiful pieces (printed by the fabulous Brilliant Studio), hanging in gorgeous gallery space with lots of nearby free parking. What’s not to like??
I’ll be there this Sunday 3-5pm for the opening, And giving gallery talks on March 5 and March 12 (just added this one). Come say hello, have a toothpick of cheese and let me know what you think.
I’m pulling 42 of the boldest images from five years of tromping at Chanticleer for the show at the Wayne Art Center that opens Feb 13. Not an easy task and one that demands a clear, caffeinated set of eyes. I want this edit to not only speak to the great richness of the gardens but also to transcend standard photographic (and often static) approaches without yielding to gimmickry and technique. Can I peel off my own inner lens and respond more directly and perhaps emotionally to an image? Can I favor a photograph that was quick or accidental over another that took hours of planning? Some of the best are ones where I didn’t get exactly what I wanted — I got something better. But it was only revealed with a little time, a little distance and a little coffee.
Ok, it’s just a very short film but it did demand hours and hours. Getting the footage was easy — editing was the big bad bugaboo as I struggled with Adobe Premiere Elements. I did get some help with editing (thanks, Kim!) and debuted the final cut at the end of my Scott Arboretum talk this past Saturday night. Also, huge thank you to all the staff at Scott for hosting such a wonderful event!
Sleepy head at Chanticleer
On Saturday, October 2 OCTOBER 16, I’ll be teaching a one day workshop at NYBG. Creating Great Garden Photographs will be the topic so I’m packing my bag with tons of eye-opening tips, tricks and techniques. Plus some hard-core secret stuff you can’t find in books. Come one, come all….
New lens = new perspective. Especially this one. After all, it’s a Nikon 85mm PC lens where the PC stands for “perspective control”. It’s a marvelously engineered chunk of glass and metal that gives me a little view camera action — so valuable for managing the critical focal plane in landscape work via the Scheimpflug principal. Plus it’s nifty for correcting vertical convergences with architectural subjects. Sure, some of these effects can be achieved with a Lensbaby, or later in Photoshop but this guy has superior optics that can make pictures so tack sharp your eyes will bleed.
So what’s the first thing I try? Throwing my plane of focus way opposite of “normal” for this moody take of the blue chairs at Chanticleer. Sometimes, I like this dreamy “low-fi” look for landscapes — it enhances the emotional quality for sure. But have I betrayed the garden designer’s intent? And is this image more about technique than beauty? New lens = new questions too.
Echinacea tenessiensis, allium, verbascum, papaver and more
An afternoon of low-yielding shooting at Chanticleer. The flush of spring is officially over and I’m waiting for the hydrangeas and lilies to step forward. The Tea Cup is being replanted and the tropicals at the House Garden need a full summer to get pumped up. So my feet keep heading back to the Pond Garden.
These beds rarely disappoint. From spring till frost, it’s a riot of untamed plants that the gardener, Joe Henderson, swats about like unruly children. Some of this is planned, but mostly, it’s well-managed chaos. It’s a sprawling meadow after all and you don’t really need/want to weed a meadow. You stop and look for its synchronistic moments of beauty. So that’s what I did today. Some things were flowering, some were browning. Add a dash of late afternoon sun and a long lens and the drama increases.