Daily Garden: Little River Family Lodge

January 29, 2010

little river family lodge garden design

I think this garden is so interesting…primarily because I can’t decide what I think about it.  I really like the path, the design is really striking and the obvious detail is interesting.

path in garden little river family lodge

But I think I would need to be in this garden to determine if I actually like the garden as a whole.  I am looking at these pictures and thinking about a common experience I have with photography.   I find most of the time when I am taking pictures in the garden, the photo rarely captures what I am really seeing or experiencing.   It’s not because I am an entirely bad photographer, but actually just as often it is because the picture is too good (usually macro shots), even portraying things to be prettier than they seem in real life.  I feel like goldilocks;  garden photography is either too bad or too good, but rarely just right.  I think the photographer of this garden might have the same problem.

little river garden kiva seating circle seat garden

I am not sure which way this one goes; is this garden more interesting than it seems in the shots?  Or, are the individual features are all really nice, but I am loosing a sense of the thread that strings them together in the place? So I can’t tell.   I think it is important when shooting a garden to think about how a garden is experienced so that you can lead people through with a set of pictures.  There are a couple more images at Artecho, the designers website but it’s not quite enough for me.

little river garden lodge grass path

What do you think?  Do you like it?  Do you photograph gardens?  What are some of your tips for that just right image? My tip:  try and capture context, which is hard, but I think it makes a huge difference.  This garden is on a bluff over looking the ocean.  Does that change your original thoughts about this garden?   It does for me. It makes me wonder where that path is going to, or coming from.  And the round sitting area – what do you see when you are there?  Is it gray because of mist?  Maybe it is moodier than it looks?  Hmmm…

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  1. Kevin O'Brien says:

    Love the path. Nice, neat, clean, crisp and rather innovative.

    I also struggle with capturing the feel of a space with pictures. So many factors affect image. Having the right light is probably the biggest obstacle, followed by the composition of the photo itself. My new Nikon really didn’t help me much….that’s why photographers are photographers and not landscape designers and vice versa?

  2. Kerry says:

    Interesting post. I think that photographing gardens is about finding its soul, which is often in the details, like the walk you show. You could take a shot of that walk and crop it so that it is the pattern of the rocks and texture of the grass. I also crawl around on my hands and knees a lot, or even lie down and shoot up. But it truly is my totally subjective idea about what I think is the soul of a garden – everyone sees things differently. And perhaps more importantly is moved and feels different things in any garden.

  3. I have conflicted feelings about garden photography — what I’ve finally come to think is that photographing gardens and creating gardens are more or less separate art forms, that only tangentially overlap. Photographs are good at giving me ideas for specific features (ie: That path is great. I could make one like that) but to get ideas on how to design an entire space, I think you have to be IN the space. On the other hand: Photos are a great way to remember impressions a space made on me — my photos may not convey a garden I have visited to someone else, but they put me back there, so I can remember and learn from it. (which, I think, is kind of what Kerry is saying about everyone seeing a different “soul” in a garden.)

  4. michelle d. says:

    The path is aesthetically stimulating , as is the wild grassy swath that appears to lead down to the ocean.
    The circular sitting area seem disconnected from the rest of the landscape and appears like it was just an applique upon the land .
    I’m very familiar with this area and the local designers. This garden is quite a change from what is commonly seen planted. Interesting.

  5. Jacqui says:

    I love this. The repetitious slow curves give it a feeling of tranquility. You want to walk down those paths slowly like Mrs. Wilcox at Howard’s End.

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