Giverny: Monet’s Gardens

My painter friends may chastise me for this skimpy report on a subject dear to their hearts, but time is fleeting and promises to do more sometime soon will have to suffice for now.

Although I have visited these gardens on two previous trips to France, I had not been here in June or July, which is the time that the water lilies bloom. It was our hope that they might be out this time, so off we went on Tuesday to see what might be in store this time.   It turned out that we were in luck.

I calculated in advance how best to minimize (at least in my photographs) the excessive crowds that almost certainly would be there. Here are three images that show the results and the several tricks that I used are listed afterwards. (I should confess that none of these maneuvers are surprisingly new, but might be helpful to photographers at least. I envy painters who, blessed with skills I can barely comprehend, merely leave out those pesky details.

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Approaching Storm, Monet’s Giveny Gardens

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Water Lilies, Monet’s Gradens

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Monet’s Garden, Giverny

 Here are my 4 techniques to minimizing the crowds at Giverny and similar places:

1. Pick a day when rain is forecast and likely, but the outlook should be for showers rather than a sustained deluge. The prospects for rain discourages some, but not all. Moreover, overcast skies contribute to higher quality images when photographing flowers.

2. Find a position that where plants (which you want) help block out many of the tourists (which you don’t want) as they pass through the scene, but also provides a good composition.

3. Break up the scene into a number of images using a longer lens, picking off sections that have few or no persons in the scene. Then use photomerge in the photo post processing software of your choice.

4. Move in close for a tightly framed image where those pesky people can’t trespass.

5. Still, there are some folks who will successfully thwart your best efforts in any number of images. Don’t curse them; Delete them! The clone tool and the Edit-> Fill-> Content Aware procedure are your best friends here.

20 thoughts on “Giverny: Monet’s Gardens

  1. Being a Monet fan, I must say you have done superb. The second one “Water lilies” is certainly a masterpiece! Lovely photos and very helpful tips. Thank you! 🙂

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  2. These shots are beautiful, as usual, and those tips you supplied are very helpful, I will try to put them to use. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Thank you very much. According to what I read about it, Monet was a master gardener who worked for quite some time with the layout, design and plant selection until he was satisfied. So, in a sense, you are right; it existed in his imagination nd he brought it into reality.

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    • You’re most welcome. I apologize for the delay in responding. The second week of our travels got a little hectic and I was unable to keep up with things, Back home now and hope to do better.

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    • Thanks very much for your comments. Yes, that approach could be a good one, especially when one has a camera less obtrusive (i.e., big body, big lens) than the one I was carrying that day. As I recall from previous visits, they don’t want pictures taken in the house but those with smaller cameras seem to be OK. Next time I’ll have something more discreet and will try your suggestion. By the way, your blog is terrific. I really like your style and content.

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