IN THE FIELD: Scouting a Location

When asked to do an outdoor photo shoot of a garden, if at all possible, I like to visit the location beforehand to get the lay of the land. It allows me to relax and get a feel for the place. I search around the gardens looking for the best compositions of plantings, garden architecture, and sculpture. And most importantly, look for the best ways to represent the clientโ€™s wishes.

One of the most important details I check is the direction of sunlight, the best times of day to shoot various areas of the garden, and where I can place the tripod without trampling the garden beds. I often take a few quick shots with different lenses to review a few days before I actually do the shoot. This can save me a bit of time in the field by choosing the right focal length lens for a particular scene. In most instances this works, but as we know, light is always changing as are the gardens themselves.

By visiting the location and spending some time in the landscape, I have more time for discovery rather than being surprised the day of the shoot.

This piece of garden art was not easy to miss on my latest scouting excursion. It has got to be the largest watering can I have ever seen, as it was easily five foot tall. It would probably hold 50 gallons of water…enough to water most gardens twice. Iโ€™m just not sure how anyone would pick it up!


  1. dianne - "life as i see it" - "just because"
    March 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    great photo, very pretty watering can.. ; )

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Thanks Dianne, it is a big one for sure!!!

  2. March 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Anyone? I’d be fearful of the someone who could! Great tips and cool photo.

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

      Me too!!! Not kidding…that thing was huge!!! The owners of this garden had all kinds of neat garden sculpture. I’ll have to wait until things fill in a bit more so they stand out better.

  3. March 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Nice photo.
    I like the colors!

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

      Thanks Cornel, the folks that live here love color!!!

  4. March 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Hi David. A very colorful photo. However, I wouldn’t have known that it was as big as you say, just looking at the picture. If you had placed a recognizable object next to it, it would have been a ‘mind blower’. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope you didn’t mind the constructive criticizm, because I really like the photo. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Hey Bob! No worries…we think alike…I leaned a shovel next to it but the shovel then looked like a sandbox toy. The rake I tried looked even worse!!! Guess I should have followed my own advice and gotten in the photo for a better size comparison. It really is a big ‘un!!!

  5. March 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I didn’t realize that was a large garden sculpture. I thought it was a closeup of a real watering can which someone had decorated!

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Hi Lee, well…it is a real watering can…it just for someone like the Jolly Green Giant!

  6. March 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    I loved it, beautiful colours… wonderful composition… Thank you dear David, how exciting spring days… with my love, nia

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Thanks Nia, it sure is a colorful one…I would like to have one like it …only much smaller of course!

      • March 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

        You are welcome dear David, have a nice day, with my love, nia

  7. March 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Wow, I did not realize how large the watering can was until you mentioned it! Good tips, as usual.

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Thanks Fergie, Yeah the can kinda gets lost in the landscape with nothing there to give a size relationship. Maybe I’ll do a self portrait when I go back!

  8. March 13, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I love the pretty design! I can’t imagine a watering can the same size as me!

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:43 am

      I couldn’t believe it either when I saw it. It really is pretty darn big! The folks there have lots of whimsical and interesting sculptures through out the garden!

  9. March 13, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Nice photo!

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:44 am

      Thanks Laura, it sure added color to a drab pre-spring landscape!

  10. March 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Wow, that is big! Nicely painted. perhaps it waters gardens by itself?

    • March 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

      It’s the biggest I have ever seen…I should suggest to the owners that maybe they could turn it into some kind of rain barrel to water the surrounding plants. Great idea! Either way I still think it is fun!

  11. March 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I’ve nominated your for an award as I love your posts. Check it out here

  12. March 15, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Well thank you MyBeautiful…it is an honor indeed!

  13. March 21, 2012 at 10:24 am

    What a beautiful water can!! I’d love to have it in my garden, maybe a little bit smaller ๐Ÿ˜€

    • March 22, 2012 at 8:32 am

      I think smaller would be a good idea…unless you are 12 feet tall!

  14. April 19, 2012 at 4:09 am

    giving a sense of the scale can sometimes make a photograph but the opposite argument holds true too…deliberately keeping the scale abstract creates a mystery and some like that a lot…personally I think the colors is the primary subject here and it is best you didnt include anything else ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would have only wished, if you had the time and the appropriate lens, to try a larger aperture and go softer..i wonder how that version might have looked…

  15. April 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Excellent idea…I will be heading back to this location to photograph the gardens now that more is in bloom and things are really greening up. I’ll see what other perspectives I can whip up of this oversized watering can! There is a multitude of other sculptures there also that will show up a bit better with more foliage around.

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