Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Assignment 5 - Coverage of an Event Practice 2 & 3 Kew Gardens & Eagle Heights

These were really personal projects/days out where I thought I could once more practice skills I need for the actual assignment and get used to what equipment does what how and when. Think about composition and close ups. I still treated it like an assignment, checking full battery, empty cards, clean lens, thinking ahead about what shots I wanted and if I could market the images. I also found out information that would be useful for captioning the images.

With both of the venues you have to gain permission for photography hence this is why I was not planning on using either as my actual assignment piece.


It was interesting to note that you can if well organised etc get access to certain areas:-

Photography at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Non-commercial photography that is deemed to benefit Kew Gardens - i.e. by publicising its scientific work, its festivals, or its status as a visitor attraction - is handled free of charge by the Press Office. The following guidelines outline the service provided by the Press Office and what is required from applicants in return.
  • A detailed itinerary must be submitted before any photography in the Gardens is agreed. Location, plant or interview specifics and an accurate estimate of timing must be included. This allows us to arrange access to the required areas and make sure that everything is in place.
  • Due to the size and diversity of the site and volume of information that can be found at Kew we strongly recommend that you do a recce before submitting your itinerary.
  • location release must be signed by us at the stage of a recce. A copy of your insurance agreement must also be supplied.
  • Once your proposal has been accepted by the Press Office it must be adhered to. Additional time may be offered at our discretion but please bear in mind that we receive numerous ad hoc photography requests throughout the year.
  • On the agreed day please arrive at Cambridge Cottage Offices, 37 Kew Green and ring the marketing bell unless otherwise agreed.
  • No vehicles are allowed into the Gardens. We therefore advise that you bring a trolley to transport your equipment around the Gardens.
  • It is Kew’s policy that press photographers are accompanied at all times whilst in the Gardens. Your filming is dependent upon staff being available.
  • It is your responsibility to supply personal/parental release forms and obtain signatures prior to photography. If prior consent is not gained in the form of a signed document, no photography will be possible.
  • Kew is a major visitor attraction and our visitors expect a quiet and peaceful environment. We ask that you respect this and discourage interaction with the public. It is essential that you consult us if you intend to interact with the public, and if we give prior agreement that personal/parental permission is gained.
I couldn't find an obvious link with regards to commercial photography but it seems implied that for this there would be a charge, therefore not something I am in position to do at the moment!

Eagle Heights

Photography is permitted inside the park for personal use only. Photos taken on our land or of our animals may not be used commercially without written permission from the Directors. Please email office@eagleheights.co.uk to gain the relevant permissions

Again if this was something I wished to pursue there is a way to gain permission.

Kew IncrEdibles Images

The problem with commercial photography for Kew is that it is a very well known and established UNESCO world heritage site and the competition must be huge, also not very original but it gave we a wonderful opportunity to play. As my luck seems to run at the moment it rained this day, When it wasn't raining it was very overcast and grey. However I did my best, upped my ISO used larger aperture or used my tripod and snapped away. 

A bit of an "obvious" opening shot of a display all about pumpkins, Farley Hill Place Gardens supplied the pumpkins on display and owners Tony and Margaret Finch were there to talk about pumpkins sell pumpkins and carve pumpkins! But taking the photo gave me details of the gardens.

Over 75 types were on display in and around the Waterlily House completed in 1852, and at that time the widest single-span glasshouse in the world.

The Pumpkin Pyramid inside Kew's Waterlily House. It rises 4 metres up out of the central pond. 75 different types of pumpkin, including the fairytale-titled Cinderella, Munchkin and Peter Pan varieties, were used in the installation.

A closer shot from a different angle which shows the corner display "portraying ingredients and recipes from around the world (each corner representing one of the four corners of the globe). there are signs describing the species found in that part of the world along with mouth-watering recipes, from Pumpkin Tempura to Pumpkin Pie."

Leading into the Waterlily house many of the pumpkins were painted with designs that echoed their names, Turks Turban, Cinderella, Harlequin, Ghostrider etc.

Outside children could sit with pumpkin scarecrows for a photo opportunity, gaze at grinning pumpkin faces or watch them being carved.

Moving away from the pumpkins (of which I have MANY more images) I discovered The Seven Slate Towers. It has been there a while and in all my visits to Kew I have NEVER come across it! Wider scene establishing shot.

Designed by Dan Harvey, with assistance from Heather Ackroyd, Dan Knight and Paul Wilkins.
Commissioned by Sir Robert and Lisa Sainsbury for the Secluded Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. The fountain forms the central feature of the Secluded Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

The towers are constructed from hundreds of slates, each layer specifically cut, and placed to create a spiralling tower. The top of each tower is finished with a bronze bowl cast from copper sulphate crystal forms. Water is pumped up the towers filling the bowls slowly, and then trickles back down to the pool below. Originally created without a surrounding fence but due to fears of potential danger the piece was fenced off against the artist's wishes.

Closer shots showing details and using different shutter speeds to capture the trickling water. A lovely piece to explore. All three could be cropped if needed.

Many wild and domestic birds can be spotted at Kew including the quite tame peacocks, well tame enough that you can get quite close for photos. Only issue I had was it kept moving, so out of the many shots I took quite a few were blurry, vain enough to pose, cheeky enough to not allow me to capture the beauty! Wide establishing shot.

Closer in and also chance to play with cropping.

Closer in still.

Capturing people unaware near the Sackler Crossing.

Experimenting with extreme depth of field to create an impressionist effect of autumnal colours.

Lots more images were taken, some of Tom Hare's new willow sculptures of fungi but failing light and rain clouds conspired against me so think I will just have to go back at some point. I also wanted to get shots of children running around them but despite being half term not many were about, think the rain made people stay away :o/

Eagle Heights Images

Eagle Heights is one of the UK's largest Bird of Prey Centres, currently we have a collection of approximately 150 raptors. This includes over 50 species, many of which are now breeding at the centre or can be seen flying in our daily demonstrations. We're also an expanding Wildlife Park for many different species of animals, including cheetahs, meerkats, snakes, lizards and much more!

Eagle Heights is situated in the stunning Village of Eynsford overlooking the idyllic views of the valley and the rolling hills of the countryside. These beautiful views can be seen from the Tearooms where you can admire them with a warm pot of Tea!

We are fully accessible to the disabled and welcome all group types and sizes. We offer Falconry Experience Days, Animals Experiences Days, Animal Adoption etc! All of which make fantastic gifts! Please see the Experiences section for full details!

As mentioned earlier in the post if I wanted to use any shots commercially I would have to gain permission however there could be a possibility they might want to use them directly in their website, any promotional literature/leaflets. They do offer Experience Days and have images on these etc. Unlike my day at Kew on this occasion I had the opposite problem of a lovely bright sunny day offering dark shadows, contrasts and only being able to photograph in one direction when outside....

There are 2 different playgrounds which cater for different ages. Although my wide shots for the birds flying display were all pants for a variety of reasons the playground shots were in the shade with lovely diffused lighting and came out fairly well.

Likewise I was quite happy with some of the "action" shots where the various birds flew down into teh crowds and I could capture some reactions.

At one point in the afternoon you could also meet and greet two out of the 25 huskies kept at Eagle Heights.

Striated Caracara

Iguana in a glass "cage" gave challenges of dirty fingerprints and glare, same with the bearded dragons below. Light was also fairly low.

Bearded Dragons

Sea Eagle

Harry the Vulture... I was after a really good close up of his eye which I got, I had hoped more beak would be in focus but not to be...

Sakir Falcon

Kayla the Bald Eagle, she is Crystal Palace FC's mascot and has also been used for the Kings of Leon album Only By the Night.

Magic the barn owl used at weddings to carry wedding rings.


A good day to experiment with different lenses, testing the limitations of my 17-55 for capturing the animals from a distance but the limitations of the 70-300 for anything closer and not being able to go so such a small aperture.

Two good days out and what did I learn? That research beforehand is always a good thing, find out what time displays/events are going to occur, take different lenses if you have them for different photo opportunities. Don't just focus on the animals/event, look at crowd reactions. Portrait shots don't just have to be of people! Most importantly with these two venues was the permissions, allow time for gaining permission and think about who would want to use the images, are you going to be in a larger field of competition?


  1. You've covered many aspects here with some colourful and interesting viewpoints. That peacock! Jewelled colours and so vibrant. Have you cropped any of the photographs right in to see feather details? I thought as well of spontaneity. If you'd adhered to guidelines to be 'commercial' etc do you think it would have affected the photographs you took?

  2. The peacock was gorgeous. I didn't crop right in because I was shooting a ISO 400 and although not too bad at this ISO my camera does start to get softer quite quickly so you don't get the sharp closer detail the more you zoom into the final image. With the pumpkins I started off with commercial "if I was capturing this for an article what would I want head" hece wide establishing shots, closer in, portraits etc. You also have to think about what the client wants, as I didnt really have one, no-one saying I want all people, or make sure you photograph pumpkin X, You just shoot lots of things so that there will be a choice for an editor. Some of that will also be spontaneous as you are watching people to see what they will do, and you have to react to their actions. Not always great timing on my part there lol I dont always raise my camera quick enough ....