Monet in Bloom at Phipps Conservatory

Summer schedules with my teens can be just as busy as during the school year but we still try to make time for special outings.  This time, I visited Phipps Conservatory to see their summer flower show with my girl.  I also used our time to give her a little more practice with the camera.  Flowers can make for a more cooperative subject than her friends.

Flowers & Photos

If you’ve never been to visit Phipps, I really encourage you to make the trip.  It’s been one of my favorite places since I was a student at Carnegie Mellon years ago.  Back then, I would bring a sketchbook and pencils, and spend time drawing in the different gardens.  When I would take my kids there years ago, there was no time for drawing, so I used my camera instead.

The theme for the summer flower show at Phipps is Monet in Bloom and I love this new series they’re creating.  In spring, their show was designed around Van Gogh (I wasn’t able to get to that one).   To me, it fits perfectly, combining art with floral displays.  As I walked around, I found myself trying to create some of the same effects with my camera in the background of my images.

Along with all of the flowers, the main gardens exhibited Monet paintings printed on canvas to help visitors imagine how Monet might be painting the scenes.

images of the summer flower show at Phipps, Monet in Bloom. Images show the front of a steam engine in a greenhouse garden with a brick fountain in front and rows of flowers on each side. there is also a photograph of the painting, The Gare Saint-Lazare: Arrival of a Train reproduced on a canvas

photos by Sadie Walsh

I found myself drawn to the flowers and didn’t think to capture the paintings but my daughter did.

And I do love the flowers.

Inspired by Monet

images of flowers taken during the summer flower at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh

With these images, I was very intentional about trying to have a Monet-feel in the background.  With the white and pink flowers, I liked that the background flowers created something like a visual echo in the images.  It helped me to see how Monet and other impressionists might have been looking at the world as they painted.

image of tiny green berries on a plant at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh

At Phipps, I also gravitate to small details, light and shadows, and patterns in the different gardens.  It’s not about just capturing flowers but looking at all of the different pieces that come together in these gardens.

image of a green leaf with other leaves in the background

images of leaves of a cactus at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

image of a cluster of zebra cactus at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

Teachable Moments

Phipps Conservatory is a great place to learn and practice your photography skills.  There is not only a variety of subjects (natural and not), there is a variety of lighting to work with as well.

While taking my own photos, I was also giving tips to my daughter as she tried to take her own photos.  Like most teens, she spends a lot of time using her phone to document her world but she’s also picked up a few things using my camera.  On this outing, she used my Canon Mark III with a 50 mm lens.  As you can see, she captured some very nice images.

These images are both straight out of camera (OOC) which means they’re shared as shot without adjustments in photoshop.  However, with the first image, I did crop it for her to eliminate a sign.

A couple of years ago, I taught a photo workshop at my daughter’s school.  This workshop included the basics of shutter speed, F-stop, and ISO but she still needs reminders.  She really enjoyed it and it’s been good to see her starting to grasp exposure and composition.  And I, of course, love this time we spend together.

I continue to love teaching and looking for opportunities to share what I know with others.  This includes offering both individual and small group lessons for older kids and adults who would love to learn how to use their cameras and be more intentional about the images they create.  Have you ever wanted to understand shutter speed?  Or what makes a good composition?  Let’s schedule a lesson.

Just visit my contact page for instructional information or message me and we can make a plan designed just for you.

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Hi there, it's Jodi!

I hope you enjoy my work and please let me know if you have any questions about photography, art, or anything at all.

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portrait photographer for the Pittsburgh area including:

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