A Year in the Dixon Gardens:
I have to be honest: I know nada, squat, zippo about plants, flowers or anything else that needs water and dirt to live.
Even though Dixon Gardens was one of my best clients, all of my work to date was for their marketing and permanent collections, so I was very surprised when they proposed I should photograph their gardens each month for a year.
Of course, I confessed right then that I would not know a Petunia from a Dandelion. Also to my surprise, they stated, “that is why we want you to photograph the gardens. We want a fresh view or a horticultural virgin. We want you to photograph the gardens from you’re photographic artistic vision, once a month for a year. Choose just whatever you see that catches your eye. Total creativity is up to you; absolutely no guidelines or oversight.”
“What will you charge us to do this project? Usage is for our web site only, but we may want to buy additional usage after the year for a book to be called “A Year In The Garden” (working title). As for set times, you can put us in any slow time you have, provided that once each calendar month, you photograph something in the garden.
Ok, I think it will take 30 to 45 minutes to walk the garden, 40 minutes round trip from my studio to the Dixon Gardens, no lighting to set up, all digital SLR, and batch processing. It would be filler time, and usage would be for their web site only. A couple hundred per month should cover it just fine.
Funny how things do not turn out the way one anticipates, but it was no fault of Dixon Gardens.
So here is how the year at the Dixon Gardens went. I showed up on an off day for the month to do my 30 to 40 minute walk with a couple of cameras, a few lenses and about 8 GBs of memory cards. My standard operating procedure goes overkill with backup. I start my walk and at some point I discover I need to start deleting images in order to have room for an even better shot. How did I go through 8GBs? What time is it? How long have I been here? That can’t be… I have been shooting non-stop at a feverish rate for 5 hours!!! Holy-Sh&t something must be wrong with my watch, it feels like it has only been 30 minutes. Note to self: I need to be more careful next month with my time. Guess how that worked out for me? LOL.
Any given month I photographed over 200 keepers, averaged about 6 to 15 hours per month, depending on winter or summer, and delivered a terabyte drive at the end of the year. Oh, and it is my policy that I live with my bids, unless there is a change order from the client’s end. What a bargain the Dixon Gardens and I both received for $200 per month.
I’m ready to do this assignment again if there are any takers. I now live in Peoria, Illinois, and at this time I should confess again, I still know squat about plants.