Sunset in Kensington Gardens is quite beautiful. I was lucky enough to swing by after work a few weeks ago for this little photo shoot. A friend of mine mentioned that a photographer friend of theirs was looking to expand his portfolio, and asked if anyone fancied testing some portrait shots. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. What a treat to grab some pictures without having to find a flat surface on which to balance my phone!
The area of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park is enormous, and has such a variety of locations to set up some interesting shots, which you can see in the images in this post. It’s obviously not a terribly well kept secret, as there were a few other eager camera wielders and wannabe models around searching for the best spot to strike a pose.
I was really impressed with the way Lucas, the photographer, looked at the park in ways I wouldn’t have thought of myself. He was constantly on the lookout for different opportunities to use the light and the scenery to create a unique feel for each shot.
So without further ado, lets have a look at some of the corners this fantastic London park has to offer:
Cherry Blossoms west of the Albert Memorial
For any budding botanists out there, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are brimming with vegetation to explore. In spring, one of the prettiest groups of trees are the cherry blossoms, with their delicate pink and white flowers. Here they’re creating a delightful Bokeh effect (selective focus with a proper camera that my little phone just isn’t able to deliver).
There are so many benches dotted around the park. Even on a sunny, busy day, there’s a chance you’ll find a spot on a bench to rest and take in the surroundings. This one is off one of the quieter paths south of the Round Pond.
Wooden Hut on the Broad Walk
I don’t even know what these tiny huts are for. There are a few dotted around the park, and I can only assume they’re there for some sort of shelter for the park guards. After all, these are Royal Parks!
The Orangery restaurant is currently park of a renovation project in the Palace grounds. Whilst they’re busy constructing a new building next to the original, the beautiful baroque redbrick is still accessible for photo taking opportunities.
Dense undergrowth for melodrama
As someone who has always struggled to pose for pictures, sometimes I just go full-on silly. I love how this shot has a real B movie / film noir feel to it. Hopefully one day I’ll learn how to pose properly for pictures. I can’t promise I’ll stop larking around like a fool though.
Green Green Grass
I’m very lucky to work so close to Kensington Gardens. Being able to pop to the park on my lunch break and get a slice of the outdoors is the best way to recharge in the middle of the day. Sure, the pollen in springtime sometimes makes breathing a bit of a challenge, but things can’t always be perfect. This shot was taken just South of the Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial playground, up in the North Westernmost corner of the park. The sun was setting and there was just one beam of light still breaking through the trees. My photographer asked me to sit on the grass right here, and I wasn’t sure why at the time. Now I see how he was using the light and the shadow and I love it!
The Sunken Garden
The sunken garden is just to the East of Kensington Palace, and is so beautiful in springtime. An arboured walkway surrounds the paved ornamental pond, with little alcoves dotted around the perimeter. The spring blooms provide a colourful oasis of floral displays, with the calming sound of water flowing in the fountains below. I could sit in one of these alcoves for hours, happily lost in my thoughts.
I’ve already mentioned the cherry blossoms, but it goes without saying, there are a lot of trees in Kensington Gardens and neighbouring Hyde Park. The Royal Parks website has some information about the trees in all of its parks should you be interested in what’s growing over the 625 acres of park land. I wasn’t brave enough to climb any of them (even though I love climbing trees, I’m not sure that it’s even allowed!). However, the variety of bark, leaves, and young and old trees make for great leaning posts and focus points for pictures.
The Round Pond
The round pond lies to the East of the Palace. With noisy geese, swans and a myriad of other birds, not to mention the swarms of insects, it lacks the peaceful tranquility of the Sunken Garden the other side of the Broad Walk. Still the gentle ripples on the surface of the water are reflecting the bright early evening sky, which makes a lovely change of background for this shot.
Rough Grass South of the Round Pond
I don’t think there are any snakes in Kensington Gardens. If there were, I’m sure this long grass would be their favourite place! Thankfully, even in slip on summer shoes, I was able to navigate the terrain without any drama.
The South Flower Walk
Although it looks like the dead of night here, this shot was taken at the same time as the others. This bench sits under an overhanging tree on the South Flower Walk just West of the Albert Memorial. It’s crazy how dark the background looks, just because of the dense tree cover. Playing with light is one of the photography skills I’m most eager to learn. It can make such a difference to an image! (See here for an example of how I totally didn’t notice how shadow would affect a recent Instagram shot).
This is my favourite shot of the set. I was mucking about again, and hadn’t actually planned on lying down. But we wanted to capture the bed of daisies as a background, and I’m so glad we did! We didn’t discuss ideas for this shoot before we met, so we just made it up as we went along. As I’ve already mentioned, I have no idea how to pose, so just tried to look as normal as possible. This probably happened the most when I wasn’t taking things too seriously, like lying down in on the grass.
I’ve still got a long way to go to learn how to pose properly, but I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity to practice. If anyone has any tips on how to increase photogenic-ness, please get in touch and let me know. My default look at the moment seems to be a mixture of bored, petrified and possessed, so I welcome any help to improve!
Photos: Martinez.L.H (Facebook) (instagram)
shot on location in kensington gardens, may 2018
This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure statement
Top: New Look (about 5 years old) Similar here