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First Tip: Botanical Gradens

Last year Ruth and I had some unexpected free time in Seattle (the cause being a touchy subject involving differences between 2009 and 2010 calendars and scheduling the right dates on the wrong year). Since we were at a bit of a loss as to how to spend some time without spending too much money, we decided to look for places to do some photography. What we came up with was the Bellevue Botanical Gardens (http://www.bellevuebotanical.org/); which turned out to be one of the most fascinating and beautiful places we'd been in a long time. The place was exceptionally well taken care of and had no entry fee (though it would have been worth quite a bit to see), and turned out to be an absolutely wonderful place to take pictures, with a myriad of flowers, plants and lighting conditions. The perfect place to hone a photographers skills.

The tip is: to be a better photographer, take lots of photos. Play with the camera and use it in as many environments as you can. I feel that a landscape photographer can improve by doing street photography, and that taking pictures of flowers can help learn portraiture. So go to your nearest botanical gardens, park, Japanese garden, or anywhere that you can take lots of pics in a relaxed environment and take your time. Maybe find something you like and take pictures at a range of f-stops, from wide open to closed down, or play around with camera angles, or bring a friend and try portraits with various backdrops, you can always delete the pics you don't like. In my experience, actually using your camera is far more valuable than learning about using your camera.