Arley Hall & Gardens photo day

It can be really difficult juggling everything sometimes and I tend to feel like I’m not keeping up with things as well as I could be. As the blog is picking up momentum and deadlines have started to pile up, quite honestly I’ve felt myself buckle a little bit under the pressure. To help alleviate my ever growing stress levels, I decided to take more time doing things I want to do, that are separate from family life and the blog. After a lot of thinking, I decided to take an afternoon to myself, head over to one of my favourite Cheshire gardens and snap away.


Since getting my Nikon D3300, I’ve played it relatively safe and stuck with ‘auto’ mode, which automatically adjusts all the settings for you. But as we have decided to travel a lot more over the next year, I want to focus on photography being more of an art and capturing moments that tell our story, relay the atmosphere and inspire people to travel to these far off destinations.

Woman with Nikon D3300 around her neck


Of course as with most things, practice makes perfect and so I decided to set off for Arley Hall for some much needed practice time. Arley Hall is one of my favourite gardens to visit, there are so many different elements to it from a quaint little cottage hidden in the cottage garden to their well-known herbaceous border. It was the perfect place for me to practice my photography and get to grips with the manual settings on my camera.

Arley Hall & Gardens Cheshire, UK

Arley Hall & Gardens Cheshire, UK


To get started I thought I would take a few shots of a water feature. Running water is always a great practice exercise because you can create different images by changing the shutter speed and the aperture accordingly. The shutter speed is simply how quickly the shutter closes, whereas the aperture is the opening of the lens which dictates how much light enters. The higher the shutter speed, the wider the aperture needs to be to accommodate the amount of light needed for the shot. After a lot of fiddling about with the settings, I managed a really brilliant shot that showed a consistent flow of the water tumbling from the fountain.

Water fountain in Arley Hall & Gardens


Following on from this exercise I headed down to the herbaceous border, which is just stunning in July. I had set myself a task to capture a bee in flight, so the herbaceous border was the perfect spot for this as it is teaming with bees and butterflies.

Zoomed in bumble bee mid flight

Zoomed in bumble bee carrying pollen mid flight

Zoomed in bumble bee carrying pollen mid flight

Butterfly at Arley Hall & Gardens Herbaceous border


To get the shot I wanted I had to have my camera on a really high shutter speed, which meant the aperture had to be set to let in a lot of light. Despite my best efforts, my images were coming up quite dark and so I set about altering the ISO. This is something I’ve not really done before, but it made such a difference to my shots. I still have so much to learn about ISO and hope over the next few months I’ll be able to learn as much about it as possible so I can create the images I would like during our travels.


What do you do during your ‘me time’? Do you have any photography tips that I can use on my next photo day? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow me on Pinterest.

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23 thoughts on “Arley Hall & Gardens photo day

  1. ME time is so important! These photos are gorgeous especially the ones of the bees! I too love to have a play with my camera, My boyfriend bought me the Olympus pen for my birthday and I’m still learning!

  2. Wow, Arley Hall looks like a photographers paradise, it’s beautiful! Your photos are fantastic too, love the ones of the bumble bee, you can really see all the details 🙂

  3. Lovely photos! Love the ones of the bumblebees. Also that house really reminds me of a house I went to in Cheshire called Astley hall 🙂 love those kind of places! Xx

  4. I love photography, I have a nikon d60 and ive had that for about 8 years and only just started using it to its full potential! I think the only tips i have is get lightroom, its worth paying for it and truly changes images

  5. I bought a new Canon and a new lense a couple of years ago and I’m embarrassed to admit I’m still stuck on automode. I keep saying to myself, I’m going to be brave this time and use manual, but have yet to do it. I’m sure you on the other hand, will be so much braver than me! 🙂 Have a lovely and safe travel. x

  6. A perfect way to spend some time solo. I might do this with my next moment of me time. I always shoot in auto and really, really want to learn the manual mode of my camera. Your pictures are so gorgeous. x

  7. Lovely photos, it’s such a steep learning curve coming off auto isn’t it! I was just getting my head around it, then I changed my camera and I can’t get my head around the settings and how to access them easily!!

  8. You’re doing really well and captured some great shots. I took a one day photography course not long after getting my first dslr and learned to shoot fully manual but must admit I stick to Aperture Priority when shooting BattleKid.

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