Gardening Experts

Q & A with Brenda Tharp, author of “Expressive Nature Photography”

By Shelley Pierce | January 14, 2018
Image by Monacelli Press

Q & A with Brenda Tharp, author of "Expressive Nature Photography"

by Shelley Pierce January 14, 2018

Q & A with Brenda Tharp, author of “Expressive Nature Photography”

By Shelley Pierce | January 14, 2018

Brenda Tharp is a  professional outdoor photographer and photography teacher, Ms. Tharp can offer advice to her readers on how to take better photographs of gardens and nature in her book, Expressive Nature Photography.  Read on to learn more and enter to win one of three copies from The Monacelli Press.


1. How does this book help the reader to develop and refine their artistic vision and bring more expression to their photography?

The book offers helpful ideas in seeing and utilizing available light creatively, on the concepts that create strong compositions, such as point of view, balance, contrast, etc., and on how to create depth and put the viewer in your footprints, to make them feel they are there. It also provides insights on the value of opening up to what’s around you and photographing from a place of feeling, not just recording, what you see. Color and black and white are discussed, as are the importance of gesture, moment and storytelling, all of which make a photograph more expressive.

2. What is one of your favorite photographs of Nature that you have ever taken and why.

Gosh, there are so many that are my ‘favorites’, both for the experience I had while making them, and for the results. But one in particular is the cover of my book – because it expresses the raw power of Nature, with the stormy dramatic sky and the water rushing towards the viewer. It has energy and drama and puts the viewer in the spot, about to get their feet wet, and I like to make pictures that are ‘participatory’ like that. A second favorite, the autumn leaves in a depressed channel in sandstone, expresses the beauty of nature in a more intimate way.

3. What drew you into the world of nature photography and how many years have you been refining your craft?

My family went camping and hiking when I was a child, and my father always carried a camera. I became fascinated with the idea that I could make a memory stay with a picture, and that translated into a desire to capture my experiences in nature and to express the beauty and drama that I would see. I began a serious pursuit of photography in 1982; my refinement of my craft began before that, and continues to this day, as I am always working on making better and better photographs.

4. Where have your photographic journeys taken you lately?

Slovenia, Namibia, Botswana, Arizona, Utah, and California

5. What is some of your best advice for budding nature photographers?

Take the time to develop and master the craft – the technical skills. Learn about the key elements – light, strong composition, visual depth, point of view, gesture – that can make your pictures more expressive, and incorporate them with your own vision of nature. Photograph regularly to keep honing your skills and your vision.

Win one of three copies of “Expressive Nature Photography“!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Sunday, January 21, 2018 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

What things in nature do you like to take photos of?

Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)

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    Kathleen Fosha
    Comment added January 15, 2018Reply

    Sunrises. I’m blessed to live on Lake Keowee SC and see glorious sunrises every day (weather permitting).

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