Jen Kennedy likes to get up close and personal with plants -- not just during springtime but all year round.

This fall, Kennedy will show people how to use their cameras to capture intimate details of flowers and plants and the natural colors and textures of the season at a garden photography workshop from 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 3, at the Gardens at Heather Farm.

"It's fun to take someone's effort to design garden space for people to be in and have an up-close and personal encounter and experience the unique beauty of each plant," said Kennedy, a Martinez resident.

"The Gardens at Heather Farm is delighted to have the talents of Jen Kennedy as one of our upcoming instructors," said Patrice Hanlon, manager.

One doesn't need to have knowledge about the plant species in order to take a closer look at plants with a camera, Kennedy said.

"It's really fun to go to a garden to photograph a plant, find the right time and angle to emphasize the beauty the plant already has," said Kennedy, who teaches photography at College Park High School, where students have access to an organic garden that was built by a combination of parent/community volunteers and students.

Science and special education classes work on the garden regularly, she said.

"I take my students out into the garden on a regular basis to photograph what's out there," said Kennedy, who photographed sports when she was a student at Northgate High.


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"The garden is a quiet, magical place that allows students to investigate the textures, shapes and lines of the plants. Kids are always blown away by what they discover as they get close to a plant and study the water drops that are left behind from morning dew, the bugs, and the light coming through the leaves of the plants allowing them to see the garden in a new way. Gardens are meditative places. I just appreciate how I feel after being there."

Kennedy will talk about camera settings, compositional skills and direction of light during the morning garden photography workshop where students will have the chance to practice skills in the garden.

She suggests participants bring their own camera and tripod. She hopes the workshop will help people gain an understanding of what their cameras can and cannot do.

"I also know Jen as a teacher through College Park High School where my daughter was lucky enough to have her as an instructor," said Hanlon. "She is passionate about teaching and connects well to students of all ages, young and old. It is sure to be a great day in the garden learning from her."

if you go
WHAT: Garden photography workshop with Jen Kennedy
WHEN: 9 a.m.-noon, Nov. 3
WHERE: The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek
COST: $25 workshop fee
INFORMATION: www.gardenshf.org or 925-947-1539