19 Jul

Let there be light!

Westbury customer and award winning photographer, Marion Sidebottom, shares an insight into how her Westbury garden room extension adds value to her family environment and provides a sanctuary in which to connect with the beauty of nature's elements.

As a landscape and location photographer and customer of Westbury I was invited to write a guest blog so I decided to investigate the connections between my work as a photographer and my new garden room space at home.

Space, Design & Zoning

During our design consultation Westbury advised us to look at the whole space rather than view our garden room as an ‘add-on’ room. After much deliberation we decided to open up the space from the garden room into the kitchen and dining room to create a multi-functional spacious family area. Although the build took longer and had additional costs, in hindsight this was a great piece of advice.

Composition and design are essential elements of photography. When you look at a photograph your eyes need to follow a pathway through the picture from front to back or left to right to create depth and meaning to the viewer. Too much space in a composition or a lack of depth can be off putting. A similar concept can be applied to a big open plan space which needs to be carefully planned so that each area has a purpose. We achieved this by zoning the areas into kitchen, eating and relaxing areas using clever interior design techniques such as lighting, colour schemes and furniture design and placement.

Colour of Light

All images © Marion Sidebottom

In my garden room I watch the light change during the day. From the early morning sunrise and golden hour to spectacular sunsets followed by the blue twilight zone. These are the colours of visual light in the electromagnetic spectrum. As a photographer I have to be aware of these ‘light temperatures’ in order to achieve accurate colours and to use natural light creatively in my work. The huge windows and lantern roof of my garden room are designed to maximise this light into my home so I can enjoy it in all its forms.

Seasons, Weather & the Elements

All images © Marion Sidebottom

I go out in all weathers and often capture my best landscape images during inclement weather as nature looks transcendent at its most dramatic. When I’m home, my garden room allows me to experience the beauty of the elements but without being exposed or having to don my all-weather gear. I can be sitting in my favourite chair but with the first spot of rain clever sensors close the roof light windows. In the winter the warm underfloor heating keep my toes toasty during snowy conditions. I can soak up the morning sunrays or experience dramatic thunder & flashes of lightning after dark, all from the comfort of my sofa.

Sounds of Nature

All images © Marion Sidebottom

Whilst photographing and walking in the forest I like to do a little ‘Shinrin-yoku’ which is also known as ‘forest bathing’. This concept was developed in the 1980s in Japan and has become a foundation of preventive health care and restorative healing in Japanese medicine. It works by slowing yourself down and using your senses of sight, smell and sound to take in the forest atmosphere. This helps me to be in the moment and forget about any worries I may have. I also take better pictures as I am able to observe my environment and capture its key elements. When I’m at home in my garden room I open the doors and the garden comes in to me. I can hear the birds singing, feel the breeze on my face and admire my beautiful oak tree. The garden becomes part of the house and can be very therapeutic.

Last Thoughts

Our Westbury garden room has enabled us to have a beautiful family space which brings us closer to the sights and sounds of our garden and nature with windows which frame the view to the garden. We can experience the yearly seasonal changes with the weather this brings, but also the subtle changes in light on a daily basis. What more could a photographer want in their living space!

Marion Sidebottom is an award winning photographer and Associate of the Royal Photographic Society specialising in landscape, location and fine art photography. Marion is available as a commission photographer, connect with her on Twitter and Facebook or visit her website at www.marionsidebottom.co.uk to see more of her stunning photography. 

All images © Marion Sidebottom