Snapshot: Maggie Bucknall

Maggie Bucknall was an Insurance Risk Manager for 25 years and later a Nutritional Therapist and Lecturer running an undergraduate Nutrition Degree. Now retired, Maggie is kept busy indulging her passion for nature, photography and heritage, and organising exciting shoots for her local photography group We All Shoot Photos (WASPs).

“When I was a child I was always fascinated by my parent’s collection of photographs, and I would pour over them for hours. I suspect it was this that triggered my desire to capture various moments in time that I could revisit. During my working life I would use photography as an outlet to explore my creative side. I had two very different careers and both were very technical, and not much creativity went on.”

Sempervivum, photograph by Maggie Bucknall, Winterbourne House and Garden, Digging for Dirt

Sempervivum, photograph by Maggie Bucknall

“Taking a photo to me is not just about what is in front of you, it is how you can turn that image into a work of art. Using light and texture of the subject, plus exploring the composition to see how you can bring the image to life. This is what I love about photography; it enables you to record memories, it is relaxing and it can be very creative.”

The Alpine House, photograph by Maggie Bucknall, Winterbourne House and Garden, Digging for Dirt

The Alpine House, photograph by Maggie Bucknall

“I love art in all shapes and forms and have no problem with using post production to change the look of a photograph. This is evident when you look at the photograph I have taken of Winterbourne’s skunk cabbage. Here you will see a combination of two colours, green and yellow. I have simply used post production to ‘pop’ the yellow and green, turning a flat photograph into a structured one that gives more depth.”

Skunk cabbage, photograph by Maggie Bucknall, Winterbourne House and Garden, Digging for Dirt

Skunk cabbage, photograph by Maggie Bucknall

“WASPs is a photography group that allows people of all levels to join and meet other photographers at various locations in the UK. Being in a group helps to give people confidence in experimenting with their camera and helps them to learn new techniques that they may not have thought of doing. You not only help to engage people, you help to empower them as well.”

Gunnera, photograph by Maggie Bucknall, Winterbourne House and Garden, Digging for Dirt

Gunnera, photograph by Maggie Bucknall

“I am an event organiser for WASPs and because Heritage is also my passion I will organise the group to meet at different heritage attractions across the region, and I am often at Winterbourne with WASPs. It’s not hard to find heritage attractions in Birmingham, well not for me anyway.  We have so many places of interest that I am sure people pass every day and just don’t see them.”

Mahonia, photograph by Maggie Bucknall, Winterbourne House and Garden, Digging for Dirt

Mahonia, photograph by Maggie Bucknall

“The main challenge in photographing plants is movement and trying to get everything in focus.  I use a method called focus stacking to overcome this. You take three or more photos of the same subject, but you use different focus distance points, which you then combine to give one image. This gives you a front to back sharpness great for photographing flowers.  I recently used this technique to photograph a bergenia at Winterbourne and help ensure all the flowers were in focus.”

Bergenia, photograph by Maggie Bucknall, Winterbourne House and Garden, Digging for Dirt

Bergenia, photograph by Maggie Bucknall

“I first discovered Winterbourne when I moved back to Birmingham in 2013. I had an out of town visitor and my sister suggested I bring them to Winterbourne House. Well, I fell in love with the place and soon became a member. It is like an art gallery with constantly changing exhibitions; each season there is a new exhibition on display.”

The Terrace, photograph by Maggie Bucknall, Winterbourne House and Garden, Digging for Dirt

The Terrace, photograph by Maggie Bucknall

“Winterbourne has its own uniqueness, that makes it different from other houses and gardens. It has a rich beauty that can bring out the creativity in all that visit. It just seems to engulf you.  Whether you capture that spirit by camera, painting, or by writing it has a way of grounding you back to a bygone age.”


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