With vibrant, colourful tulips everywhere you look, it’s eye candy to the senses, and admittedly, challenging to photograph.
JP Niagara Tulip Experience
1934 Centre Street, North Pelham, Ontario
2023 Dates: April 21st – May 21st
Pre-Purchase Tickets Here!
Over the weekend I went to my first tulip field in the Niagara Region. I didn’t know what to expect, other than, well, tulips so I brought three lenses to use on this trip:
- Superwide: 14-24mm f/2.8
- Telephoto: 70-200mm f/2.8
- Macro: 105mm f/2.8
I photographed both with the Nikon Z 8 and the Z 9. Each of these lenses serve a unique purpose in photographing an entire field of flowers so I knew I would at least leave with a variety of perspectives. When I arrived, the parking lot was almost full! But thanks to the parking attendants, they kindly guided me to a spot.
JP Niagara Tulip Experience is a field with over 1 million tulips with over 85 varieties. While I’ve been to the Canadian Tulip Festival, which also boasts over 1 million tulips, the difference is the JP Niagara Tulip Experience has all of them in one location for you to enjoy!
Visually, this makes the area quite attractive. Photographically, this creates a challenge to compose attractively. Whenever I’m confronted with a challenging situation, I always tell myself to look for the unique aspects of the area.
In this case, we had colourful tulips growing in rows planted in different directions along rolling hills. This statement essentially covers all the elements that I thought worked well in my compositions.
Capturing the colours
You can’t go wrong with filling a frame with the vibrant colours of the tulips. This showcases the various colours, making for a rich sensory experience. I tried to change the colours of the tulips by pointing at various parts of the field where I could find clean lines of tulips and not so much of the ground. It’s also effective when you can find a particular tulip to act as a point of focus—or element of interest—so the viewer’s eyes will eventually navigate toward it.
Capturing the rows
Capturing a row of flowers standing at the end looking down the row is a common perspective. The longer these rows of flowers are, the more dramatic the landscape you’ll get. In my case, I wasn’t able to get the shot that I was envisioning, so this particular perspective wasn’t my favourite.
Looking at the rows and seeing them grow in different directions created a more interesting composition. The contrast in direction really brings the viewers in and around the frame, so I tried to illustrate this contrast in several places by finding different rows of tulips. One of my favourite vantage point comes from the recommendation of the owner of the Tulip field, Joseph, who told me that I had to see the view from the farthest corner looking back. This sea of tulip view is indeed quite picturesque! See the first image of this blog post.
The rows were also seen growing up and down the hills and valleys throughout the field. These weren’t very high hills mind you, but they were high enough to give the sense of elevation to the field. I really liked this perspective as it’s not every day that you get to experience this type of tulip field.
Speaking of perspective, there are three different types that I could have worked with that day, based on my lens selection:
The more tulips you include in your frame, the smaller each flower will get in your frame, and the more expansive the field will look.
The larger the tulips are in your image, the fewer the number of tulips you’ll capture, but you’ll capture more details of each tulip.
Using a macro lens will allow you to really focus on an individual tulip’s texture and colours. I’ll go over this topic in a separate blog post since I ended up not even using my macro lens at the tulip field due to time constraints. The photo below was taken with my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.
This field uses a timed entrance to control the number of people on the field at once. You should pre-book your visit beforehand on their website, especially on busy weekends. I booked last minute so I could only book the last time slot which gave me very little time to appreciate the grandeur of the field.
This is when luck was on my side as I happened to run into Joseph (the “J” in JP), one of the owners of the tulip field, just when it was time to leave. We got to chatting and somehow or another he let me stay a little later than the rest of the crowd, allowing me to photograph the flowers and field with nobody in it.
I later ran into Paula, the other owner of the tulip field (the “P” in JP), and we got to chatting as well. I managed to grab their photo just as the sun was setting behind the trees.
This was their first year of operations, and they were very thankful for the sunny weather that came after the rain had put a damper on things during their first week of opening.
A big thanks to Joseph and Paula, and the friendly staff for letting me stay behind to capture these colourful photos!
Have you been to a tulip field before? Do you have tips on capturing tulips? Let me know in the comments!
Pin the image to the left!