In mid August, I went for my first hike since foot surgery. Hot weather and time constraints kept me from venturing out sooner. Returning to my favorite woods after a couple months felt like a long awaited breath of fresh air. As I walked along the familiar trails late that afternoon, I felt summer fading away.
The sun was low and the late summer flowers were moving gently in a light breeze.
I continued on to my favorite spring wildflower site. It was now overgrown with nothing but green. Fall will change it, and winter will change it again. Summer is certainly the least photogenic season for that area of the park. It makes me want fall.
However, as I continued out of the park, the fading sun and fading milkweed made me realize I should enjoy the season presently slipping through my fingers.
I stayed late and photographed the moon at dusk. Remind me not to rush ahead thinking the next season of life will make all things better. Remind me to stop and enjoy the good in what I have now. If I rush through life, I will miss so much texture, so much joy, and so much beauty.
My last photo outing was in early July, and I’ve finally edited it for the blog. There are a lot of other things on my mind right now, as there have been for the past several weeks, but at some point, a person has to move on.
It was a lovely early July day. I met my father out at a local forest preserve.
My intention was to photograph wildflowers, but I didn’t find much that interested me. Lighting was also a bit stark.
I ended up photographing the pink clover, blue cornflower, and grasses at the entry to my parent’s subdivision. There were some bugs as well, including our much hated invasive Japanese beetles.
Summer is about over now. Time to think about fall. This next month will probably not be the best for me, but I might try to get out for photography or do some still life. I’m not sure what my official September blog will be, but I hope I’ll have some good fall photos for October and November.
This is officially my April post. Yes, I know it is May. Yes, I need to work on my punctuality. At least I shot all of these in April. Anyway, to the post.
Last fall, I planted tulips. This is always done with hope of spring in mind. There is joy and anticipation as the green shoots make their way out of the damp spring earth. And then, in this instance, there was hail. Hail that shredded the tulip’s leaves. One was trampled just after a blossom emerged. My garbage can landed on a row of them. Nevertheless, the tulips bloomed. Closed at first and still mostly closed when it’s not sunny, they provided a nice burst of color, even if they were a little bedraggled.
Then one morning, they were all open and the sun shone on them beautifully. I had to go out and photograph them, even if the finished product wasn’t as good as I had hoped. The changing hues throughout the petals were lovely, and I had to at least try and capture them.
Since these photos, the tulips have continued to change. Some are nearing the end of their blooming season and look like it. The yellow ones have turned more orange. A few have yet to bloom. It looks like they will be purple or white. I look forward to the continuing surprises they will bring.
In a way, humans are like the tulips. We continue to grow and change, but we do so at different times. Some are hit harder by the hail or garbage cans of life than others. Maybe this isn’t the year some of them will display their full glory. Maybe that will come next year. Right now, we are all trying to make it through the hailstorms of this year. May we bloom and change into increasing beauty on the other side of the storm.
I post about love around just about every Valentine’s day. It’s kind of a broad concept. Again, I encourage Valentine’s Day as a day to share love with friends and family, not just significant others. (Write, call, visit, or e-mail your mom, dad, grandma, sibling, friend, etc.) Lately, I’ve been thinking of another sort of bond we as humans often enjoy: bonds with our pets. (Maybe this is because my cat’s approximate birthday is February 15th?) Those of you who have pets, whatever species they may be, please take time to let them know they are loved this Valentine’s day, even if you have a date with a human.
This was my quick still life practice for the month.
I know llamas are not common pets, but it was a cute decoration, and I was looking for more stuff for my mantle. This is my love-love, Maggie:
(Cell phone pic of her cuddling with me.)
August is gone already! I’m a couple days late for my monthly blog, so here’s a quick photo from a local park popular with the photo club.
I woke up this morning to find a thin, fresh layer of snow on the roads. It is the middle of April. This should not be. I want spring, and so does everyone else. We are in protest. My boss reportedly put his snow blower away weeks ago. I am not washing any more winter outerwear until I can put it away for the summer. The daffodils are trying, but they keep getting snowed on. Too bad. Some flowers would be really nice right now.
About a week ago after exercise class, I was commiserating with some ladies in the class. One said there were flowers at a local park. From her description, I was hoping they’d be grape hyacinths, but at this point, I’m not picky. There were two colors of what I believe are Scilla and some little yellow flowers. Quite small. I should have brought the macro, but the park is in a so-so area of town, so I was a bit insecure about it.
Old grass and leaves from the winter were still hanging on and refusing seasonal change.
There were ducks in the large cement water feature. It used to be more of a natural pond when I was young, but now it looks like a fountain close to the greenhouse and main gardens and rather like an industrial drainage ditch as you get farther away. The ducks don’t seem to mind though.
The whole world is full of both change and consistency, and here I am wanting to rush one thing on while complaining that another has changed. There will be beauty in the future, but there is also beauty now.
Way back on the 4th of July, I went out to appreciate the wildflowers:
A short distance from my home, there is a park with a lake. One lovely weekend morning, I decided to go walk the path by the lake. Morning or not, may other people were up and about fishing, biking, camping, and hiking. Maybe I should have gone out earlier – less crowding and better light. But it was still a pleasant excursion.
I liked the way the light was hitting the new foliage on these trees.
Farther down the path, I spotted these lovely wildflowers.
Humans weren’t the only ones out. Mommy duck and her babies were hanging out in the shade looking for food as the day got hotter.
Next Time: Milk
Yes, milk. June is Dairy Month, and I was a Midwestern 4-H kid for 10 years (no, I didn’t have any animals, not even a cat at the time). This means I spent the entire month of June promoting dairy like crazy for 10 years straight. I’ve never quite forgotten it.
Because this was a long week for me, and because I realized this will be my last post before Valentine’s day, no dictionaries this week.
Back when I was in college, my roommates would get flowers from their boyfriends for various occasions. I didn’t have a boyfriend (which I’m not sad about, because it was the right thing for me), so I would photograph their flowers.
It was good fun at times, especially when no one else was around and I could turn out the lights and experiment with LED flashlights.
While we’re on the subject of boyfriends just a week from Valentine’s Day, I’m going to say it (like I have for the past couple of years): single people, please don’t let Valentine’s Day get you down. Not having a significant other doesn’t mean you can’t observe the holiday. Love comes in many varieties. Romantic isn’t the only one. So take some time to let your friends and family know how much they mean to you. Call, write, send a card, or make plans to meet for coffee. Observe the day as a celebration of the love you do have. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Labor Day, otherwise known as the cultural end of Summer in the northern United States. Here are a few photos of Summer wildflowers I shot a few weeks ago. Before you know it, I’ll be posting fall scenery.
Next Time: Either portrait, otherworldly, or abstract. I haven’t made up my mind yet.
Spring is coming ever so slowly. Kind of like this post. Fortunately, there are some signs of spring about, especially in the local forest. I even found a little snake, but of course I prefer the wildflowers.
I decided to escape the harsh winter with its dastardly polar vortex by travelling to Milwaukee’s Mitchell Domes. The sheer joy of heat, humidity, and plants in the tropical dome was well worth the visit. The show dome was a bit less impressive (in my opinion anyway), but I still enjoyed the cute model trains. It didn’t seem like the kind of establishment that would bless the presence of my bulky old “made in West Germany” tripod that was actually made for smaller motion-picture cameras, so I shot with a high ISO and fairly open apeture.
Next Time: Still Life or Black on Black
I decided to bring some plant life indoors and give it the studio on white treatment. One of my first ideas was to group this bunch of marigolds in a style reminiscent of an old picture at my grandma’s house.
Next, I moved on to these purple wildflowers that I often discard as weeds. Most of them grow in the property line by the corn field. I brought them inside for a clean background.
Lastly, I photographed this sprig of clover, a ubiquitous piece of vegetation in my area.
Next Time: Tools or Abstract
I went for a walk in the woods last week and found the bees swarming over the late summer blossoms. Although I’m just as afraid of bees as the next person, the prospect of getting a good shot becomes more important to me when I have a camera in my hands. Enjoy the last week or so of summer!
Next Time: Plants on White or Tools
I might uproot/cutoff some remaining plants and bring them indoors to shoot them on white under more controlled conditions. Either that or I’ll take a close look at hand tools.
Since the macro lens was sitting all forlorn and abandoned in my camera case, I thought I should use it. Mid to late summer is a good time to photograph remaining small flower and maybe some insects. My subjects range from weeds to strawberry flowers. Since the subject is not still, outdoor macro shots like these can be more difficult than indoor or studio shots.
The one or two weeks a year that tulips bloom in my corner of the world have come! I always loved looking into their centers and seeing all the various parts of the flower, but I’ve come to accept that the side view illuminated by a low sun has a surreal kind of beauty.
Next Week: Abstract or Phone
Summer’s been here for a while now, and we don’t have much in the line of flowers. It’s been quite dry this year. Fortunately, a few plants are resilient enough to bloom.
Next Time: Abstract or Old Camera
It never occurred to me before, but a lot of the plants in our yard have pink flowers:
Next Time: Shiny
Time to photograph more reflective metal. It looks good in portfolios.
Easter baskets. Probably everyone who celebrated Easter as a kid got one at least once. Most are made of plastic or wicker and are about six inches in diameter. For me, however, an Easter basket is something a bit different.
When I was little, my grandma used to make my sister and I crochet or plastic canvas Easter baskets every year. Some were quite small, others were a bit larger. One of mine doesn’t have a handle. She would fill them with Easter grass, a couple of plastic eggs, chocolate, and maybe even a small toy of some sort. As kids, we were always excited to get our baskets, mostly because we wanted to see what Grandma had made us that year. All the stuff inside was nice, but the basket itself was the big deal. Eventually, Grandma’s arthritis got bad enough that she could no longer make the Easter baskets. I still have mine, all of them. They make wonderful Easter decorations, by themselves, or trying my limited floral arranging skills, with flowers.
This is the last Easter basket my grandma made for me. Overall, I think it has the most elegant shape.
Next Time: Security
I decided I need to practice my indoor photography skills.
Spring came early to my little corner of the world. Temperatures were in the 70-80 degree range last week, which is unheard of for March. The cold will come back, but for now we’re enjoying the nice weather. Spring is in the air. The first flowers are up and everything else is budding.
I hate to say it, but summer is getting towards the end. Back to school is plastered everywhere, days are getting shorter, and vegetation is starting to dry up. Looking about my yard, I became quite depressed with the state of things, so I headed off to the local nature preserve in hopes of something better. There are a few more plants at the preserve, not to mention butterflies and other wildlife. I even saw a rabbit who was good enough to sit still for me.
I spent a lot of time chasing butterflies around the park. I guess I just wanted a challenge.
Most of the flowers have faded. This dying Queen Anne’s lace has an intricate design and interesting shape. I thought of several things to compare it to, but I won’t force a suggestion or limit anyone’s imagination.
Summer’s not over yet. Get out and enjoy what’s left of it!
Next Week: Jenny, probably
She’s such a pretty cat, and when she’s in the right mood she’s a great subject.
My apologies for the late post. Around 6pm yesterday as I was preparing to finnish the photos, my home was plunged into an uproar with tornado sirens going off and humans frantically trying to locate flashlights and kitties. The power came back on around 3pm this afternoon. Other than that, it was beautiful last week. Not many new flowers were out, and the ones that “made the grade” for my blog were not exactly what you think of when you hear the word flowers.
The blue spruce outside my window is unfurling for the spring. The new growth comes out of reddish-brown casings and is a lovely shade of green swirled up so the end looks semi-flower-like.
The dandelion, a common weed, produces the most magical looking fluff towards the end of its life cycle. Here, I used a macro lens to capture the detail.
As for other weeds, I was a horrible gardener and let this one grow in my shade garden because I wanted to see what it would look like when it bloomed. It paid me back by producing a lovely, yet unusual flower. The anthers seem to be attached to small petals rather than the normal stalk like structures on most flowers.
Lastly, these tiny flowers come from a red, thorny bush. I’ve passed those bushes many times without noticing the delicate ornaments. When I finally did see them, I had to wait for enough light to photograph them.
Sometimes there’s beauty in less than obvious places. Life is short, so take time to smell the roses, or whatever else you find out there.
Next Week: My First Camera
Since I’ve been threatening to do it for so long, I’m going to show you what my very first camera looks like. I may have a few others as well.