10/20/17
Cosmos with Butterfly

Butterfly and Cosmos

Butterfly and Cosmos: Point of View

Butterfly and cosmos: same flower, same butterfly, different point of view

Butterfly and cosms

Cosmos with Butterfly

Butterfly and cosmos

Butterfly with Cosmos

No matter how you look at it, butterflies and flowers of late autumn are a visual treat!

09/27/17
Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn cosmos: cosmos here in Albuquerque really come into their own in the fall. They are beautiful in their own right. In addition, goldfinches, finches, and even humming birds like them. More than that, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators like them. Also, they come in a wide variety, and many reseed themselves. More than that, they grow in poor soil. Therefore, they make a great annual in the high desert for many reasons. Yesterday they seemed to sparkle.

Autumn Cosmos

Cosmos Against a Beautiful Sky, before the Storm

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Every now and then I see a package of seeds for a variety new to me. This year I tried “Seashell Mix.” As a photographer, I love them! As a gardener, I must note the germination rate was rather low. Will they reseed themselves? Although I do not yet know, I do plan to plant them again next year.

I am continuing to have fun playing with a new program. I first tried it with Autumn Roses. Here is something with the seashell variety.

autumn cosmos

Old Friends

For friends here in New Mexico, enjoy this beautiful autumn weather and *rain,* and the flowers so abundant at present.

09/25/17
miniature rose

Autumn Roses

Autumn Roses

Autumn roses seem especially sweet. Maybe that is because they will soon disappear until Spring. This past spring I had too many distractions and demands to take good care of the roses then. But, the monsoon season was good to my yard. That inspired me to get out and work to get a few things in better shape. I was happily surprised with the roses available to photograph this weekend. Also, I’m playing with a new program, so I feel a bit like a kid with a new set of finger paints. Thank you for indulging me.

autumn roses

Irresistible

autumn roses

Distant Drums

autumn roses

Foolish Pleasure

We are supposed to get more rain in the middle of the week. I put a few pansies out this weekend, and rain would be good for them as well as for the long-standing roses.

ARS Rose Notes

For my rose friends who read here, the final ARS Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography includes a National Challenge Class that will first be offered at the ARS Spring 2018 Convention. This is a heads-up, because photographing bloom cycles requires some planning. I do think this is a worthy national challenge class.

roses

Nat’l Challenge Class

Monday Morning Thoughts, a Long Digression

I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ The Viet Nam War. Throughout, I have thought about people I’ve known, and where they are in life and in their heads today (for those still alive). Last night was a little different. The episode covered the Tet Offensive to the assassination of Robert Kennedy. That is, Spring 1968, when Martin Luther King was also assassinated. I remember watching Lyndon Johnson’s speech, and many other things that had slipped into the deep recesses of my mind.

I was a student at the University of Chicago in the Spring of 1968. The University is on the south side of Chicago. I had come from a university that might consider tearing down a library if necessary to expand football. The University of Chicago had torn down the football field and was in the process of building a new library. I lived in a 12th floor apartment, that looked south. I could see Rockefeller Chapel, the Museum of Science and Industry, and a tiny glimpse of Lake Michigan. The university had its own bus for students, a bus that continually circled through Hyde Park to shuttle students to and from classes and back home. Most days I had the same bus driver.

Chicago When Martin Luther King Was Assassinated

Martin Luther King was assassinated on a Thursday. Friday morning was calm on the south side of Chicago. By the end of classes Friday afternoon, the tension was palpable. I caught the bus to go home. I was the last person off. The driver, who had gotten to know me over the year, said, “I’m going to drop you off at the door to your building today (instead of about 1/2 block away). Don’t go out tonight. Stay in your apartment.”

That weekend, first of all, and for days, I could look out and see the south side of Chicago burning. As a result, the heavily armed Military, not just police and National Guard, were patrolling the streets. Most of all, I remember looking out and seeing the Army camped on the grounds of the Museum of Science and Industry. Military tents completely covered those grounds. Maybe that is what I have remembered most of all.

I watched the helicopters hover over the meeting between the Blackstone Rangers and police, as they tried to work out a truce.

I have not thought about these things in a long time. What stood out to me from last night’s episode was the Marine, who had fought in Viet Nam, who was ordered to go to one of the cities with civil unrest. He refused an order to go, which essentially ended his military career. He said in essence, “I thought we would be sent for regular police work, protecting buildings, that kind of thing. Then they started issuing the same equipment we had had in Viet Nam: flak jackets, the same bullets, all the same things. I said I was not going.”

That was 49 years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I half-apologize for the digression.

09/19/17
ars rose photography

ARS Rose Photography Update

ARS Rose Photography Update

ARS Rose Photography Update: the American Rose Society’s Board of Directors has approved the final version of the First Edition of Guidelines and Rules for Judging Rose Photography. Editors are completing the final editorial review. The text will appear shortly on the website of the American Rose Society. Members will be able to access it by going to “Resources”and scrolling down. In the meantime, members may see and download six PowerPoint programs explaining use of the Guidelines. The PowerPoints appear alphabetically rather than by topic, so be sure to scroll through.

ars rose photography

2017 ARS Photography Guidelines and PowerPoints Explaining Use Are Now Available

Because some readers may not be ARS members but still interested in the PowerPoints, I’m posting links here. Click on the links to view.

The current six are:

Creative Interpretation

Floral Arrangements

Shrubs, Old Garden Roses, etc.

Rose Sprays

Fully Open, Stamens Showing

How to Mount and Mat an 8×10 Photo for ARS Shows

While those are the current six, watch for additional ones in the future. In addition to these, planned are One Bloom, Macro Photography, The Enhanced Sections, What’s New in the 2017 Guidelines, and People, Not Cameras, Create Images.

You may view the current ones, as well as new ones as they appear, at a PowerPoint Library at Southwest Desert Gardening.

One does not have to be a member of any rose society to enter roses, arrangements, or photographs in ARS sanctioned rose shows. Anyone can enter!

09/8/17
Corrales fine arts show

29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show

29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show, During the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The 29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show begins with a reception October 6 at the Old San Ysidro Church. The show will be open daily, October 7-15, 11am-5pm, except closing at 4pm on Sunday October 15th. The show opens after the morning’s Balloon events, and closes in time for you to make it to the evening’s Balloon events.

Corrales fine arts show

Old San Ysidro Church, Corrales

I love showing in this venue. The building itself is historic, and part of old New Mexico. The light in autumn is beautiful. A portion of the proceeds from the show go to maintain the structure. The show consists of paintings, sculpture, photographs, textiles, and other arts. It is as varied as New Mexico itself. The show is juried by artists.

This year I am showing three pieces:

Corrales fine arts show

Fruit of Ancient Myths

Corrales fine arts show

Awakening

Corrales fine arts show

Emerged

The show is free, as is parking. All items are available for purchase.

If you live in the Albuquerque area, or are coming to visit for the Balloon Fiesta, plan to visit the 29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show.

09/1/17
monsoon rains

Monsoon Rain and Roses

Monsoon Rain and Roses

Monsoon rain and roses have been outstanding this year!

Monsoon Rain

In July, I showed the first real rain at my house of the 2017 monsoon season. It was unusual, dropping 2.5 inches of rain in 40 minutes. Overall, I’ve gotten almost 7 inches of rain this monsoon season. The transformational power of rain in the desert is remarkable.

July 17, 2017:

monsoon rain

Monsoon Rain and Pond

August 21, 2017:

monsoon rain

Back Yard, A Month Later

Roses

The roses have responded in like manner.

The hybrid tea ‘Gemini’ has put out many sprays, which will appear at a later time. The one-to-a-stem blooms have had the perfect form for which this particular rose is known. This image is from the other night, after a brief monsoon shower. The new ARS guidelines that will be coming out later this month strongly suggest avoiding images with water droplets on the petals. I agree with avoiding such images if the light is wrong and the droplets light up as blank, a real distraction. But raindrops on roses after a gentle life-giving rain in the desert? I will photograph and show such images, happily. ‘Gemini’ is one of my favorite hybrid tea roses to grow in Albuquerque. “Raindrops on roses…” The stucco of my house, against which most of my hybrid teas grow, is the background.

monsoon rain and roses

Raindrops on Roses – ‘Gemini’

Another of my favorite hybrid tea roses in the desert is ‘Veterans’ Honor.’ It has also responded to the monsoon rains. While I frequently get sprays on ‘Gemini,’ most ‘Veterans’ Honor’ blooms for me are one-to-a-stem. However, it produced a spray this year. This is not any kind of classic spray form by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, I kind of like the almost ‘golden spiral’ effect of this spray, the always-gorgeous color, and healthy foliage seen here.

monsoon rain and roses

Spray of Hybrid Tea Rose, ‘Veterans’ Honor’

Although Albuquerque will see some additional rain this year, the monsoon season is rapidly drawing to a close. From my perspective, as well as that of my yard and flowers, this has been a great – and much needed – monsoon year!

06/25/17
Gladiolus

Gladiolus and Sunday Thoughts

Gladiolus and Some Sunday Thoughts

Gladiolus flowers come in a very wide variety of colors and hardiness, much like many other flowers. This one is especially colorful, hardy, and reliable.

Gladiolus

Back Yard Gladiolus

Several years ago, during a total fireworks ban (I wouldn’t mind that again!), this gladiolus first bloomed on July 4. It has done so since. I’ve come to think of it as “the fireworks flower.” This year it has bloomed early, as have most of my flowers. (For rosarians, the exception was ‘Mermaid,’ that bloomed right on time!) I photograph it every year. I was happy that I managed to give this one a bit more of a three dimensional appearance than I have in the past.

For as beautiful as this gladiolus is, it is tough. It recurs without special care. It was here when I bought the house many years ago, but only when I retired did I come to really appreciate it.

I’m not sure why, but it reminded me of a Mark Twain quote:

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

I have certainly found that to be true in my life. Fortunately, I have encountered more of the latter than the former, and I hope you have, too.

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An Aside
For my rose friends who read here but not at Southwest Desert Gardening, I include a link to a PowerPoint presentation on examples of “open bloom, stamens showing” under the 2016 ARS Photography Guidelines. For the blog, I converted it to a pdf file, but it is available as a PowerPoint. I will be doing a series of these to promote interest in photography of roses for the 2018 ARS National Convention and Rose Show in San Diego. The link may be shared.

Photographing Open Bloom Roses

03/27/17
2017 ANMPAS

Fruit of Ancient Myths

Fruit of Ancient Myths – Pomegranate

“Fruit of Ancient Myths” as a photographic image can be seen in two major venues this spring: 2017 ANMPAS and the March/April ssue of Shadow and Light Magazine.

fruit of ancient yths

Fruit of Ancient Myths

Regular readers here know that in the fall of 2015 I photographed many pomegranates for possible use in composites in the Persephone series. In the fall of 2016 I revisited and reworked some of those images. I looked simply at the beauty of the pomegranates themselves, not as perfect specimens, but as living things with beauty and grace as they approached the end of life. The seeds they contain, the hope of rebirth and new life, are clear and distinct. This image is one in a series.

2017 ANMPAS

2017 ANMPAS, the Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show, opens April 2 and runs for three weeks. It will once again be held in the Fine Arts building at EXPO New Mexico. All images are framed and mounted, and are for sale.

2017 ANMPAS

2017 ANMPAS

2017 ANMPAS

2017 ANMPAS. Image by Sandra Corless

The show itself is free, although at times, especially on weekends, EXPO NM may charge a parking fee.

Shadow and Light Magazine

This image, “Fruit of Ancient Myths,” also appears on the cover and also within the March/April 2017 issue of Shadow and Light Magazine. Thanks to the jurists of this year’s Color It Red competition, I was selected as the Grand Prize winner. In addition to images related to the pomegranate/Persephone/myth work, the editor, much to my surprise, requested some of my rose photographs to include.

fruit of ancient myths

Editor Tim Anderson of Shadow and Light Magazine was kind enough to allow me to share a pdf of my portfolio (click to see all of my images included) in the March/April issue of the magazine. The entire issue can be purchased for $3.50, and I recommend it for interesting articles as well as great photography.

09/14/16

Persephone at Berlin Foto Biennale 2016

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Persephone's Choice

Persephone at Berlin Foto Biennale 2016 and 4th Biennial of Fine Art & Documentary Photography

Persephone at Berlin Foto Biennale 2016 is something those of you who also read on Face Book know about, but many of you who are loyal readers here may not know about. The show runs in Berlin, Germany from October 6 -30, 2016, at the Palazzo Italia

“My Fate, By Choice,” from the series, “Persephone’s Choice: Every Woman’s Dilemma” is my image for this large photography show. “Emotions and Commotions” is the show theme.

Persephone at Berlin Foto Biennale

My Fate, By Choice

I was surprised when I received an invitation right after Christmas to participate. I did not remember entering any competitions that would qualify for this exhibition. But, I checked my records and followed the links. I had indeed entered some things in January 2015, right after I got back from Texas to be with my son. Brain fog consumed me at that point. I am surprised I entered things at all.

Almost as surprising to me was the variety of the three images invited to be exhibited.

The Three Invited Images

Many of you here are familiar with “The Road Less Traveled.” This is in the Rio Grande Valley a little south of Albuquerque. It was a serendipitous view discovered when I missed the turn, and after driving for a bit, turned around to see if I could find the correct turn. This view appeared when I turned around. The trip was one of the “photographic excursions” on the birthday Tim Price and I share. The photograph has special meaning.

New Mexico

The Road Less Traveled

This floral is certainly typical of my florals. As such, I was very pleased to be invited to show it in Berlin.

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

The third invited image surprised me a lot! Photographers know their work, even when people take the images, cut off the watermarks, and try to cram them into nodes with different aspect ratios. We see it, we frame it, we snap it, we process it. When I saw the third invited image, I thought “oh, that must be mislabeled and belong to someone else.” It certainly is not typical for me. After looking at it for a bit, I realized I made the photograph as part of a workshop taught by LeRoy Perea and Dennis Chamberlain. I hope they are pleased that an image from that workshop was selected to be shown in Berlin.

marilyn  monroe

New Mexico Marilyn

This is a tee shirt display at a flea market. Most of the images are of Marilyn Monroe, with a distinct New Mexico twist. There is Day of the Dead Marilyn, a variety of Our Lady of Guadalupe Marilyns, and a couple of her famous poses not given New Mexico flavor. I think the choice of this image speaks to the universal appeal of Marilyn Monroe.

Choosing Persephone

In 2012, I had displayed three images at the 2nd Biennial of Fine Art & Documentary Photography, held that year in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I thought about that show, and I thought about these three new images chosen for the 2016 show. At the time the invitation came, I was still working on processing and interpreting the Persephone images. I knew that work was different from anything I had done before. That was the work I wanted to show in Berlin, and this was the one image I wanted to show: Persephone at Berlin Foto Biennale 2016.

The curators were very helpful when I explained what I would like to do. I’m really delighted and honored to have the opportunity to show this image in Berlin in the 4th Biennial of Fine Art and Documentary Photography.

By the end of May all the details that had to be taken care of at my end for Persephone at Berlin Foto Biennale 2016 were done.

The Steve McCurry Controversy

Some of you may know Steve McCurry as the photographer of “Afghan Girl,” a National Geographic cover. He is an extremely well known photographer. Kodak gave him the last roll of Kodachrome produced, because the company thought he would make good use of it.

In the spring of 2016, he became embroiled in something of a scandal when it was discovered he had photoshopped not only one but several images. Photographic artists make extensive use of photo editing and photo enhancing, photojournalists do not. Sometimes a thin line separates the two.

I did not know until sometime in August that part of this show would be a Retrospective by Steve McCurry. Additionally, he will be giving the dinner speech and participating in some of the press conferences. I personally doubt he would be participating to this extent without the controversy, but it works for me. It should be a well attended show.

The Exhibition Catalog

Press Release

06/5/16

Rose Photography

Rose Photography – Judges Class Winner in the 2015 American Rose Society Digital Photography Competition

Rose photography – what led me to study and learn digital photography in 2008. I was an ARS Accredited Horticulture and Arrangement Judge when I wrote about adding photography to our rose shows for the ARS 2010 ARS Rose Annual.

My interests in photography have certainly led me, and will continue to lead me, to explore many more aspects of my world and life through photography.

I would like to thank the members of special committee who selected this image, “Rose ‘Gold Medal’ with Butterfly,” as the winner of the Judges Class of the 2015 American Rose Society Digital Photography Contest.

ARS 2015 Photo Contest Winner rose photography

Rose ‘Gold Medal’ and Hair Streak Butterfly
Winner, Judges Class, 2015 ARS Digital Photography Contest

This image has special meaning to me. The ‘Gold Medal’ was grown by my mother, and it is one of her favorite roses. It was photographed near sunset in her garden. The hair streak butterfly is a macro shot taken in the garden of my friends Tim and Laurie on a glorious afternoon in Corrales. I have so many pleasant memories of both gardens, and I wanted to unite them in one image. On a personal level, that is what was behind the creation of this image.

On a rose photography level, I wanted to create an image that used a lot of photo editing and photo enhancements but ended with an image of a beautiful rose and a feeling of a presence in a beautiful garden. One of my pet peeves is the use of Photoshop filters to create with one click of a mouse an image that smashes a rose beyond all recognition. The uninitiated seem to find those impressive, but they do not know that it is one click of a mouse. Did I ever make images like that? Yes, I did indeed. But I would like to see us encourage images that are a bit more creative and that show the beauty of the rose. Do I expect them to be as complex in creation as this image that appears so simple was? No, of course not. But I recently saw a gorgeous image of a rose on fallen leaves of autumn, creatively arranged, magnificent in color, that was passed over for a one-click abstract. I’d like to see our judges – and photographers – begin to rethink the approach to “rose art” to go beyond the one-click Photoshop filters.

Once again, I thank the people who selected this as the winner in the Judges Class, 2015. It is an honor.

I leave you with a brief slideshow of some of my rose images from the past.