07/4/17
rose

Happy Independence Day

Independence Day 2017

Independence Day 2017: A rose and wish for my friends in the USA:

Independence Day 2017

Happy Independence Day to My Friends in the USA!

And, for friends who might want to know, this is the miniature rose ‘Tammy Clemons.’ David Clemons hybridized this beauty.

Finally, wishing everyone have a safe and joyful Fourth, no matter where you are or how you are spending your day!

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07/3/17
rose sprays

Rose Sprays

Rose Sprays

Rose sprays – the appearance of two or more blooms on a single stem – have been exceptionally abundant in my yard this year. After doing one draft of a PowerPoint presentation about photographing them, I decided I really needed to create two or three separate but related presentations. These would be for rosarians planning to enter their photographs in rose shows. But many of my photographs of roses do not meet the new ARS Guidelines (even though I helped write them, at least at the beginning), but would be quite acceptable in other venues. Sometimes I enjoy putting quotations with my images. That is what I felt like doing today. 🙂

This is a spray of the shrub rose, ‘Distant Drums.’ Those of you who know this rose know that these blooms are long past their prime, and lack many of the defining characteristics of the variety. But, the light was so glorious, illuminating them at early dawn.

And, I thought of this quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera:

“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom. Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.”

rose sprays

Faded ‘Distant Drums’ Rose Spray

Several years ago I developed a habit of photographing a rose from “the back” as well as from “the front.” Those of you who aren’t into roses know that is really a meaningless distinction. In roses, “the front” most usually refers to what you would see in a rose catalog. That is because the American Rose Society was founded by rose hybridizers to encourage the sale of roses. Photographers, in contrast, look for interesting angles.

This image is of two different views of a spray of the hybrid tea rose, ‘Gemini’ with three florets. Visually, I prefer the one that would not be seen in a rose catalog.

rose sprays

Two Views of the Same Spray of the Rose ‘Gemini’

rose sprays

‘Gemini’ Spray with Coreopsis

I have enjoyed photographing the abundant rose sprays this year! 🙂 You can expect to see more over time. 😉

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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

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06/21/17
summer solstice

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice, National Selfie Day, and a Day to Celebrate

Summer Solstice – the most amount of daylight in one day for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and the official beginning of “Summer.” I never heard of National Selfie Day before, but the Twitterverse says it is so. For me, I do not have to see an eye doctor or a skin doctor again until November. I really have nothing to complain about, because my issues were minor and fixable, but the process seemed to drag on from last October until today.

In that time, I have learned a lot about sun protection for everything, including eyes and ears. I now have UPF hats, shirts, neck coverings, etc., etc., as well as UV A&B protective glasses with dark gray lenses and my favorite, amber lenses. I want to do a few more photographs, and then I’ll post those in a post at Southwest Desert Gardening. All gardeners everywhere need sun protection, some just more than others. 🙂

But today, for Solstice (and National Selfie Day 😉 ), I wanted to say “Hello,” dressed appropriately for summer: hat for ear and face protection; UPF 30+ shirt, and very dark glasses as UV protective as possible. I should have been dressed more or less like this all the time I have lived here.

summer solstic

Summer Solstice – Susan in Sun Protective Hat, Shirt, Glasses

What looks like a BandAid is a silicone pad designed to to help flatten the scar from where skin was taken for graft to cover part of my ear where a little skin lesion was removed. It is all healing up very well.

‘Mermaid’ is just about finished with its first bloom, but I thought this bloom this morning was really pretty. I hope you enjoy it, too.

summer solstice

A Beautiful ‘Mermaid’ Bloom on Summer Solstice

Happy Solstice, and may the summer not be as hot throughout as it is today.

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04/20/17
orchid

Orchids, Unique Personalities

Orchids, Unique Personalities

Orchids, like all flowers, have their own unique personalities. They are beautiful when viewed as a whole. A really close look may show something completely different, or in addition to. I had fun looking at these.

orchids

Sweet, Grandmotherly Orchid Angel

I had fun playing with this one. I created it for a special long-distance friend, but some others of you might also enjoy it, today especially. 🙂

orchids

Orchid Angel Dude

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04/14/17
spring garden

Spring Garden

Spring Garden

Spring garden – on a beautiful Albuquerque day like today being out in the garden is always pleasant. Today was an especially pleasant and interesting spring day. Friend and fellow photographer Tim Price, whom many of you know from his blog, TandL Photos, took me to an early morning appointment with the eye doctor. We then came back to the house and sat out on the patio, just enjoying the day, catching up on life, and looking for beautiful and interesting things to photograph.

This is the first part of a two part “tandem blog.” The second part is here, “Lizard Love.

spring garden

Sky Even More Beautiful than Usual

spring garden

Reliably Colorful Pansies

spring garden

More Reliably Colorful Pansies

spring garden

White Clematis Beginning to Bloom

Continue reading

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02/28/17
orchids

Clearing Clutter

Clearing Clutter, Orchids, and Other Thoughts

What to do when you finally finish clearing years of accumulated clutter from a room… ? Give the room some beautiful, living flowers, of course. 🙂

orchids

Orchids

Quote for the Day:

It was the end of some sort of career. I don’t know why, exactly. I suppose that flowers, when they’re through blooming, have some sort of awareness of some purpose having been served. Flowers didn’t ask to be flowers and I didn’t ask to be me. At the end of Slaughterhouse-Five…I had a shutting-off feeling…that I had done what I was supposed to do and everything was OK .”
~ Kurt Vonnegut, Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut

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02/21/17
signs of spring

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

Signs of spring are popping up and out everywhere. Here in the high desert, we could still experience winter, of course. But the days that speak of Spring are so glorious. I like the Ernest Hemingway quote:

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.”

This may be false spring, or, given climate change, may be the beginning of real spring. I’m going to enjoy these early signs.

The bright little crocus are one of the earliest, easily spotted, harbingers of Spring.

signs of spring

Crocus – One of the Signs of Spring

But, there are numerous, though subtle, signs that Spring is on the way.

Rose ‘Buffalo Gal,” a hybrid rugosa, beginning to leaf out.

signs of spring

Rose ‘Buffalo Gal’ Just Beginning to Leaf Out

This developing birch catkin says, “Spring is on the way.”

signs of spring

Developing Birch Catkin

Rosemary is known for the flavor it adds to food more than delicate blue flowers, but the flowers are pretty.

signs of spring

Tiny Bloom on Rosemary. Better Known for Flavorful Addition to Foods.

A dwarf peach, “Bonanza,” is one of my favorite specimen plants. I was surprised to see this little bud beginning to show just a touch a color. It really is too early, but it does speak to the hope of Spring.

signs of spring

Peach Bud Just Barely Showing Color

I hope you are enjoying beautiful weather wherever you are.

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07/31/16
monsoon light

Monsoon Light

Monsoon Light

Monsoon light makes for some remarkable skies here in the high desert. The rain is always welcome. That is especially true this year, which has been very dry to this point. Monsoon season seems to have finally arrived, with heavy rain in some parts of Albuquerque two nights ago and an inch of rain at my house last night. Photographer friends here in Albuquerque remember the monsoon skies of 2009. 2016 may be remembered for its rainbows. Albuquerque has a reputation of sorts for its rainbows, especially the double ones. This has been a great year for rainbows!

Two nights ago I photographed a striking, although single, rainbow. I knew it would develop because of the special monsoon light that appeared as the clouds cleared from the west, with heavy clouds to the east. Anyone who has been here for any length of time and has watched the skies at all knows what this looks like.

monsoon light

Goldfinch Lit Against a Dark Monsoon Sky

7:17pm, MDT. Sun breaking through storm clouds to the west lit this little goldfinch and the branches of a neighbor’s tree dead from the prolonged drought. Heavy, dark clouds covered the mountains to the east. This is the set-up for a rainbow here in Albuquerque. The little spots are not dust on the sensor, but light reflecting off very light drizzle falling at the time.

7:19pm, MDT. A very faint rainbow appeared.

By 7:25pm MDT a magnificent, full arc rainbow had completely developed, persisting for some time.

monsoon light

Rainbow and Sunflowers

I chose this particular evening to focus on the interplay of the monsoon light with things I enjoy in my yard. The large sunflowers are almost ripe with seeds for the birds. This image seems to speak to people with a variety of different beliefs about the cycle of life, with the fading sunflowers that will soon provide nourishment for the birds, and the rainbow, a symbol of hope for people of many different beliefs.

Monsoon light – just one more reason I love living in the high desert of New Mexico.

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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.

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