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

10/29/15

2015 ANMPAS

2015 ANMPAS – Annual New Mexico Photographic Arts Show

2015 ANMPAS, the Annual New Mexico Photographic Arts Show, will once again be held in the Fine Arts Building at EXPO NM. It is open to the public December 6 through December 27, 10:00am – 5:00pm, except December 24 and 25. The show is free to the public throughout. Some days, particularly the weekends, EXPO may charge a parking fee. The opening reception is December 5, from 2:00-4:00pm.

This is a juried show, and artists participating must be residents of New Mexico. All artwork is for sale, and may be taken by the buyer at the time of sale.

I have enjoyed participating in ANMPAS and the related InSight shows over the years. These are the brainchild of organizer LeRoy Perea, who has watched the submitted entries grow in both quantity and quality over the years.

I am thrilled that for 2015 ANMPAS, the jurors selected three images from my series, Persephone.

Those of you who have followed me very long know that sunflowers are frequent photographic subjects for me, as are butterflies. I grew these sunflowers, and they are from the second crop of 2015. I really liked the structure of the sunflower plant in the “Heart of the Matter.” My son appreciates structure, especially in black and white images, and I converted the image immediately.

2015 ANMPAS

Sunflower in Black and White

My son liked it as much as I had hoped.

I showed that image to a friend, Jim Stallings, with whom I have corresponded over the past couple of years and whose input has influenced some other photographic work, such as “The Observer/The Observed,” which I decided to show after Jim wrote a short poem. He wrote in the context of activities of autumn, after seeing the sunflower image:

…it is that ancient mythic time for the daughter Persephone of the Earth Goddess Demeter to return to the Underworld and stay there until the return for Spring. So all that feeds into the unconscious…the separation of between life on the surface of the world of fall and winter and waning and yet returning light and another go at renewal and new life. It must be motivating in your photographic subjects as well.

It is true that my fall images, even of bright flowers, tend to be dark.

I had not read mythology in a long time. As I read some of the stories of Persephone, I was struck by the fact that she did not seem to be constantly miserable in her months in the dark Underworld with her husband, Hades, who had first abducted Persephone with the permission of her father, Zeus. Mythology is full of plots and subplots, but I decided to create this particular series using some of my favorite subjects – flowers and butterflies – around the theme of hope in a dark spot.

Butterflies have multiple meanings to me. They are a symbol for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – “lupus” – an autoimmune chronic disease with multiple manifestations, with treatments but no known cure. One of the manifestations for some people is the so-called “butterfly rash,” and thus, the butterfly as a symbol.

The particular butterflies I chose to use in this series have special meaning to me. The butterfly in “Heart of the Matter” is a tiny hair streak butterfly photographed at the Corrales home of friends Tim and Laurie Price: special friends, special place, special day. People who have brought hope to some of my dark places… The butterfly in “Awakening” is a glass wing butterfly photographed at the Albuquerque BioPark. The butterfly in “Emerged” is a red lacewing photographed at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

I was asked to write a brief description of “Heart of the Matter:”

Persephone, goddess of Spring, was abducted by Hades to become his wife in the Underworld. Her mother, Demeter, goddess of the Earth and of the Harvest, in her anger and grief, caused the earth to go barren in her daughter’s absence, our dark winter months, and to bloom again upon her return in spring. This series is about the annual descent into the underworld of the darkness of Winter and rebirth into the light of Spring. “Heart of the Matter” represents the potential for rebirth – from any dark situation – in the developing bud (the heart) of the sunflower, and in the butterfly (with its heart shape), showing the strength, delicacy, and light of hope.

2015 ANMPAS

Heart of the Matter, from the series, Persephone

2015 ANMPAS

Awakening, from the series, Persephone

2015 ANMPAS

Emerged, from the series, Persephone

I have been asked whether there will be more in this series. Persephone’s story is one full of plots and subplots, all very stimulating for this photographer. These particular three, tell one of the stories I wanted to tell. There are many more I look forward to telling visually, but I do not anticipate black and white sunflowers with colorful butterflies as the vehicles of the next set or sets.

The Persephone series that will be shown at 2015 ANMPAS means much to me on a very personal level, and I thank LeRoy Perea and the 2015 jurors for selecting these three images for the 2015 show. I hope those of you in the Albuquerque area will come out for the show in December.

11/28/14
floral photography lily

Floral Photography

Floral Photography: Some Awarded Non-Rose Images

Floral photography has become one of my major photographic interests in the years I have been doing digital photography. Over the next several weeks, I will be introducing images from a new floral series. Before introducing the new floral series, and before the opening of the 2014 Annual New Mexico Photographic Arts Show (ANMPAS) next weekend, I would like to show (once again for some of you, but new to some readers here) some awarded floral images from the past.

This month (November 2014) you have seen a range of my rose photographs from this year. The rose photographs tend to be done differently from the way I do other floral images. For our rose shows, the images need to combine the important aspects used to judge a rose presented in some artistic way. Sometimes combining two such different approaches is about as easy as mixing oil and water. It is what it is. I enjoy the challenge and the opportunity to show roses in their best light as viewed by ARS Accredited Judges.

In this post, you will see floral images done somewhat differently from most of the rose images.

“Lily” is my most awarded floral image to date. It was awarded 1st place – Outstanding Achievement in Still Life in the 8th Annual Spider Black and White Awards.

floral photography lily

Lily, multiply awarded floral photograph

It appeared in the Winners Issue of the Black and White Spider Awards Journal, Volume 3.

This image was also awarded Bronze (Third Place) in the 2012 Prix de la Photographie, Paris (Px3), Paris Photo Competition.

Additionally, the image received Third Place in the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Prix de la Photographie, Paris (Px3).

The image “Lily” was also shown at the 2012 Corrales Fine Arts Show, a juried exhibition.

Of note, this floral photography image was created with a point-and-shoot digital camera, albeit with some good manual controls and RAW capabilities, the Canon G9, in 2009. My mother grew the lily. I was trying to photograph it one evening in rapidly fading light, and the background was quite cluttered. My mom ran into the house and got a background she used in her floral arrangements, and held it so I could create an uncluttered image. One of my few images with an assistant. 🙂 The point of this paragraph is that it is not the camera, but what you do with it.

Back to Blue is a series of floral images I created late summer and early fall of 2013, and called “The Blues.” Done in shades of blue, the reference was as much to emotion and mood as to color.

Two images from that series of floral photography have been recognized.

back to blue

Starting Over – Bud of Sacred Datura

“The Blues: Starting Over” was selected by Juror Stephen Perloff as Third Place Winner in the New York Center for Photographic Art “Primary Colors” competition.

This image was exhibited in New York City from May 6 – 17, 2014. I was pleased to have this image shown in New York City. Many thanks to the New York Center for Photographic Art and to Stephen Perloff!

Another image from the series, “The Blues,” Ephemeral, was chosen as a Nominee in the 7th Annual Photography Masters Cup:

back to blue

Ephemeral – Fully open datura flower

This is a fully open datura flower. These open at sunset, and began to fade at the first light of morning. The plants themselves are quite hardy, but the flowers truly are fleeting – and very beautiful.

These were my two favorite images from the series, and having them recognized in two very different venues brings me a great deal of pleasure. I am happy for the opportunity to share them again, although my current work seems to be dominated by bright colors and bold designs.

In the 2013 Px3 competition, my series “Flowers of Early Spring” was awarded Second Place in the People’s Choice Awards in Nature-Seasons.

floral photography

Flowers of Early Spring – Iris

Floral photography

Flowers of Early Spring – Redbud

floral photography

Flowers of Early Spring

floral photography

Flowers of Early Spring – Apple Blossoms

Floral Photography

Flowers of Early Spring – Pansy

Floral photography – always a challenge, and often quite rewarding.