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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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.

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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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05/16/16

Friends and Photography

Friends and Photography

Friends and photography are not the first combination that comes to mind for many serious photographers preparing for a day of creating photographs. Photographers like to spend their time looking at things, from all angles, up close, from a distance, etc., often things that many people find less than interesting to begin with. But, if you are really lucky, you might find friends you really enjoy being with for a day of exploring what’s out there in the world to enjoy and to photograph.

Many readers here know Tim and Laurie from their blogs, Photo of the Day, and TandLPhotos. Over the years, what began as an occasional friendship around one hobby interest (roses) became a multidimensional friendship in many aspects of life.

We’ve done a variety of “photo excursions” and “photographic expeditions,” days that start with a general plan and always evolve into just going with the flow, seizing what the day had to offer. Tim and I share the same birthday, and we’ve always tried to plan an outing for the weekend closest to that day. It just didn’t work out for many reasons in 2015, and yesterday was the first day in some time that Tim, Laurie, and I were out to capture the moment together. It was not at all planned as a “photo excursion.” But, as many times in the past, the day became a photo excursion.

Over the next few days and weeks I plan to post a variety of images from yesterday. But this post is to honor a day of friendship, of being with people who honor the joy of living each day fully.

The “excuse” at the start of the day was the 3rd Annual Corrales Rose Society Dr. Huey Tour. But, the day became so much more.

Laurie, the artist

Tim, the photographer

The Old San Ysidro Church and Cemetery

At Tim and Laurie’s

Spunk, one of Tim and Laurie’s seven cats. He looks so sweetly innocent, but don’t be fooled. 🙂 He is an extremely intelligent, curious cat, which has gotten him into a bit of trouble. He has destroyed enough things that he has a running tab and has to model to help pay down his debt. He is very accommodating as a portrait model. 🙂

friends photography

Spunk, One of Tim and Laurie’s Seven Cats. Don’t Be fooled by That Adorably Innocent Look

Yesterday was a wonderful day with friends and photography.

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01/24/16

Spring Will Come

Spring Will Come

Spring will eventually come. Although it may not seem like it this weekend, with the record-breaking blizzard on the East Coast, warm bright days with green trees and flowers are ahead. Here in New Mexico, the winter, so far, has not been bad, although who knows what will happen over the next couple of months. The increasing daylight hours can already be seen and felt.

Persephone Spring

Spring Will Come

In the fall of 2015, when I was introduced to the Persephone myth, I’m sure that I was initially attracted to its explanation of Winter, of which I am not fond and never have been, and its promise of Spring. After all, Persephone is the Greek Goddess of Spring. When she returns to Earth from the Underworld and her obligations as wife of Hades and Queen of the Underworld, she brings with her Spring and its glorious days.

This weekend I encountered an interesting article over at Digital Photography School that talks about photographing with meaning.

There comes a point, or a plateau, as in every photographer’s career (whether you are an intermediate or professional photographer) where you hit a wall. It’s a crisis of self that you are faced with when you have reached a certain point of technical proficiency. Well, basically you hit a plateau because you already know […]

Source: How To Photograph With Meaning

To be perfectly honest, I had not consciously thought about being in the winter of a “crisis of self” in terms of photography. At some level I knew that I was at a plateau and had been for some time, but I did not have time to worry about it because of so many family life crises I had to deal with in the past year and a half. I try to photograph something every day to keep up my skills, and almost every day I learn something new about photography. But, I did not sit down and plan to do something different; I did not think I had time to fit thinking about something like that into my life at the moment.

I’m not really certain exactly how a casual mention of the Persephone myth in an email from friend Jim Stallings set off the photography frenzy that followed, but it did. Within two weeks I had done a short series inspired by it, using my well known subjects of sunflowers and butterflies. Once that was done, however, I began to think of a series involving a model to tell a portion of the Persephone myth. Although I had worked with a model on someone else’s project in the past, and although at one time I did maternity portraiture, I had never hired a model I chose for a conceptual project. I wasn’t even sure how to go about it. But almost, as if by magic, the perfect model appeared. I shocked myself by walking up and asking her if she would be a photographer’s model and, almost as surprisingly, she agreed.

With Persephone, Greek Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld as both a starting point and inspiration, this conceptual photographic series also became an exploration of the meaning of being female with both body and mind. What began as a small personal project for this photographer also became a search for meaning of self, reflecting back on life as a woman, anthropologist, and obstetrician-gynecologist. I didn’t consciously set out “to photograph with meaning,” but it is a series that came to have a lot of meaning to me personally, whether it does to anyone else or not. In the first month of 2016, I surprised myself again by publishing a small Kindle Book. (That added another surprise. While poking around on Amazon, I found a copy of a book, Anthropologists at Home in North America, in which I had published one of my early anthropology papers [1981]. That was a bit of shock, and definitely a pleasant reminder.)

I feel like a new spring has arrived for me in my work as a photographer. Today, I cannot say where things will go from here. Kelly Angerosa, my model for Persephone, and I will work together in the spring. I’m looking forward to that next adventure!

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09/16/15

Autumn Sunflower

Autumn Sunflower

Autumn Sunflower. Autumn in New Mexico is a magical time of year. Corresponding to events rather than calendar dates, its beginning is generally marked by the arrival of the season’s green chile crop, with the pungent smell of roasting chiles everywhere. Major events following in quick succession are the New Mexico State Fair (EXPO NM), the Corrales Harvest Festival and Pet Parade, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (accompanied by the Corrales Fine Arts Show at the Old San Ysidro Church, one of my favorites!), the Marigold Parade marking the Day of the Dead, and the the All American Thanksgiving Day celebration. For me, mixed in with that, are personal celebrations and activities with family and close friends. Autumn is my favorite time of the year in New Mexico! And, also, the busiest!

Autumn is, of course, ultimately followed by winter. (Reminder to self: buy a new snow shovel before winter’s arrival with a predicted strong El Nino!) Even early in the current season are little signs the glorious days of autumn cannot last forever. But, even these signs carry their own kind of beauty.

autumn sunflower

Fading Sunflower in Autumn

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