Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day is coming up on May 12, and it’s time for all of us to think of a special kindness for a mother, grandmother or special lady in our lives. My aunt who never married was a special person in my life, so she deserved and well appreciated some TLC on Mother’s Day.

Fresh flowers are a wonderful gift especially in Spring, when perennial plants are just starting to bloom again, awakening our own senses and inspiring us to linger outdoors. So are the gifts that preserve the delicate beauty of nature, such as photographs.

I won’t be braving the unpredictable Spring weather at Sewickley’s May Mart this year, but I am happy to fill requests for notecards, tiles and prints of my varied portfolio of tulips, butterflies and other nature photographs. Just drop me an email to share with me your ideas. Let’s make something beautiful and share the love!

Orange tulips in the foreground are emphasized in this image with a shallow depth of field. Can you reach out and touch them? Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh, PA, 2019.

A Meadow Full

A meadow full of lupines stretch far into the dark edge of the woods. Here are a few compositional tips.  When you frame a photograph, it is a good idea to consider the foreground, middle ground and background, letting the foreground elements lead your eye through the frame.

Shallow depth of field makes the three well lit lupines in the foreground stand out. The countless lupines in the middle ground tells the story that the meadow stretches out a long way, and the dark background at the upper left allows the eye to exit.

Did you notice the star shaped leaves in the lower center? This helps to balance the composition. Did you notice the lack of distracting elements — Nothing that distracts or detracts from the main subject?

#lupine, #lupines, #june, #summer, #pennsylvania, #flowers, #flowerphotography, #nature, #naturephotography, #depthoffiled, #sony
Where does your eye go first in this composition?

As you consider these factors of light, fore/middle/background, S curves, shapes, lack of distractions and depth of field, you are well on your way to learning how to create a dynamic (rather than a static) image.

Lupines in Evening Light

It’s amazing how a warm ray of evening light can make a garden look special. That ray of light is even sweeter after a day of heavy rain.

#lupines, #light, #garden, #june, #may, #purple, #pennsylvania, #sewickley, #flowers, #nature
Purple Lupines have withstood the heavy rain and stand out amid the lush greenery in the evening light.

Lupines are one of my favorite flowers. They bloom in Western Pennsylvania in late May and early June. I enjoyed photographing them in New Zealand in December. The seasons are reversed Down Under!

Luminous Cactus Flowers

As we take a close look at this blooming cactus, we first notice the spikes and the complimentary colors of the red flowers emerging from the green cactus body. The sunlight and shallow depth of field give us excellent clarity.

#cactus, #flowers, #redandgreen, #spikes, #sunlit, #cobweb, #web, #spider
A close look at the sunlit blooms on the cactus. Those spikes look sharp!

But then we notice the delicate spider web illuminated by the sun. Where is the spider, who lives in symbiosis with the cactus, not at all discouraged by the sharp spikes?

Summer Palette

Even during this hot and dry summer, the well tended garden offers us the delicate colors of a summer palette. This potted purple lavender and pink climbing mandevilla delight our eyes, while the rainbow of color in the sunlit background shines even brighter.

#garden, #lavender, #summer, #august, #pink, #bokeh
Summer in Erika’s garden

Selective focus draws our eyes to the delicate flowers in sharp focus the foreground. The blurred background plays its supporting role, as the distant flowers appear as booked, or fuzzy spots of color. If you would like to achieve this effect in your photography, use a small aperture, such as f/16. (The exact setting you choose will vary with the lens choice, distance from your subject and the depth of focus the scene requires.)

Let’s keep our gardens watered and fresh this month, for we will miss this summer palette come winter.

#flowers, #garden, #summer, #white
Another climbing mandevilla blooms at Erika’s back door