It’s rare for a plant’s leaves to compete with the flowers for eye-catching beauty, but this tropical bromeliad features some very cool leaves. They look like someone hand-painted them.
Would you pair a striped blouse with polka dot pants? It’s not really my style. Can you think of a plant or animal that pairs stripes and polka dots together? That’s right: mix a zebra with a leopard!
This orchid has a unique fashion sense, and she reminds me of a spider. What do you think of her bold design?
Staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic knocked me off my constructive and creative track with wildlife and nature photography. I found myself absorbed with cooking, cleaning, gardening and pondering the uncertainties of when restrictions will be lifted. Seriously, how long can this go on? All of us have had the rhythms of our daily lives disrupted, yes?
I knew that if I could get myself to pick up a camera and begin exploring nature in my own backyard, so to speak, that I would begin to feel like myself again. I ventured out to the newly reopened Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh (masked and careful), and indeed the magic reappeared. My vision and my technical skills are intact! Here is the first image I captured.
Van Gogh’s Self Portrait was recreated in flowers at Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory. The strong shapes and colors in his portrait allowed the Pittsburgh artists to make a remarkable piece.
The current flower show features rooms inspired by other Van Gogh paintings such as Starry Night, the bar with the pool table, and a Provencal house.
My previous blog featured a landscape photo with clearly defined shapes that are different colors. Do these two compositions inspire your work?
The French may have designed the first formal gardens in the 17 century, but many garden designers around the world emulate the style today. Visit the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh for the Spring Flower Show to enjoy the symmetry of the flower beds, bursting with colorful tulips.
Who started this trend? Andre Le Notre designed the formal gardens at the Palace of Versailles from 1662 to 1700. I’m sure you have visited many beautiful formal gardens in your home town or in your world travels. I would love to hear about your favorites.
“Ghost Tulip” is my own affectionate name for this unique tulip that reminds me of the Ghost Orchid, the elusive tropical orchid that blooms in Florida in mid-summer. Seasonal Florida residents can’t catch a glimpse of the ghost orchid, since they have months ago fled to northern climes.
My good friend Sharon was patient with me as I composed, focused and captured 64 photographs at the Phipps Conservatory Spring Flower Show. I shared with her my thoughts on photographing flowers.
“I’m mainly concerned with finding good compositions here. The background must be simple yet show some depth. If I choose a single flower to dominate the composition, it’s helpful to have a second flower play best supporting actor, to echo the main actor, but play a secondary role, as in this composition,” I added.
Later, “I mentioned that a star pattern is always a good thing, as is an S curve or a diagonal.”
“Why?” she asked. “Ha, ha, good question,” was my reply.
My own hydrangeas around my house won’t bloom until the end of June, but a visit to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh allowed me to dream of a summer day.
Does the lush hydrangea bloom evoke memories for you? A daughter’s wedding? Or perhaps a summer vacation in Cape Cod?
These yellow bells caught my eye at Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory. Look at the twisted tufts of green leaves at the base of the stem, sprouting like a fountain. At the top of the long stems, the yellow bell shaped flowers almost look like shower heads, topped with another tuft of green leaves. Who designed this flower? Can you name it?
If your city offers an indoor botanic garden in a conservatory, you have an escape from winter in your backyard. The Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh offers lush and exotic vegetation displayed with artistic vision at all times of the year. In a recent visit, I found a Japanese theme in a long gallery, where 24 mm lens created a compelling composition.
Through the years, I have also enjoyed photographing Chihuly glass and gargoyles harmonizing with the plants.
Make a visit to your conservatory today. My favorites are the New York Botanic Garden and the Naples Botanic Garden. Feel free to share your favorites.