Walking Durham

I spent the day exploring Durham, England. I caught the train from Newcastle, and walked into town, finding the central square and market. Strolling up the road, I took some photos of lovely storefronts and stopped into a few shops. (I should have titled this piece “Shopping Durham,” as my “shopping” blog posts are the most popular!)

I explored the beautiful Castle and Cathedral – more on those in the next few blog posts! One of the outdoor cafe tables at Cafe on the Green, between the Castle and the Cathedral called my name. My guidebook and journal kept me company during lunch. Then, I had the good instinct to cross the River Wear and walk along the far side, looking up at the town and the Cathedral in its summer greenery. Why? I realized that the Cathedral facade would be lit by the afternoon sun.

#durham, #durhamcathedral, #durham, #wear, #riverwear, #riverside, #walk, #summer, #trees, #northumbria, #northumberland, #england, #travel, #travelphotography
This opening in the maple tree provided a natural vignette of Durham Cathedral.

I was even able to position myself just right so the construction cloth over the tower that is under restoration was blocked by the leaves. It was a beautiful and peaceful afternoon, part of an unusually sunny summer of 2018.

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.

Lines of Growth, Lines of Shadow

Green is the color of Life and of Spring and Summer. This simple image made at the Naples Botanical Garden features patterns of  green tonality. The accordion texture of the fan palm creates repeated and predictable patterns, while the shadows of the sunlit overlapping fans are instantaneous and contrapuntal.

#fan, #fanpalm, #lline, #shadow, #green, #spring
Does this splash of green brighten your wintery day?

Early Hydrangea

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.

#yellow, #blue, #hydrangea, #summer, #phipps, #Pittsburgh #conservatory
This early blooming hydrangea reveals delicate shades of yellow and blue at Phipps Conservatory.

Does the lush hydrangea bloom evoke memories for you? A daughter’s wedding? Or perhaps a summer vacation in Cape Cod?

Super Friends

My Australian Shepherd Sophie has a great life. She winters in Naples, summers in Canada and in between lives the privileged life of a Sewickley dog. We also take her on family road trips to  Baltimore and New York City. All of this jet setting is only possible because Sophie is a quiet, playful, and adaptable dog.

Sophie is brushing up on her doggie manners this month while she hangs out with her canine mentor Freddie. She is bonding with our dear friends Louise and Doug again, swimming and chasing squirrels to her heart’s content and hoping for some quality time with Ian and his friends on the weekends.

#canada, #muskoka, #muskokalake, #aussie, #australianshepherd, #dock, #dogs, #summer
Sophie and Freddie are ready for happy hour on the dock. Canada is cool!

Charlie and I are off to Hawaii tomorrow for some paradise time, God and Hurricane Lester permitting, and I will stay a bit longer for a photography workshop on Maui. Stay tuned to this blog for some new photography from Hawaii and Maui in the coming weeks. And Sophie…be a good girl!

Sharing the Hydrangeas

Who enjoys the hydrangeas the most? Is it the deer? The bees?  Me?  The good news is that the bees and I can share the love and leave the plant for each other.

#white, #bee, #pollinate, #oakleafhydrangea, #hydrangea, #macro, #macrophotography
The bees and I both love the white Oak Leaf Hydrangea, and fortunately neither of us damage the plant.

The blue hydrangea is a favorite snack for the deer. The bad news: the deer have stripped my garden and only left one bush with beautiful blossoms for me to enjoy.

#blue, #hydrangea, #summer, #july, #blueandgreen, #blossoms, #flowers, #nature #macro, #macrophotography
My only hydrangea bush that was not eaten by the deer.

These two photographs are also good examples of different ways to process an image. In the white one, I was going for a clean and crisp look; for the blue one, I choose a creamy, more painterly look. I choose an approach based on the strong elements of the photo.

 

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