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

Rose of Sharon by Sony

This morning’s heavy rain gave way to sunshine, and my Rose of Sharon bushes — both purple and pink — were dotted with raindrops. It was a good time to test out my friend’s Sony A7r. I purchased the Metabones Nikon adapter, so I could attach my Nikon lenses. For macro images of flowers, I love to use my 105mm Sigma lens. Because I was shooting hand-held and focusing manually, I raised the ISO to 1,000.

#roseofsharon, #bee, #bumblebee, #pollinate, #purple
This bumble bee coated with pollen was having a big day.
#rain, #petals, #roseofsharon, #July #pink, #buds
The petals reminded me of tissue paper. More buds wait off stage for their day.

Summer Swim

In honor of the first day of summer — a season that seemed to begin at least a month ago — I went for a swim. Not in the ocean, just at our club’s swimming pool. The folks in Hawaii no doubt took a dip in the Pacific Ocean, like these body surfers I spotted on Kauai two years ago.

#swim, #firstdayofsummer, #Kauai, #bodysurf, #lava, #ocean, #surf, #beach, #Hawaii
Body surfers throwing caution to the wind at Secret Beach on Kauai.

Check out my  new website for more images from Kauai, where ordering prints is a snap. www.cathykellyphotography.com.

Take me out to the ballgame

The experts say PNC Park is one of most beautiful major league baseball park in America. My experience is limited to about 7 ballparks, but I think the experts must be right this time. A sunny summer evening watching the Pittsburgh Pirates at home is one of life’s finer pleasures.

#nikond800, #PNCpark, #baseball, #majorleague. #bestballpark, #American, #skyline, #Pirates
Panorama of PNC Park with evening view of the Pittsburgh skyline

Baseball is one of those great American traditions that hasn’t changed much over the generations.* But the parks keep getting nicer. The Pirates started at Forbes Field (which was torn down), shared Three Rivers Stadium with the Steelers from 1970 to 2000, and finally have a proper ball park with a fabulous view of a beautiful skyline. Having lived in Pittsburgh for the past 28 years, I might be biased. What do you think?

 

*This would be a great prompt for a heated discussion!