Leaf Art in the Tropics

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.

#bromeliad, #sonyalpha, #luminar, #phipps, #phippsconservatory, #pittsburgh, #leaves, #art, #color, #design #flower, #nature, #photography, #skylum
This Bromeliad bloom is eye-catching with its bright colored pointed petals, but these leaves are unique. Find this tropical beauty at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh PA. © Catherine Kelly

Learning Your Tropical Plants

My first thought of a name for this brilliant bloom was “fireworks,” but I wasn’t far off. This splash of color drew me close at the Naples Botanical Garden. It’s a Starburst bush / Clerodendrum quadriloculare. I was not finding it under searches for “fireworks flower” or “tropical plants,” but my friend Erika, a gifted gardener, led me to its proper name. The Starburst bush is native to New Guinea and the Philippines. No wonder it thrives in the tropical climate of Naples, Florida in the “Garden with Latitude.”

#starburst, #fireworks, #tropical, #light, #garden, #gardening, #naplesfl, #botanical, #botanicalgarden, #flower, #pinkandgreen, #pinkflower, #macrophotography, #naturephotography, #outdoorphotography, #nikon, #phillipines
The Starburst bush, clerodendrum quadriloculare, looks vibrant in the late afternoon light at Naples Botanical Garden, photographed in February 2020.

In doing my botanical research, I was tempted to order some seeds and plants, but I don’t currently have access to a garden or gardening tools. I’m hoping my desire to dig and plant will still burn when I return to my home in Pennsylvania.

Strength in Community

Sharing positive thoughts and staying in touch with each other during the Coronavirus pandemic will help all of us stay strong as we self-isolate to keep our community healthy. I’m grateful that this photography blog has created a positive online community, and I encourage you to make it stronger. You might follow the blog by entering your email address on the site, and recommending the blog to friends and family. This artist is not seeking financial gain (there is none). The rewards are purely spiritual.

One member of our community asked for more flower photographs and flower names, as she wrote, “I love to learn more about flowers.” (She is also an animal lover.) So, today I bring you the Hong Kong orchid, photographed at the Naples Botanical Garden this year. I first discovered the Hong Kong orchid — where else — in Hong Kong in 1998 while visiting friends there. Now I count myself very fortunate that the orchid trees thrive in tropical southwest Florida, and I have one of these trees on my street.

#orchid, #orchidtree, #hongkong, #hongkongorchic, #growontrees, #florida, #naplesbotanicalgarden, #naplesflorida, #gardens, #botanicalgarden, #pink, #bluesky, #nature, #naturephotography
The Hong Kong orchids grow on trees in tropical climates from Hong Kong itself to Florida, USA. 2020
#hongkongorchid, #hongkong, #flower, #nature, #tropical, #pink, #fuscia,#naturephotography, #flowerphotography, #florida, #naples, #community
Close up of the delicate petals and stamen of the Hong Kong Orchid in Naples, Florida. 2020

Do you have a request for the photography featured in the blog? Flora? Fauna? Tropical or Snowy? I still have an archive of Nature, Wildlife and Landscape photography from Jackson Hole and Southwest Florida, but I’m always excited to hear from you. Thank you for strengthening our community.

Looking for Color

Today I’m returning to snowy Pittsburgh where the sky may be overcast, and ice coats the sidewalks. As I board the plane in Florida, I remember my afternoon at the Naples Botanical Garden when my friend Marjorie walked around the lake on the lookout for alligators. I told Marjorie that I was admiring the textures of the grasses and pines. Marjorie replied, “I’m looking for color.” A few minutes later, I spotted this brilliant red orchid growing in the limbs of a tree. I liked the way the smooth white bark of the three tree limbs framed the plant.

This blooming orchid gave us a brilliant splash of primary colors, a wish come true.

Waiting for Spring

On a quick trip from Florida to Pennsylvania in March, I miss the colors of the tropics. It will be another month before Spring brings blossoms out of the dormant plants still hunkered down for the short days and cold nights.

But the magic of photography can treat us to tropical colors and brilliant blooms at any time of year. This pink and purple bromeliad blossom caught my eye at the San Diego Botanical Garden last fall. Today it whispers to me of the promise of Spring.

#bromeliad, #fern, #botanical, #photography, #flowerphotography, #pinkandgreen, #garden, #spring, #promise
Leading lines in the green fern and bromeliad leaves guide the eye to the delicate spiral of the pink bromeliad bloom.

Zebra Bromeliad

This colorful creature hangs from trees in the tropics alongside orchids and air plants.

#zebra, #bromeliad, #tropics, #naplesbotanicalgarden, #naples, #florida
Noticing the black and white stripes on the leaves, I didn’t have to google this bromeliad to know what it was called.

It drinks the rain water that collects in the pockets of its large rubbery leaves. As the bromeliad comes in many varieties, you can collect many different ones as houseplants.

Waterfall Wednesday

This waterfall from the Hawaiian Island of Maui is getting me excited about my trip to Iceland, which is just around the corner — next Wednesday. Waterfalls are plentiful in a volcanic landscape, so I expect Iceland to bear lots of resemblance to Maui, except colder.

I’m ready for rain, waterfalls everywhere, a black sand beach and a few extras like puffins, the midnight sun and some glaciers. I’m packing lots of lenses and guide books and layered hiking clothes, and I am hoping for lots of good photography to share with you.

#waterfall, #waterfallwednesday, #maui, #iceland, #tropical, #hot, #volcanic
The Travel Channel declared today Waterfall Wednesday, so I’m happy to share a waterfall I shot in Maui along the road to Hana in September 2016.

Anhinga grooming

You can tell an Anhinga from a Cormorant by remembering that the beak of an Anhinga forms the letter “A,” and  the Cormorant’s beak forms a little “C” at the tip. Both birds are large black tropical birds (35″ long), and can both be spotted in Florida.

Often called the snake-bird for its long neck, you can spot this bird swimming underwater. This Anhinga typically takes time to dry off after swimming. This fearless black bird takes a moment to preen its feathers.  Keep an eye out for one when you visit Florida.

#bird, #anhinga, #florida, #tropical, #wildlife, #beak, #black
Anhingas dry off after swimming underwater to catch prey.

Tropical Christmas

It’s such a busy time of year. While the rest of my family members are on the highway or in the shops today, I am grateful to have a few quiet moments to work on some special photos from 2016.

This tropical bloom from the Big Island of Hawai’i says Merry Christmas to me today with its brilliant magenta and green colors. Can you identify it? Could it be ginger?

#hawaii, #pinkandgreen, #christmas, #tropical, #painting, #topaz
Merry Christmas from tropical Hawai’i. Photo processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Topaz Simplify.

Victorian Crowned Pigeon

The National Aviary is an interesting family outing for folks in Pittsburgh, especially over the holidays when the weather can be frightful. When you visit, you will have a chance to meet William and Mary, two Victorian Crowned Pigeons, roaming around among the visitors in the Tropical Rain Forest.

#bird, #victoriancrownedpigeon, #aviary, #tropical, #nature, #topazlabs
Is this William or Mary keeping an eye on me?

This bird named for Queen Victoria is the largest pigeon in the world, and it comes from Northern New Guinea. I like its colors and fancy crown. I processed my image with Topaz Simplify.