Praise from the King of Texas

30 06 2011

In response to my recent posting, Six degrees of separation, my father (aka The King of Texas), offered this comment below:

A beautiful magazine, professional in every respect, and I am very pleased to have been part of its creation—a part perhaps no bigger than a mustard seed as your grandmother Hester might say, but still a part of the whole.

Moonlighting as your father? Moonlighting?

Being your father has always been and will always be a full time job. All those years since you stubbornly insisted at birth in presenting the soles of your feet to the world first instead of your head, have been a full time job. I will admit, however, although presented last instead of first, your head was beautifully rounded, and certain features such as the temporarily flat noses that were presented by your siblings at birth were absent in your case. The flat noses were caused by the long slide, of course, and soon rebounded.

My moonlighting since then has consisted of incidental tasks such as making a living to keep food on the table and shoes on everybody’s feet, assisting my country in losing two wars—Korea and Vietnam—working overtime to staunch the flow of illegal narcotics and illegal aliens into the US, detouring harmful plants, animals and vegetables away from our fields, cities and tables and documenting the outflow and inflow of US citizens.

Yep, I had a full time job just trying to keep up with you, an effort in which I failed miserably. Six degrees of separation? That leaves some 354 degrees of separation between your mastery of so many varied skills and my success in trying to emulate them, so much separation that I officially surrender.

I give up, but I am exhilarated by the fact that you could not have done any of them without me. I take full credit for your creation—okay, half the credit—okay, okay, let’s just say that I suggested to your mother that we should have a second child—I guess one could say that I planted the seed, so to speak. Of course, I only suggested that to her after she announced that she was again in the family way—folks didn’t use the word pregnancy back in those days—they said in the family way.

Nice work—kudos to you and Barbara for an outstanding publication.





Six degrees of separation

30 06 2011

The July/August 2011 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine (HLM), which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), is hot off the press! This month’s “cover guy” is my friend and fellow blogger from Oslo, Norway—Ulf Nagel, accompanied by his handsome son, Oskar.

I discovered Ulf’s insightful, well-researched and painfully honest blog, Becoming Deaf in Norway, on Abbie (Cranmer) Hlavacek’s blogroll a few years ago. After reading Abbie’s blog about her hearing loss journey, I knew we had to feature her in the magazine. Abbie wrote her feature for the May/June 2008 issue of HLM and I spotlighted her on this blog here.

A few years later, she and future husband Todd hired me to photograph their wedding in October 2010. Learn how I first met Abbie (and her friend and bridemaid, Jennifer Thorpe) here, read the first recap of Todd and Abbie’s wedding day here, view Abbie’s stunning bouquet crafted by her friend and “second mother” Phyliss Hendley here, and see more wedding photos here, here, and here.

The Internet and the world of blogging has introduced me to so many wonderful people from all walks of life and I’m always fascinated by the way stories and people weave in and out of those experiences. Discovering Abbie Cranmer via her blog resulted in her being featured in the magazine and me photographing her wedding just two years later. Abbie was an Advanced Bionics (cochlear implant manufacturer) mentor and was helping Todd’s brother, Gregg Hlavacek, through the process. Gregg introduced Abbie to Todd Hlavacek via e-mail during the mentoring process and the two fell in love online! Abbie and Todd are expecting their first baby, a boy, in late September.

I discovered Abbie’s friend and future bridesmaid, Jennifer Thorpe, on Abbie’s blogroll. I then met and photographed Jennifer and her lovely family at the HLAA Convention in Nashville in 2009. A year later, Jen wrote her feature article, I Am Simply Me, for the July/August 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. Click here to download the pdf of that article from HLAA’s website.

And the connections just get better—as a result of the photographs I shot of Abbie & Todd’s beautiful wedding, HLAA member Tina Fifer and her future husband, Tom Hamblin, hired me to photograph their wedding this October! Last month I posted their engagement photo on my blog here.

Tina just happens to work with HLAA member Mike Royer. I met Mike Royer at a stock photo shoot for HLAA three years ago, then photographed his adorable family in my studio here and here. Mike and Alicia asked me to photograph the birth of their youngest child, Ashley, in August 2008. In her spare time, Alicia is an artist and a blogger, too. I wrote about her pastel work here.

Mike later suggested that we profile the acclaimed and prolific painter, Charles Wildbank. Charles and I have connected through e-mail and Facebook and have become friends. He will be featured in a future issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. I wrote about Charles and his artwork on my blog here. Do check out his work—it is nothing short of stunning!

And finally, Jen’s blogroll listing led me to Ulf’s blog!

I wrote to Ulf and asked if he would be interested in sharing his story with Hearing Loss Magazine readers. With editing and compilation assistance from The King of Texas (who also moonlights as my father, Hershel M. Dyer) and beautiful photos by Anne K. Haga, Ulf’s story—From Silence to Sound: My Quest to Hear Again—is now in print.

Read the full article by clicking on the link here: Ulf Nagel Feature.

Join the Hearing Loss Association of America!
Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. Fees outside the U.S. are slightly higher. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, Costco membership, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.





National Geographic Live! events: Don George interviews Frances Mayes and Andrew McCarthy

30 06 2011

On April 12 Michael and I attended one of two travel writing lectures, part of the National Geographic Live! series. At the reception prior to the lecture, we feasted on Italian appetizers (an unexpected surprise, and welcomed since we hadn’t eaten dinner first!).

Frances Mayes was the guest author that evening. Mayes is the best-selling author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. Her recent book is Every Day in Tuscany, which chronicles her latest renovation project—a 13th-century house in the mountains above Cortona.

National Geographic Traveler editor Don George hosted the interview. George is a legendary travel writer who has worked as a travel editor at the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle and was the Global Travel Editor of Lonely Planet Publications. His books include The Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Writing, The Kindness of Strangers, Tales from Nowhere, By the Seat of My Pants, and his latest book, A Moveable Feast. He also writes the “Bookshelf” column in National Geographic Traveler magazine.

We thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Frances Mayes weaves a verbal tale as well as she writes one and Don George asked a wide range of questions about her life in Italy and her writing process. I learned that Mayes was born and raised in Georgia, where many of the relatives on my mother’s side live. During the book signing, I got a chance to chat with her about Swan, the town she lived in. I told her that as a child I spent a few weeks every summer in Georgia with my maternal grandmother and various aunts, uncles and favorite cousins. Mayes and her husband now divide their time between their homes in Cortona and North Carolina. We bought several of her books and she signed them for Michael while I got the record shot. Check out her website and journal here.

On May 12 we attended the second lecture in the series. Don George conducted the interview with actor/director (and now award-winning travel writer) Andrew McCarthy (what girl didn’t crush on him in his younger days…hello?). While I was able to get some shots during the Mayes lecture, the McCarthy lecture was being filmed and the audience was specifically told “no photos.” Bummer. I had my gear with me, of course, and was all set with my ISO at 2000 or something like that, but I didn’t want to risk getting thrown out. So, no photos of the older (but still as handsome) McCarthy.

McCarthy is a two-time Lowell Thomas Award winner and was named the 2010 Travel Journalist of the Year. He discussed his acting and directing career at length, but then the conversation (finally!) shifted to how he got involved in travel writing. At the end, the mic was opened for the audience to ask questions, and brave little me had the perfect question ready (after working up much-needed courage)—“Are you a published photographer, too? Do you take a camera with you on your travels?”

One of the National Geo employees saw me raise my hand and came down to kneel by me while McCarthy answered a question from the other side of the room. Before I could ask the question, another attendee stole the question right out from under me. Bummer. McCarthy’s (paraphrased) answer: “No, not really.” (This would have been a very short interaction with him!) Apparently National Geo either has someone travel separately or must use existing stock to illustrate some of the places he writes about. While he has had photographers travel with him, he said he much prefers traveling solo.

Learn more about his acting career (St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, Weekend at Bernie’s, and Mannequin, to name a few) and directing career (Gossip Girl and several theater productions) and read some of his writing on his site here.

Read his profoundly moving essay, “Going Back In,” which he wrote for the August/September 2009 issue of National Geographic Adventure. You’ll find that article by clicking here, then click on the Adventure magazine cover in the second row.





Humor in the garden

29 06 2011

Photographed on a rainy day at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens in Huntsville, Alabama

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





From the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens archives…

29 06 2011

Since I didn’t get the photographic bounty I usually do at Kenilworth, I thought I’d repost images I’ve created in past years. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

KenilworthCollage2





Spent blooms

28 06 2011

In past years the Lotus flowers have bloomed just in time for the annual Water Lily Festival and Festival of Lotus and Asian Culture at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on the third Saturday in July. This year the flowers, particularly the white variety, seem to have peaked much earlier than usual. Most are past their prime blooming stage, but there were lots of opportunities to photograph spent petals in those beautiful Lotus leaves! There are plenty of pink blooms that haven’t flowered yet, though, and there are several ponds that are chock full of beautiful magenta-colored water lilies. Click on the panoramic image below to enlarge for full effect!

The place was a flurry of activity this morning, with children on field trips and student volunteers doing everything from garden chores to turtle counting. They caught the turtles in nets, pulled them up, filed a notch in the shells of those that weren’t captured previously, then released them back into the ponds. Michael saw a foot-and-a-half-long snapping turtle pulled to the surface and then released. Before I knew they were doing the turtle counting procedure, I saw a four-inch-long Red-eared slider by the edge of one of the ponds and was able to get the “record shot” at right (definition of a record shot: certainly won’t win any awards, but they’re proof I was there!). We’re pretty sure the dent on his right side wasn’t the work of a turtle counter since Michael said they were making the file marks on the shells near the back of each turtle and the notches were very tiny.

As I was wrapping up my very brief photo session at the park (it was too sunny to shoot any winners; no clouds to help out, either!), I looked behind me on the path and saw something dark, shiny, at least four inches long, with lots of legs. My first thought was “very large spider!” I moved closer and saw it was a crayfish (crawfish or crawdad if you’re a southerner like me!), hanging out on dry land. I got this one (slightly blurry) record shot of him and he skidaddled (slowly and backwards) back into the nearby pond. It was officially my first crayfish/crawfish/crawdad sighting ever!





Lotus petals

28 06 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Buttonbush

28 06 2011

I photographed this Buttonbush cluster (Cephalanthus occidentalis), also known as Button willow and Honey balls, this morning at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. A native wetland tree, it can grow 10-15 feet tall and spread 15-30 feet. The mid-summer blooms are rich in nectar that attracts butterflies and other insects.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lily and Monarda

27 06 2011

Sounds like a law firm name, doesn’t it? Actually, if it were really a law firm’s name, it would go something like: “Good morning. Thank you for calling Lily, Lily, Monarda, Liatris, Shasta, Gallardia, Nepeta, Platycodon and Campion, LLP. This is Rose speaking. How may I direct your call?

Ah, this takes me back to temping in my younger days when I first moved to the D.C. area. One of my better paying assignments was an $8 per hour job answering the phone at the Copper and Brass Fabricators Council, Inc. I was supposed to answer the phone with, “Good morning, Copper and Brass Fabricators Council. How may I direct your call?” I figured the person on the other end was as annoyed with receiving that lengthy line as I was delivering it. After a few weeks, I got lax and just answered, “Copper and Brass.” What does all this have to do with flowers, you ask? Absolutely nothing.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: White Liatris

27 06 2011

White Liatris (Liatris spicata ‘Alba’) photographed against a backdrop of magenta-colored Bee Balm (Monarda)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bumblebee on Purple Coneflower

27 06 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Purple Coneflowers

27 06 2011

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) photographed against a backdrop of Globe Thistle (Echinops Ritro). And yes, it appears to be more pink than purple—the petals can actually range from pink to lavender on Purple Coneflowers. I had to share my photography time with quite a number of Bumblebees today (taking care to stay out of their industrious way while crafting my images).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Lilies

27 06 2011

These stamens look like tiny ballet slippers en pointe, don’t they?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Same time, last year: Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2011

Originally posted June 27, 2010

I was fervently hoping to get some shots of the dragonflies yesterday at Kenilworth, but they were very active and rarely settled long enough for me to photograph them. It was getting hotter and I was just about to give up. I set my tripod down to rest and something compelled me to look to my immediate left—a little more than a foot away from my head, at eye level, was a Blue Dasher clinging to a bare branch sticking out of the pond. I moved really, really slowly and was able to fire off about a dozen shots before he dashed away.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Serendipity!

26 06 2011

Unidentified bug on unidentified flower photographed in the woodland garden at Brookside Gardens. I shot four images and was about to put the camera away when this bug flew into the scene. Serendipity!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Hoverfly on Cleome flower

26 06 2011

While I was photographing this Cleome flower at Brookside Gardens, this little Hoverfly (also known as a Flower Fly or Syrphid Fly) flew back and forth to the end of the flower (hence the name, “hover”). I didn’t notice the even tinier little yellow bug (perhaps an aphid or a thrip—or maybe even Hoverfly larvae?) sharing the “tightrope.”

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about this very tiny insect here. In the UK, there is a group called the Hoverfly Recording Scheme (HRS), who keep tabs on more than 150 different species of Hoverflies in Britain.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





I haven’t a clue…

26 06 2011

I stumbled across this unusual plant in Brookside Gardens’ woodland garden area. The first identification that came to mind was “loosestrife.” I did a little research and can’t definitively identify it as a type of loosestrife. The plants have solid green leaves except where the flower is—every single plant had this extreme green and white variegation on the top two leaves below the bloom. I welcome any identification!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Against all odds

26 06 2011

A packet of beans from Target, purchased with good intention well over a month ago, made it from the shopping bag to the potting bench, then…nothing…forgotten, lost, misplaced, neglected in the flurry of planting flowers and vines and seedlings and bulbs. Hiding behind tools, plant labels, bottles of plant food and garden tschotskes, under a canopy of thriving Concord grapes, the little white beans began their metamorphosis despite the gardener’s inattention, aided by the sun and rain and genetics. They pushed through the envelope (literally!), sprouting in a tumble of green stems, white roots and brown husks, surrounded by fallen leaves and a sundry of bugs passing through. This morning the ashamed gardener discovered them while she was tidying the potting bench, a task obviously long overdue. Visual evidence that where there is a will, there is a way. Now nestled in various pots and plots, they have found their footing and live to tell the tale.

Gardener 0, Mother Nature 14

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Cleome

26 06 2011

Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana), photographed at Brookside Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





How’s this for some eye-poppin’ color?

26 06 2011

‘Kim’s Knee High’ Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) against a backdrop of False Cypress (possibly Gold Thread or maybe Lemon Thread?). It was just too much color to resist!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





White Wild Indigo

26 06 2011

White Wild Indigo (Baptisia alba), photographed at Brookside Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Honeybee on White Allium

26 06 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





‘Sweet Laura’ Peruvian Lily

26 06 2011

‘Sweet Laura’ Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria), photographed at Brookside Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Cool an’ green an’ shady

26 06 2011

Excerpted from Cool and Green and Shady, by John Denver

August skies, lullabies, promises to keep
Dandelions and twisting vines, clover at your feet
memories of aspen leaves trembling in the wind
honey bees and fantasies, where to start again
someplace cool an’ green an’ shady

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Daylily

26 06 2011

Daylily (Hemerocallis); I think this might be the ‘Black Eyed Stella’ cultivar; photographed at Brookside Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Love-in-a-puff

26 06 2011

Love-in-a-puff (Cardiospermum halicacabum), photographed in the Children’s Garden in Brookside Gardens

Also known as Tropical Balloon Vine and Heartseed, this fast growing vine will reach up to 10 feet in one season. It forms a three-sided balloon that stays inflated even when it turns from green to brown in the fall. Inside each pod are three seeds, each with a white heart appearing where the pod was attached to the vine. Native to the U.S., it can become invasive if allowed to reseed without control. The vine flowers in midsummer and its seeds ripen in the fall.

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.





Nasturtium

26 06 2011

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) photographed in the Children’s Garden at Brookside Gardens in Maryland

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Too clever: Photojojo’s pet photography idea

23 06 2011

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love my cat(s) and have photographed and blogged about them more than once (R.I.P. to my beloved Jasper). Nowadays ZenaB is my photography muse and she spends a lot of her time lounging on the carpet. I already have some ideas for cut-outs for her next portrait!

http://content.photojojo.com/photo-projects/best-pet-portraits-diy-backdrops/





Lacecap Hydrangea

22 06 2011

Here’s another shot of a Lacecap Hydrangea bloom—and yes, it really was that intensely (and multi) colored!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lacecap Hydrangea

22 06 2011

Lacecap Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla normalis), photographed at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 585 other followers