Echeveria in bloom

28 02 2008

Speaking of succulents, check out this really beautiful “succulent homage to Monet” on Sunset magazine’s website below. Looks like an easy project that mimics a lily pond without the real water. I know what my next garden project is going to be this season!,20633,1130614,00.html

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Apricot tulips

27 02 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All Rights reserved.


Aspens in Sedona

27 02 2008

Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona, Arizona…Oct. 20, my 30th “milestone” birthday…Dad climbing an apple tree and shaking apples down for our afternoon snack…perfect fall weather, perfect fall light…fallen red leaves in the dry river bed…vibrant yellow Aspens against a clear blue sky…by far my most memorable birthday, bar none. Thanks, Dad.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Golden girl

26 02 2008

This is a shot from a series I did of a friend many years ago. An image very similiar to this pose is the other shot that placed in the 2nd American Photo’s reader images contest (in the portrait/fashion category). They ran it horizontally by mistake, but I got published—so there were no complaints from me!

The hair is all Nicole’s (lucky gal!), and not a wig. We always called her Rapunzel (or Goldilocks) because of that gorgeous mane. She has beautiful big blue eyes, making it easy to focus on that critical area for portraits, and she was such a joy to photograph. And the “clothing” was simply satin draped into a “romance cover” type of gown. The lighting? A torchiere lamp (these were pre-studio-light-budget days, remember)…hence why the light is so golden. Hey, it works in this shot. The only thing missing is Fabio (or one of his contemporaries)!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Way out (south)west

25 02 2008

Here is just a small sampling of some of my southwest photos, scanned from 35mm Fuij film slides. Images cover Kodachrome Basin State Park in Cannonville, Utah (; Saquaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona (; White Sands National Monument, New Mexico (; Canyon de Chelly (and the White House Ruins) in Chinle, Arizona (, and San Xavier del Bac Mission in Tucson, Arizona (

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Katydid nymph Scudderia on Osteospermum

24 02 2008

How’s that for a title? I photographed this tiny (less than 1/2 inch) little critter in my friend Nanda’s garden. After some research on my favorite “bug identifier site” (, I’ve discovered he/she is a Katydid nymph (Scudderia) and looks just like the ones posted in the links below:

I posted the image on and got a response (and confirmation about the identity) from John and Jane Balaban in less than two minutes! How’s that for service? Thanks!

And after further research, I’ve discovered that Nanda’s flower is an Osteospermum, hailing from South Africa. The scary thing is I actually had the word “Osteospermum” in my head when I went to research what kind of flower it was. I typed in the word (spelling it correctly the first time, yay!) and my hunch was verified. Apparently I’ve absorbed more information from my massive garden book collection than I had imagined.

To narrow it down further, I think it’s the “Peach Symphony” variety. And where did I find this? On the world’s No. 1 Osteospermum Resource site, of course!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Wide open spaces

24 02 2008

I’ve rediscovered my 35mm slides from my many Southwest road trips after getting the slide scanner hooked back up. Once upon a time, I shot with a Nikon N90 or my “newer” F5 and Fuji slide film exclusively (ISO 50 or 100). I remember those days… hundreds of dollars worth of film on each trip, hauling at least 20-30 rolls in a cumbersome bag, trips to and from the photo lab, film processing costs, culling at the light table (toss, keep, toss, keep, um…maybe), putting everything in PrintFile slide sheets, and filing into binders. (Lucy, you got some scanning to do!) I spend more time at the computer than in those days, but I wouldn’t trade the new technology for anything!

Here are two of my favorite sky shots. The one on the left was taken somewhere in Arizona or Utah. The other was taken at the Petrified Forest National Park ( in Arizona. The skies out there always mesmerize me; as a result, I have tons of shots of cloud-dominant images in my archives! Now that I’m shooting 100% digital, I need to get back out there to shoot it all again with different equipment.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Fascinating Orchids

23 02 2008

I photographed these orchids last year at the annual orchid show as the U.S. Botanic Garden ( in Washington, D.C. The show this year runs from Feb. 2 through April 13, and I plan on getting over there one sunny day to add to my archives!

Information on growing orchids:

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Gina’s Delphinium

23 02 2008

Can you tell I’m growing a bit impatient for gardening season with all the recent botanical postings? I shot this image awhile back in Gina’s garden. This particular Delphinium might be the “Magic Fountain Larkspur.” The flower usually grows much more upright than Gina’s specimen did, but it’s beautiful regardless.

Delphinium, or larkspur, derives its genus’ name from the Greek word for “dolphin” and is suggested by the shape of a gland in the blossoms that secretes nectar. Warning: all part of this plant are poisonous.

Growing information:

How gorgeous that shock of red lilies, and larkspur cleaving
All with a flash of blue! when will she be leaving
Her room, where the night still hangs like a half-folded bat,
And passion unbearable seethes in the darkness, like must in a vat.

— D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)


© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Happy birthday to me!

23 02 2008

Okay, it’s not really my birthday, but I did shoot this image of a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia) with fruit on a birthday getaway with my Dad. This cactus was on the grounds of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, Arizona (

To learn more about this edible plant, go to

This image is a scan from a 35mm slide (pre-digital camera days, if you can imagine that time); one of several I entered in American Photo‘s 2nd annual contest of reader’s images. It was published in the nature category. I also placed in the fashion/portrait category with a photo of my friend Nicole (I have to find that slide and scan it). Getting published in one of my favorite magazines (twice!) was a highlight in my photography career. I was also one of seven follow-up interviewees for the following year’s competition in their “where are the winners now?” article. A neat twist—Nicole, the model in my winning fashion/portrait entry—photographed my head shot for the follow-up profile.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


A little bit more action…

23 02 2008

…playing with the b&w actions

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Getting some action…

21 02 2008

Now that I have your attention…but it’s Photoshop Actions I’m getting. I just bought “Totally Rad Actions” from Doug Boutwell at

If you don’t know what a “Photoshop action” is, here’s a good description/tutorial on the subject:

Doug has a funny and insightful personal blog as well. I enjoyed his “Rants” category.

I found his product on another photographer’s site and after previewing the effects of his Totally Rad Actions set, I knew I had to add them to my arsenal of Photoshop tricks. Here’s my first attempt at using a few of the actions on a portrait I shot recently.


© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Chocoholic Party 2008

20 02 2008

Here are some images from our Chocoholics 2008 party. It’s a bit hard to hostess, do sweetheart portraits, and also remember to get party ambience shots, too; hence why there are so few snapshots of the event, decorations, and all the chocolate, chili, and appetizers that were consumed. I think next year I’ll assign that task to a budding photographer in lieu of them bringing an appetizer!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Speaking of appetizers, Karen made these delicious cheese straws and shared the recipe:



20 02 2008

While I was shooting the “snow on birdhouses” photo (below), I heard a creaking sound behind me. I turned to see the bird feeder swinging wildly back and forth. I thought to myself, “hmmm…but there’s no wind….” and then I looked up and saw this little guy scampering off. There’s no such thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


70% chance of snow

20 02 2008

The weather man got it right this time. Just started snowing…no potting today!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Over the top

18 02 2008

Last Saturday was our fourth annual Chocoholic Party and this year I deviated from the look of previous years’ red, purple, and gold “upscale bordello” chandeliers. This year’s theme was decidedly more elegant with a lime green, bronze, gold, and white color palette and took its cue from nature: feathers, birds, baubles, butterflies, fruit, berries, white and green poinsettias, gold mesh ribbons, and dangling amber colored glass “crystals.” Even though the party is a week past, I’m pondering leaving the decorations up for a few more months (at least until this dreary wet winter weather passes). What would Martha do?

I’ll post people (and chocolate) photos from this year’s soiree soon. Wanna see photos from previous Chocoholic parties? Here’s the link:

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Rudy Tooty Fresh & Fruity

17 02 2008

This is Rudy. He lives across the street from mom and dad. His predecessor was Ralph. Ralph loved staying at the neighbor’s house next to mom’s and started spending more time with them than he did at his own home. So they adopted him. The original owners then went out and got an almost identical cat and named him Rudy (they have a thing for names beginning with “R”). Occasionally Ralph and Rudy cross each other’s paths and there’s a mock duel going on across the yard. There’s something about mom and dad’s house that draws cats to their front porch. Rudy comes running from the hedges as soon as he hears us unlock the door. And because I can’t simply call a cat by his given name, he has been nicknamed ‘Rudy Tooty Fresh & Fruity.’ He is the most loveable cat you will ever meet. He’s well-fed and I assume the owners let him inside when it gets really cold, but honestly I would keep him indoors if he were mine. The street is too busy with fast cars and he’s too sweet to be left to the elements, even in balmy Texas. It was hard to photograph him because he wanted to be petted and kept putting his head up to the lens (hence the wide angle look to his face). So, this is the best I got that day.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Desktop poet, attempt #1

12 02 2008

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Cactus in bloom

12 02 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Go toward the light…

6 02 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


My lushest garden ever…

5 02 2008

As always, I am so looking forward to another gardening season…I shot these of our townhouse garden in summer 2006. This was one of the lushest growing seasons ever for our garden. The shot of the massive bank of morning glory blooms was taken in the front (side) yard, and the shot with the front steps was also taken in the front yard. All the other photos were from the backyard garden. Not too bad for a tiny plot of land, eh?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Fostering octuplets…

3 02 2008

(of the hairy kind, that is)—my friend and Garden Club “weedette” Regina volunteers at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria ( and agreed to foster a mama syrian hamster and her newborn octuplets. In the top photo, Regina is holding the rambunctious mother; below is one of the eight babies. They are about two weeks old now and very, very active.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Swallowtails for Jennifer

2 02 2008

Just found a few more butterflies for Jennifer in my archives. I photographed these this past summer at Green Spring Gardens in Virginia.

I’m fairly certain these are Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.



© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Raining on my rug

1 02 2008

It’s a very wet day in Northern Virginia…and as I write this, I notice that my “unfinished rug” is getting soaked outside (yet again). This painted (cement) rug has turned into a 3+ year project. I started it with gusto over three years ago, sometimes enlisting help of a friend to help color in my sketches…but mostly it has been me, sitting with my soda, CD player with Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Denver, Cheryl Wheeler, and Christine Kane to keep me company (and keep me inspired as well), jars of paint, a slew of brushes…trying to make this vision of mine come to fruition. My inspiration for this design was a beautiful piece of fabric. I have long since deviated from my original inspiration; the fabric pattern is ingrained in my head, nonetheless. Most people think it’s done; I know it is most certainly not. The time to paint is in the spring…unfortunately, that is also the time to prepare the garden, plant, and play. So painting takes a backseat and this is why the project is not yet finished.

I knew it was a (partial) success when my friend Norma came by to see me one day last spring, peeked through the locked back gate to see if I was outside, and seeing that it was about to pour, left me a message with sincere concern in her voice, telling me that I better “bring in my rug before it gets wet!” I considered that an extremely nice compliment to this not-yet-finished project. Every year I make a little more progress. Every year the rug fades a little in the finished areas and I get distracted and have to go back to touch those spots up, the color becoming brighter each time. I vow to finish it this spring, without fail. I will seal it, hoping the elements will be kind.