Bluer than blue redux

5 03 2009

In early February I posted a collage of my blue flower photographs here.

On Tuesday Michael and I took a field trip to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, to see the Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens. I was inspired to do so by fellow photographer and blogger, Patty Hankins, who has been regularly posting her orchid photos from Longwood Gardens (thanks, Patty!). I spent quite a bit of time photographing this bed of beautiful blue flowers in the Conservatory.

If I have identified these correctly by the marker in one of the beds, then these flowers, a member of the Aster family, are a Longwood hybrid—Longwood Hybrid Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida). Learn more about the history of this hybrid here. I’ll do some extra fact-finding to make sure that’s correct.

After our photo excursion to Longwood, we headed over to Philadelphia to the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show. This was our second time attending the event (first time was in 2006) and we were disappointed that Borders Books didn’t have their garden-books-only booth. (As if I really needed more gardening books. But still…)

compleastsquash1We still managed to part with a little money, though (seed packets, a worm bin compost system, and the book, Melons for the Passionate Grower, written by Amy Goldman with beautiful photographs by Victor Schrager.

I found one of Goldman’s other books, The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds, at a kitchen store that was closing in San Antonio this past Christmas. I paid just $6 for this coffee table book. I have her book, The Heirloom Tomato, on my radar now. Check these books out on Amazon—the photographs are exquisite still lifes; stunning in their simplicity. melons

Now I can identify those pumpkins, squashes and gourds that I photographed last fall here and here at Nalls Produce, a local plant and produce stand in Springfield, Virginia. Mind you, I have no room in a townhouse garden to grow melons or pumpkins, but these books are simply beautiful works of art, and informative too. How could I not add them to my library?

As you may have suspected, I’ll be posting more flower photographs from Longwood soon.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.




12 responses

5 03 2009


Great photos of the Asters. Where at Longwood are they? I missed them on my last trip. I’m hoping to get back there in another couple of weeks and would love to photograph the blue flowers



5 03 2009

Hi Patty!

When you first go into the Conservatory, head to the right and just before you enter that area where the columns/water/dining area is, they’re just outside the entrance to the first door of the music room. There are actually two beds; one just outside the music room, and one on the left of that area, flanking the center flowers beds/grassy lawn in the Conservatory. As you know, blues and purples are a little difficult to photograph digitally, but you can always adjust the color in Photoshop if need be. I spent at least a half hour in virtually one spot, happily shooting just one bed. The mid-afternoon sunlight was streaming through and the light was beautiful.

Thanks for blogging about the Orchids. I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. I usually only think about Longwood during spring and summer!

5 03 2009

WOW(!) the colour is amazing cindy
did you use a magnifying filter or a zoom(?)

5 03 2009

Beautiful detail here, Cindy. We were down to Longwood for the opening of the Orchid exhibit. You probably saw the several images I have on my blog from there. I’m looking forward to returning soon.

I’ll keep an eye out for more images from Longwood and the Flower Show. Well done!

5 03 2009

the second from the bottom is my fave…I love the background.

6 03 2009

Thanks, Chloe!

For those blue flowers (and for most of my floral photography), I use my Nikon 105 AF 2.8 macro—it is quite possibly one of Nikon’s best lens EVER! I know you like photographing flowers, too, so when you get ahead with the money (or get an inheritance from out of nowhere!), be sure to add the 105 to your photography arsenal. It’s what I use to get all those closeup bugs and flower shots I’m always posting. It’s also a FANTASTIC portrait lens. In U.S. dollars it would run about $750-900. I never go anywhere to shoot without that lens. You might also try eBay for a used one. It’s one lens I would be lost without!

Read Ken Rockwell’s review of the lens:

6 03 2009

Thanks for the nice comments, Ed!

I’m off to check out your orchid photos on your site now!

6 03 2009

i felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when i got that entry out, lol

thanks for posting the response on my site too, i always forget to check back for answers : )
i’m not lacking cash, but i was just told buy a few other photographers, that macro lens aren’t worth the money … but i think they are, because look at your photographs(!)
i might look for one soon 🙂 x

6 03 2009
Hershel Dyer

You know that blue has never been one of my favorite colors. Your “blue redux” posting has forced me to add blue to my palette of earth tones.

As for the efficacy of the Nikon 105 AF 2.8 macro lens:

“Efficacy” is defined as ” the ability to produce a desired or intended result.”

In your hands a camera fitted with the Nikon 105 AF 2.8 macro lens becomes an efficacious tool. Your point-and-shoot Nikon is also an efficacious tool — in your hands. In fact any camera fitted with any lens is an efficacious tool — in your hands. There are other photographers (a limited number) who can do the same — your fellow-blogger “edvatsa” is a shining example.

I believe you (and edvatsa) could make a box, line it with some kind of photo-sensitive material, punch a pinhole in one side, aim the pinhole at any well-lighted source and produce a prize-winning photograph. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the source of beautiful photographs can be found in the eye of the photographer.

As always, in the interest of full disclosure, I must state that our father-daughter relationship does not in any manner influence my comments.


Ed Vatsa’s blog can be found here at

6 03 2009

Hi Chloe,

I always enjoy your writing (and photographs, too)….keep it up!

How in the world could a photographer say a macro isn’t worth the money—when, in fact, it’s the ONLY lens that can do closeups! You can’t really do what I do with the flowers and bugs without a macro. And remember, that lens is also one of the best portraits lenses around, so you get two great functions in one lens.

6 03 2009

Really beautiful photos, Cindy. I’m always a fan.

2 04 2009

Just beautiful!!!!
The colour is so true and natural. Real treat for my eyes. So Thank You.

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