Bleeding hearts

11 04 2021

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 12 Pro Max, Camera+ 2 app in macro mode)

Parrot tulip blooming in my garden

10 04 2021

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 12 Pro Max, Camera+ 2 app in macro mode)

Grape hyacinth (Muscari) blooming in my garden

9 04 2021

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 12 Pro Max, Camera+ 2 app in macro mode)

African daisy (Osteospermum)

31 03 2021

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 12 Pro Max, Camera+ 2 app in macro mode)

African daisy (Osteospermum)

31 03 2021

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 12 Pro Max, Camera+ 2 app in macro mode)

Lobo in the painting studio

21 03 2021

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


2 02 2021

Pixel just hanging out on the “itty bitty kitty city” cat tree

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved. iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed2 app border

Hearing Life Magazine: 2020 Recap

2 01 2021

Here’s a recap of Hearing Life magazine from 2020. I design, edit, and provide photography for the magazine, which is published by the Hearing Loss Association of America.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 ISSUE: This issue delves into the important role that the arts play in our lives. Find inspiration from a musician and sound engineer who persevered in the face of severe tinnitus and unexplained hearing loss. Reflect on how four contemporary films depict characters with hearing loss. Be amazed by how a young woman born with hearing loss has tapped into other senses to pursue her love of music as a violinist. Learn about recent advocacy for captioning in live theaters. And pick up some technology know-how to make your TV time a more enjoyable listening experience. You can read select PDFs from the issue here.

MARCH/APRIL 2020 ISSUE: In this health care-focused issue, meet an inspiring businessman and activist with purpose, who’s driven to end social isolation and loneliness. Read about Walk4Hearing, now celebrating its fifteenth year of connecting people to people and about three of our research-focused Walk sponsors. Learn how HLAA Chapters and people everywhere are working to educate health care providers about the needs of people with hearing loss in clinical settings. Be inspired by how one woman’s frightening experience in the OR sparked the idea for a business. You can read select PDFs from the issue here.

MAY/JUNE 2020 ISSUE: Read about HLAA’s partnership with American Girl in honor of the company’s 2020 Doll of the Year, Joss Kendrick, to increase awareness and educate people about hearing loss. The 15th Anniversary Walk4Hearing begins as usual, but this spring the Walk Day gatherings will be online celebrations—all with the same spirit of commitment and community. Learn how to ask for accommodations in the workplace, especially during this time of COVID-19. Be inspired by Camilla Gilbert, who overcame obstacles living with microtia and atresia, and how three women in New Jersey joined forces to create a new HLAA Chapter. And read the touching story from two HLAA members who honor their friend, Grace Waegell Tiessen, a pioneer of hearing loss causes and a long-time champion of HLAA. You can read select PDFs from the issue here.

JULY/AUGUST 2020 ISSUE: In this issue of Hearing Life, we focus on children and young adults with hearing loss. Featured on the cover is 14-year-old Katherine Pawlowski, who was the first Walk4Hearing ambassador when she was just eight years old. We catch up with Katherine and learn how she has continued her advocacy work. The Ida Institute’s Growing Up With Hearing Loss resource offers guidance and strategies for children with hearing loss. HLAA member David Seligman explains how simply checking a box about a healthy issue on a school application changed his life. Paige Stringer, founder of The Global Foundation for Children With Hearing Loss, shares her hope for global solutions to address hearing loss. The HLAA Austin Chapter offers tips on how they are attracting young adults and developing younger generation chapter leaders. You can read select PDFs from the issue here.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 ISSUE: In this issue of Hearing Life, you’ll meet our cover subject, Matt Hay, in “Nowhere Man.” The Beatles gave him “Help” when he needed it. Songs like “Nowhere Man,” “Yesterday,” and “Blackbird” had a way of summing up his feelings when his hearing started to go. He turned to their music when his auditory brain stem implant helped him restore some of his hearing. Audiologist Amy Bernstein takes us through the evolution of hearing aids in “From Cow to Now.” Golf pro Herb Rubenstein shows how improving your hearing can improve your golf game. Derek Berry recaps HLAA’s first-ever virtual Experience HLAA! Stephen Frazier shares how Richard Davila II, owner of Livingston Hearing, decided it was time for his company to “get in the hearing loop.” Psychologist Michael Harvey relays how sharing a diagnosis of hearing loss with others can result in shared experiences of transport, self-realization, self-reflection, and commitments to action. And finally, Gayle Raif offers sage advice and life strategies for those who are newly-diagnosed with hearing loss. The entire digital issue is available here.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020 ISSUE: In this issue of Hearing Life, we honor five veterans—Don Doherty, Mark Brogan, Carol Halla, David Schible, and Shilo Harris—and learn about their advocacy, adventures, and lives since they last graced the pages of our magazine. The Ida Institute shares a resource on making communication clear when wearing face masks. Audiologist Amy Bernstein explains how Bluetooth technology can help people with hearing loss in her article, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Tooth, Bluetooth. In My Disappearing Hearing, Jane Biehl shows how self-advocacy, perseverance, and a strong support system helped her navigate through her health crises, disappearing hearing, and the COVID-19 pandemic. A week-long college reunion forces Sarah Maas to address trauma and to realize that hearing is vitally linked to self-expression, identity, connection, belonging and acceptance. And finally, clinical psychologist Michael Harvey shares how a patient’s connection to this grandfather through the song, Young at Heart, brought him some relief and coping skills with his tinnitus. Want more? Become a member of HLAA. We want to show you that you’re not alone. You can view select PDFs of this issue here.

Ginkgo branches

23 11 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.



7 11 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed 2 app border)

Pixel and Queso: Tunnel vision

7 11 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed 2 app border)

Sunday sky

1 11 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed app border)

Icarus flying too close to the sun (see him above, left?)

Blandy Experimental Farm at the Virginia State Arboretum

1 11 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed 2 app border)

Photography in the Garden, updated mini-magazine

6 10 2020

I’ve updated my mini-magazine for participants in my upcoming garden photography workshop at River Farm, and I’m sharing it with you now. Click the link below to download the pdf. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Signs of fall #2

1 10 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed 2 app border)

Pumpkins in painterly light

1 10 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed 2 app border)

Signs of fall #1

1 10 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed app borders)

Joanie Simon and The Bite Shot

11 09 2020

I stumbled onto Joanie Simon’s youtube channel, “The Bite Shot,” which deals with food photography. She is an amazing presenter and an engaging teacher. I’ve done a wee bit of food photography (for Celebrate Home magazine, which I co-created with my colleague Barbara), but I was, to be honest, not 100% confident with it, although I did enjoy the challenge. Even if you aren’t interested in shooting food, watch one video and you may find yourself obsessed with shooting food! I discovered her last week and have already watched a dozen videos. She knows her stuff and she is so engaging. I would love to translate those qualities into my own garden photo presentations with this much ease. She is phenomenal!

(Also, wish I had the courage to chop my hair off like hers and paint a teal streak through it. Do I dare?) 😉

My Garden Photography Workshop at River Farm

9 09 2020

Yours truly is leading a garden photography workshop on Saturday, October 17, at River Farm, home to the American Horticulture Society!

What I’ll be teaching can apply to everything from a DSLR to a point-n-shoot to your smartphone.

The workshop is 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., with a lecture and hands-on guidance photographing in the gardens at River Farm. (I just attended a botanical illustration workshop a few weeks ago, so I know the social distancing/mask wearing is in effect there.) The event will be held exclusively outdoors under their big event tent. Their address is 7931 E Boulevard Dr, Alexandria, VA 22308.

If you’re local and want to attend, learn more in the link below!—non-members

iPhoneography: Saturday sky

6 09 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed 2 app border)

Boxing Lobo

6 09 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed 2 app border)

iPhoneography: Queso

6 09 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed app borders)

iPhoneography: Wednesday sky

6 09 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus)


4 09 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

As soon as I saw this jumble of sprouted bulbs (still in the bag on the potting bench), I immediately thought of these lyrics by my beloved John Denver:

I want to live I want to grow
I want to see I want to know
I want to share what I can give
I want to be I want to live

I *think* these are iris bulbs. Or very tiny gladiola bulbs. The label was now rendered illegible due to the rain. I ordered them online, and while I planted everything else, I left these on the bench, intending to find a place for them later. Then the rains came. And came. And came. When there wasn’t rain, I watered the garden daily, never seeing these still on the bench. Just now, I glanced over and saw some tall green stalks on the bench. Whaaaaaa? The little bulbs had sprouted; every single one of them! They were poking through the holes in the bag, roots entangling. The roots even went through the bag and had attached themselves to my gardening gloves.

I sat at the patio table and cut them free from the bag and found a home for them in the garden.

Runnymeade Garden Club

25 07 2020

When my friend Elizabeth recently mentioned the flyer (on Facebook) that I sent out to residents when I started the Runnymeade Garden Club (eons ago), she described it exactly as I created it—little colorful squares with photos taken around my garden and in the neighborhood. I just came across the front and back covers of the brochure I distributed around the neighborhood. I have no idea what I did for the inside of the piece–will have to locate the file. But for now, here are the two covers. On the back cover, you’ll see a tabby cat in the lower righthand corner—that was my sweet boy, Jasper. I hosted the garden club for about four or five years (I don’t remember exactly how long), then needed to step back for personal and business reasons—I put a lot of time, effort and money into this wonderful group of “Weedettes.” It was just what I needed during those years, and I made many wonderful long-lasting friendships as a result.




23 07 2020
Dad & My Hands
Today is the first anniversary of my father’s passing (7.22.2019). I captured this shot of me holding his hand a few days before. Dad wasn’t much for hand holding or physical affection, and he probably would have been irritated had he been aware that we were holding vigil for him by his bedside. He was asleep when my sister Kelley and I arrived at hospice that Friday. He never woke up during the next four days, so we did what families usually do—cry, laugh, and tell stories. I read some entries to him from his blog. He was a gifted writer and took a lot of pride in his essays.

In the photo, I’m wearing one of mom’s gold rings. I never take it off. It has five tiny diamonds set into a gold band that crosses another band. I like to think she bought it because each diamond represents the five members of our little family. I have been surprised at just how comforting it is to wear it and then in the same moment, I am made painfully aware that it is no longer gracing her hands. It is just one of many rings she wore faithfully, earning my father’s lifelong nickname for her—Diamond Lil.

That spring, I gathered my favorite essays from his blog and my sister Debbie printed them out and created a binder for him. I presented it to him on a field trip to his favorite place—the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, Texas. His sweet friend Patty and my sweet high school friend Tom accompanied us that day. Dad and Patty sat in the backseat, holding hands, and perusing the binder. My dad, who never rode with me without admonishing something to do with my driving, said nothing. He was content with Miss Patty and happy to be out of his assisted living facility. At lunch, I told Patty that this was the first time ever that he didn’t criticize my driving, so she must be a good influence on him. Dad just smiled.

A few days later I visited, and even with his failing memory, he brought up that trip and said he really enjoyed it. I fervently had hoped that we would have many more days like that, but that was not to be. I asked him if he wanted me to read a few of his blog posts out loud. I read a couple of my favorites, and with a surprised look, he asked, “I wrote that?” He had been diagnosed with vascular dementia a few years earlier and the blog was a distant memory for him, as were many other things, including my name. I could still see glimpses of my sometimes ornery, often witty father. I missed the existential conversations we had through the years. I missed calling him when I wanted his sound advice or feedback on something happening in my life. He was my sounding board on so many things in my life. He was my go-to guy. Got a problem? I’ll call dad. He’ll know just what to do. He’ll tell me to weigh the pros and cons. He will help me assemble the disjointed puzzle I’ve created out of my life at any given juncture.

Our conversations were very limited once the dementia took away much of his ability to form complete sentences. I could see his frustration in conversing, and I often tried to help him finish a sentence. Sometimes he appreciated the effort, other times there was that familiar look of irritation. No matter. I found patience that I didn’t know I had during those times. I always left there sad, though. Helpless. Sad for his struggle with his thoughts. Sad that he sometimes didn’t know why he wasn’t home, but knowing he was right where he needed to be. I worried a lot. I worried just as he did with mom when she was ill.

Then he found someone to love—Miss Patty. His first three months living in a very nice assisted living apartment were full of angst and anger, railing against his daughters for “putting him there.” He wanted to go home. Then he met Patty. We had met Patty earlier at an Alzheimer’s Support Group meeting, so we recognized her immediately when he introduced us to her. She is so much like our mother—soft-spoken, patient, and kind. She tempered him when he was upset. When he would tell her he wanted to go home, she would remind him that he was home, and that they lived in a really nice place and were well taken care of—and aren’t we the luckiest? She would tell him what wonderful daughters he had, and eventually he came to agree (much to our delight). He was no longer angry with us. Patty had given him a reason to stay. We thought we had longer with him…that he had longer.

He was my rock. My go-to guy. My road trip buddy. He was the ultimate cheerleader on the sidelines. He was smart, witty, and well-educated. We shared a never-ending love of books and art. He could also be very, very difficult. And it was often unpredictable. But even in the most difficult of times, from childhood to now, I felt loved. I always felt loved.

He told me that when I was born, despite the doctor turning me around three times, I came into the world feet first, setting the example for my life as an artist. When he told the story, he finished with, “It figures. You’re still marching to the beat of your own drum.” That was a really nice way of saying that I’m stubborn. I came by it honestly—he was, too.

He was endlessly supportive of my creative abilities, fostering them with guidance, supplies, and art lessons. With his prodding, I started drawing in kindergarten, painting in junior high, and photojournalism in high school. When my teacher asked if anyone could photograph a game for the yearbook, I cajoled my dad into letting me borrow his Yashica 35mm and off I went, instructed by him to not lose it, break it, or put it down. This was my first experience with a 35mm camera, and when the contact sheets came in, it was crystal clear he would never get it back. I started Dyer Photography in our paneled den in Donna, Texas, while I was still in high school, shooting portraits and parties, and after graduation, I moved on to wedding and quinceaneras.

Naturally, I decided to major in art when I entered college, but my practical and wise father asked me how I would make a living as an artist; there began the switch from fine art to graphic design. My career started with winning first prize for a jeans pocket design, and progressed to designing retail window displays that paid mostly in clothes and shoes. Before long, however, I was doing portrait and wedding photography again (and earning real money to my dad’s delight), then fashion illustration, graphic design, layout, copy writing, and creating newspaper and radio ads.

As I wrote earlier, my dad was a gifted writer. When my mom was dealing with ovarian cancer (over 11 years), I knew he needed an outlet because he often couldn’t sleep. He was worried about her. I introduced him to the world of blogging, and once he got started, he was off and running. My friend Debbi gave me a handmade illustrated book as a gift one Christmas. It was in honor of me creating the Runnymeade Garden Club. I was deemed the Head Weed, and my members were the Weedettes. The storybook cast me as Princess of Runnymeade, and my mom and dad were the King and Queen of Texas. Dad was delighted to claim that title, and it instantly became the title of his blog. He began it in March 2009 and wrote until early December 2013. Perhaps his memory loss began around that time, and that’s why he wouldn’t continue or lost interest. I’ll never really know.

My mother passed in November 2010. Dad was lost without her. He was the best caregiver all those years. He said he wanted his “job” back. He was lost without a purpose. After she passed, those years leading up to his dementia diagnosis were often difficult. He was depressed. He pushed us away so many times. We didn’t understand. We hung on, because that’s what families do. That’s what mom would have wanted us to do.

In the last few years, the erratic behavior wasn’t explainable until it was—dementia. Time to reframe our assessments. Redirect our anger, and sadness, and disappointment. He needed us, even if he didn’t think so.

I miss his cheerleading. I miss his insight and advice. I miss his fun comments on my blog postings. I miss being able to call him to tell him about something exciting happening in my life. I miss going to Half Price Books with him. I even miss the stream of consciousness jokes, even the unsavory ones.

I am so grateful to my sisters for making hard decisions, for being there when I couldn’t. I am so grateful to our friend William for being his caregiver after his diagnosis. and most of all, being his friend. We knew dad was safe with him in his life, watching over him. In the end, we all know we did the right thing for dad. We did it all with love. And I do believe he had the happiest last year of his life. He was well cared for. He was safe. He was surrounded by friends. He was loved. He had someone to love. In the end, that’s all that matters.

I love you, dad. Give mom a hug for me.

Hearing Life: Katherine Pawlowski

21 07 2020
I photographed Katherine Pawlowski for her cover feature in the July/August issue of Hearing Life magazine, a bimonthly publication that I design for the Hearing Loss Association of America (

Katherine was named the first Walk4Hearing ambassador in 2014, and she and her mother traveled to many Walks to represent children with hearing loss. A few months ago, I visited with Katherine, now 14, to catch up on her life and learn about her continuing advocacy efforts.

I photographed the family in 2014 for a Walk4Hearing cover feature, and was happy to catch up with them again for this feature shoot. Thanks to my friend Michael Powell (see his wonderful blog here), for serving as my trusty assistant, holding the diffuser and reflector during the shoot.

You can read my interview with Katherine here:

HLAA Hearing Life magazine NovDec 2019 1019


19 07 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. iPhone 8plus, Camera+2 app in macro mode


Orange Jessamine (Orange Jasmine)

19 07 2020

Orange Jessamine (Murraya paniculata)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.  iPhone 8Plus, Camera+2 app in macro mode

Attachment-1 copy

Morning glory blooms

17 07 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Morning Glories