In the studio: Maria

12 06 2019

Maria Keffler was my first official portrait session in our first month (May) in the new shared studio space (with my friend and photographer Michael Powell).

Maria is a published author and a very talented fiber artist/pattern maker as well. Read more about her here. Purchase her books on Amazon here. She also sells crochet and knit patterns, and several of the pieces she is wearing in the photos below were designed and created by her. You can purchase her designs on Ravelry here. Find her on her Maria Keffler Books Facebook page here.

Michael and I are subleasing with another creative on a six-month basis. The price was right for a short-term commitment (and shared with Michael, for whom I am extremely grateful for helping make it happen) and I hope to shoot many more sessions during this time—and possibly be able to continue the experiment! It’s the first time I’ve had a studio space outside the house.

I’ll be announcing some studio portrait specials soon, so stand by! Visit Michael’s blog here to see his wonderful wildlife photography as well as educational and amusing narratives.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Maria Keffler Collage


Hearing Loss Magazine: 2015 Recap

27 12 2015

I design and photograph for the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine (HLM), published by the Hearing Loss Association of America. Here is a recap of the issues published in 2015.


JanFeb CoverJanet and Sam Trychin graced the cover of our January/February 2015 issue, and wrote the two main features—How it All began! The Origins of the Living Well with Hearing Loss Program by Sam, Trychin and A Love Story—Audiologist Meets Psychologist by Janet Trychin). I photographed Sam and Janet at HLAA’s Convention 2012 in Washington, D.C. Also in this issue: Should I get a Hearing Aid? by Mark Ross; Walking with You: My Journey as the Walk4Hearing Ambassador by Katherine A. Pawlowski; Beyond the Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant by Don Senger; Resources Worth Their Weight in Gold, article by Larry Medwetsky about Gallaudet University’s Peer Mentoring Program; Something Extraordinary Has Happened!…and It’s All About the People, an article by Julie Olson celebrating highlights in our year-long 35th commemoration of HLAA’s founding; and Welcome Back to the Movies, an article by Lise Hamlin about HLAA’s work on movie theater access for people with hearing loss. Betty Proctor is featured in our Seen & Heard column for this issue. You can read her profile here.


COVER MarchApril 2015The March/April 2015 issue was our Convention sneak preview edition, featuring Nancy Macklin’s Convention feature, The Train is Leaving the Station: Hop On! In a nod to the “All Aboard” theme, I photographed the Talbert and Drawdy families at the Texas Transportation Museum in San Antonio for the cover. Also in this issue: State Agencies for People with Hearing Loss by Lisa Kornberg; Subjects Being Sought, an article by Donna Sorkin and Teresa Zwolan about a new study to examine expansion of Medicare criteria for cochlear implants; The Walk4Hearing and Alliances Help Communites Across the Nation by Ronnie Adler; Let’s Chat—Changing Our Internal Conversations by psychologist Michael Harvey; HLAA member Ann Liming writes about her cochlear implant in A Consumer’s Perspective; HLM Editor in Chief Barbara Kelley’s article, Chilean SHH, profiles the organization and how it was inspired by HLAA; audiologist Mark Ross reflects on his hearing loss in My Near Deaf Experience; Hearing and Health Care—High Stakes Communication by Kathi Mestayer; and Robin Itzler talks frankly about the terms hard of hearing and hearing impaired in [Please] Don’t Call Me Names. Convention 2015 was held in St. Louis, MO, on June 25-28 at the beautiful St. Louis Union Station, a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.


COVER MayJune 2015I photographed Elise Williams and her dog Jackie in San Antonio, Texas, for the cover of our May/June 2015 issue. The main feature was HLAA Walk4Hearing: 10 Years of You Walking Coast to Coast by Barbara Kelley. Also in this issue: Joe Garin shares the story of his son’s hearing loss, the gift of hearing, and their journey with the HLAA Walk4Hearing in Joey G’s Gang; Katerine Bouton writes about NYC Deputy Inspector Daniel Carione and his hearing loss in Standing Your Ground for Justice; Nancy Macklin shares highlights of HLAA Convention 2015 in All Aboard! Last Stop…St. Louis!; Jodi Iler writes about a chance encounter in Oregon leading to a grateful order of nuns in Iowa in Religious Sisters Get in the Loop; Loretta M. Miller discusses her journey with tinnitus in The Trip with Tinnitus; and Ellen Semel writes about the exhibits at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Advocacy Works. HLAA members Dave and Carrie Welter make their debut in our Seen & Heard column. You can read their profiles here.


HLM JulyAug2015Our July/August 2015 issue focused on hearing loss and technology, beginning Cynthia Compton-Conley’s Best Practices in Hearing Enhancement—What Jack Discovered and What Every Consumer Should Know; in The Smartphone Will See You Now—Really?, Larry Herbert talks with Martin Cooper, inventor of the cell phone, and looks at the future of hearing health care; audiologist Larry Medwetsy shares how to extend the use of your hearing aid with the latest technology in Hearing Aid Connectivity—Bridging a Closer Connection to the World of Sound; Julie Olson writes about how technology is a boon to those with hearing loss, but we can’t forget the human factor in HEAR in the Real World; Lise Hamlin shares how the ADA put people with hearing loss on an equal playing field in the workplace and in public places in The ADA at 25; audiologist Mark Ross writes about the negative perceptions of hearing loss in The Stigma of Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids; and Teresa Goddard shares her personal story of living successfully with hearing loss in Technology—It’s Never Been a Choice Not to Use It! Larry Herbert focuses on his life with technology in our Seen & Heard column. You can read his profile here.


Sarah CoverLibrarian and HLAA member Sarah Wegley graces the cover of our September/October 2015 issue. I photographed Sarah this past summer when she was interning at the HLAA headquarters. In Speak Up Librarian, she chronicles her mid-career hearing loss and the adventures that follow. Also in this issue: Back to School: Hearing Aid Checklist for Parents with Children with Hearing Loss by Anna Bella and Suzanne D’Amico; The Smart Hearing Aid Revolution by Eric Banda; The Smart Hearing Aid Revolution by Guard Your Health; Nancy Macklin shares convention highlights in HLAA Convention 2015 Wrap-Up; Lise Hamlin writes about HLAA’s role in providing communication access recommendations for rail cars in HLAA is Working for You—Rail Access; and Barbara Kelley introduces Ingebord and Irwin Hochmair, inventors of the MED-EL cochlear implant in Harnessing the Power of Technology. Chameen Stratton is featured in our Seen & Heard column. You can read her profile here.


Shari Eberts CoverIn our November/December 2015 issue, Shari Eberts shares how she tried to hide her hearing loss for 10 years in Hearing Loss Doesn’t Have to Be a Showstopper—Breaking the Stigma of Hearing Loss. Also in this issue: Sarah Wegley shares results of a research study about the diminishing stigma of hearing loss in No More Stigma—The Hearing Aid Effect; Dr. King Chung explains the connection between hearing loss and cognitive function in Hearing Aid Use, Cognitive Function, and Proven Benefits; Nancy Macklin announces highlights for the upcoming convention in HLAA Convention 2016 in Washington, D.C.; audiologist Larry Medwetsky continues part two of his series on smartphone apps, Mobile Device Apps for People with Hearing Loss: Expanding the Horizons of Hearing; S.R. Archer interviews a clinical psychologist who works with people with hearing loss in What You Can’t Hear, Can Hurt You; Lise Hamlin’s article, An Idea Whose Time Has Come, discusses how Medicare should include coverage for hearing aids and related services; and Poetry & Prose features Brady Dickens’ Listen and Alyssa Blackmer’s Hearing Silence.


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. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.


It’s all my father’s fault…

19 07 2013

…my obsession with collecting books. You can read all about my “biblioholism” in Marisa Sarto’s interview with me in the summer 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine! She also shot images in my library to illustrate the feature. I wrote an accompanying article, “Alas, Poor Borders, I Knew You…,” an ode to Borders Books & Music. Michael wrote a lovely essay about how his parents fostered his love of reading in, “Why I Love Reading.” Check out all these book-related articles by downloading the issue free in the links below. Visit our website to download previous issues at

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on (no markup; at cost + shipping):

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

Photography and design by Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Rampant Biblioholism

Celebrate Home Magazine, Summer 2013: Ready to download!

18 07 2013

The summer 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is ready for FREE download! It may be my most favorite issue yet! We’ll have it available on our website as well at, or you can download it in the links below. Please feel free to pass on the link to your family and friends. The more “clicks” we get, the better!

Here’s what you’ll find in this issue:

Up a Creek with Lots of Memories—The Havermann family finds a place to play in a vacation 
home on St. Leonard’s Creek in southern Maryland.

Light and Lively Summer Fare—Chef Emily Doermann whips up a tasty summer meal.

Not-a-Burger—Everyone loves a burger on the grill during summer. If you’re not a meat-eater, here is an alternative that can’t be beat!

Six Summer Sips—Mixologist Karen Covey shares sizzling summer drinks to beat the heat.

Space Cake—Put down that Moon Pie and try this heirloom cake without-of-the-world taste.

Inspired by the Garden: Garden Muse Tea Reception—Barbara Kelley caters a photography exhibit reception to remember.

Summer Tablescapes—Usher in summer with cool summer-inspired tablescapes.

Shoe-la-la, Ooh-la-la!—A popular children’s book is the inspiration for a mural in 
a shoe-loving little girl’s room.

That 80s House—A bathroom gets a new lease on life.

Rest for the Weary—Create a welcoming guestroom for your visitors.

Ode to a Chicken—Becka Davis pays homage to a beloved feathered friend.

Suburban Agriculture: Confessions of a Brown Thumb—Maria Hufnagel shares her experience as a first-time gardener.

Fashioning a Fairy Garden—Kristin Clem connects with her inner child and creates 
a miniature fairy paradise.

Photographing Your Garden Through the Seasons—Photographer Cindy Dyer shares her tips for creating captivating images in the garden.

Rampant Biblioholism—Marisa Sarto interviews CHM’s art director/photographer, Cindy Dyer, 
and discovers how a love of books has shaped her collection.

So Charming—Ginger Garneau shares her lifelong passion for charm bracelets.

Fit to Tied (and Dyed): Fun and Easy Wearables Made with T-shirts—Achieve amazing results with inexpensive t-shirts, colorful dyes, simple 
knotting and a pair of scissors!

Living Spontaneously, Finding Roots by Martha Bizzell
Celebrating Life at the Table by Gina Waterfield
The Home of My Dreams by Stephanie Simpson
Home is… by Bo Mackison
Saying Goodbye by William Lee
Respect for Home by Birgitte Tarding
Always Growing by Lisa Westfall

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on (no markup; at cost + shipping):

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

CHM Summer 2013 Cover Blog

Published on!

19 10 2012

My friend and freelance writer, Nancy Dunham, wrote a great recap for about the Kathy Mattea concert we saw at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA on September 26. One of my photographs accompanies her recap! I photographed Kathy Mattea with Nancy after the concert (at right).

Check out Nancy’s recap of the concert here and see more of her work on her website here. Thanks for the exposure, Nancy!

FAVE: Literary classics poster-ized

20 01 2012

Yesterday I received a lovely comment from blogger Ben Cohen-Leadholm. Ben’s website, My Family Activities, “helps parents claim their mojo through family activities that don’t suck.” Do check out his site if you have children and have, as Ben frames it, “pretty much stopped growing as a person independent of your children.” The site showcases a plethora of interesting family activities as well as great interviews with parents who have “kept their mojo intact” despite having children.

In his comment on this blog, Ben sent me links items that he thought might be of interest to me and I really loved this one—posters with great works of literature dropped into a silhouette shape pertaining to that particular subject. I also like the clever name of the UK company that produces them—Spineless Classics. Click “browse” on their site to see the many other titles available. Below are The House of the Baskervilles and Peter Pan.

I am so bookmarking this site! (I can order every one of them when I win a lottery and build a house where the library takes up half of the square footage. I’m off to buy a ticket because, in the words of Ed McMahon, “remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter!”)

Check out Ben’s review of this wonderful product on his website here. I wish I had the space to include several in my library—but that would entail getting rid of bookcases and books in order to make room for them!

Below is Ben’s comment, along with other links he suggested. Thanks for the comment and the links, Ben. I’m adding your site to my blogroll.

What a terrific site, Cindy! So glad to have found it. You have wonderful taste and a great diversity of interests. My main focus is fun, unique family activities, but I also keep an eye out for compelling design that’s relevant to parents. Here are some things I thought might interest you: great works of literature on single poster sheet, beautiful and crafty wall murals for kids’ rooms, impressive pirate ship kids’ room. Thanks again for sharing your own content! Love it! Cheers, Ben

A brief lesson in composition by Brian Loflin

30 12 2011

Brian Loflin, a professional photographer living in Austin, Texas, was my boss umpteen years ago (I shant say how many lest I reveal my agedness) and is my photography mentor and lifelong friend. I met him when he was doing a fashion photo shoot for Jones & Jones, an upscale department store at La Plaza Mall in McAllen, Texas. This was one of my first jobs out of college and I was hired to do fashion illustration and write newspaper and ad copy. I was asked to assist Brian and since I had a yen for photography, I relished the chance to do so. Not long after, he offered me a full-time position, and despite the long commute, I accepted without hesitation.

I worked with Brian on myriad advertising and marketing projects and acquired so many skills in the year I was employed as both a graphic designer and photography assistant at his studio, Loflin & Associates, in Brownsville, Texas. I drove from my tiny hometown of Donna, Texas five days a week to Brownsville to work. It was approximately 60 miles each way, so that was a roughly two-hour commute, as traffic wasn’t heavy in that area. If I had to commute 60 miles in the D.C. area, it would take me well over two hours each way, I’m certain. I didn’t mind the commute (especially after my dad offered me his bright orange diesel VW Rabbit to lessen the cost).

Under Brian’s watchful eyes, I became very proficient at b&w film developing and printing, learned a lot about studio lighting for both products and people, went stark crazy learning how to spec type for brochures (this was covered wagon days, well before Jobs and Wozniak offered us Apple and desktop publishing), and accompanied him on unusual photography excursions such as the workings of an aloe vera plant from the field to the final product (fascinating!) and the christening and photo inventory of the world’s largest offshore drilling rig (exhilarating!).

In this recent posting on his natural science photography blog, he offers a brief lesson in composition. Enjoy!

Brian and his wife, Shirley, have published three books: Texas Cacti: A Field Guide and Grasses of the Texas Hill Country: A Field Guide, both published by Texas A&M University Press. Their latest book, Texas Wildflower Vistas and Hidden Treasures, will be hot off the press shortly. Their Grasses book recently received the Carroll Abbott Award from the Native Plant Society of Texas.

FAVE: Sweet Paul Magazine

29 11 2011

Last year ago I wrote about discovering, a self-publishing site. I was recently browsing the lifestyle magazine offerings and stumbled onto Sweet Paul Magazine, a publication based on Paul Lowe’s very successful blog of the same name. His blog was ranked 22nd in the London Times Top 50 Best Design Blogs. Lowe started as a florist and eventually became a food and prop stylist. Originally from Oslo, he now lives and works in New York City.

There are seven issues, beginning with the spring 2010 issue, available for online viewing free or you can purchase a printed version from here. You can also download the pdf version free from The digital version includes both the pdf and iPad formats. Open a free account with to view or purchase publications.

MagCloud is not just for professional publishers! It is a great way to publish personal publications such as calendars, recipe books, a family reunion recap, art or photography portfolios, or a vacation travelogue, for example. It’s also less expensive than publishing a hard cover book. At just .20 cents a page for the standard size, a 48-page full-color magazine would cost you $9.60 (plus shipping charges) for each issue (compared to $28.95 for a softcover book at—for a page count from 41-80 total). No, it’s not a book you’ll get from, but I can attest to the quality of the paper and the printing. As long as your layout program allows you to output to a high resolution pdf file, you’re golden! And remember, the total number of pages in your file, including the covers, must be evenly divisible by 4 (graphic design speak here). The standard size publication is 8.5 x 11 (and bleeds are allowed), but they just introduced a half size “digest” that measures 5.5 x 8.5.

I’m working on a magazine publication for my photography exhibit in spring 2012 and will be trying my hand at publishing on this site. I’ve purchased sample magazines from the site before and the quality is stellar and very reasonably priced. The best part? You can order as little as one copy of your publication! I wrote in detail about this print-on-demand site on this blog in July 2010 here and in January 2010 here. Oh, and another plus—you can actually sell your publication from the site. When you finish that reunion recap, send your relatives to the link and make them pay for their copy (bonus: you can make it available “at cost” plus shipping or mark up the price and pocket the rest for your efforts).

View the winter 2011 issue on his site here:

On the left side of the site, you can click on “back issues” to view the other six publications. It’s well worth the browsing time. His first publication was 74 pages long; subsequent issues run up to nearly 200 pages long! It is full of beautiful photography and page layout, fun crafts, entertaining tips, recipes, and decorating ideas. I think he’s giving Martha Stewart a run for her money (at least attempting to!).

Hearing Loss Magazine: 2011 Recap

23 11 2011

The last issue in 2011 of the Hearing Loss Magazine (HLM), published by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), just arrived in member mailboxes. I design the bimonthly magazine and provide photography services to HLAA.

January/February 2011: I photographed Bill and his wife Mary Beth this past summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was there as the keynote speaker for HLAA’s annual convention in June 2010. Bill is one of 15,000 people in the United States and 100,000 in the world with Usher Syndrome Type II, which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness. Bill has worn hearing aids since he was five years old, but in 1987 he discovered that he had been slowly going blind his whole life. Usher Syndrome Type II is an inherited condition. The vision loss is due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative condition of the retina, and the hearing loss is due to a genetic mutation affecting nerve cells in the cochlea. Despite their challenges, the Barkeleys are the most down-to-earth, upbeat and positive couple that I’ve ever met!

In his article, No Barriers, Bill wrote about dealing with hearing loss since early childhood, marrying Mary Beth and raising their three sons, then being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type II. By 2007 he had worked his way up to being a director of sales and marketing for a Fortune 500 company. He then decided he “needed a challenge and a vision to help take me on the next phase of my life.” At age 45, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, utilizing the latest hearing aids, FM systems and Bluetooth technology. He said it changed his life. “I retired from my 25-year career. I became a deaf-blind adventurer and storyteller, traveling the globe while sharing a message of inspiration, aspiration, hope and faith for those with hearing and vision loss.” Read Bill’s article here: HLM Bill Barkeley

Also in this issue: Mary Beth Barkeley’s For Better or Worse, Lise Hamlin’s The Future is Here: The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Jennifer Stuessy’s “Organic” Solutions, Sam Trychin’s How Were Your Holidays?, Get in the Hearing Loop by Brenda Battat and Patricia Krikos, It’s Good Business to Walk4Hearing by Ronnie Adler and Rebecca Lander, Hiding My Hearing Aids? Not Anymore! by Hayleigh Scott, and Is Auditory Training Effective in Improving Listening Skills by Mark Ross.

March/April 2011: The 2011 HLAA Convention in Washington, D.C. was the cover focus for this issue. Also in this issue: Come to the 2nd International Hearing Loop Conference by Dana Mulvaney, Cell Phone Inventor Forsees a Universal Ear by Larry Herbert, Small and Convenient: Today’s Hearing Aid Designs by Mark Ross, Lise Hamlin’s Standing Up for Movie Captioning, Walk4Hearing Keeps Stepping Forward by Ronnie Adler and Rebecca Lander, and author Jennifer Rosner’s At Bedtime, a story about her daughters, Sophia and Juliet. HLAA Executive Director Brenda Battat asked members to participate in a survey about jury duty in this issue.

May/June 2011: This month’s cover feature was my dear friend and HLAA member Lynn Rousseau. Lynn’s love of dance and performing garnered her several “15 minutes of fame” moments—in her teens she was just one of three girls chosen to perform every Saturday on the Rick Shaw Show and the Saturday Hop Show in Miami. She performed at legendary Miami Beach hotels and her first television show was with Paul Revere & the Raiders, Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Diamond. She also had a small part on the big screen in Smokey and the Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason, had the opportunity to dance with the June Taylor dancers, and was an extra on the movie, Doc Hollywood, with Michael J. Fox.

In her feature article, The Beat Goes On…, she shares both the sad and funny moments in her life concerning hearing loss, introduces us to her incredibly supportive family (husband Joel, three children, and eight grandchildren), and reveals her diagnosis of and subsequent recovery from breast cancer in 2008. My father, H.M. Dyer, co-authored and edited the article. He also has a blog— I photographed Lynn at the HLAA 2010 Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for this cover. You can read Lynn’s article here: Lynn Rousseau

Also in this issue: Living Well with Hearing Loss: Professional and Consumer Collaboration for Hearing Loss Support Programs by Patricia Kricos, HLAA Convention 2011 by Nancy Macklin, Mark Ross’ On the Job: The Effects of an Untreated Hearing Loss on Workplace Compensation, Sam Trychin’s Making Changes: Tools from the IDA Institute, At Work with Hearing Loss by Kathi Mestayer, Judy Martin’s In Complete: Walt Ivey—Musician, Audiologist and HLAA Member, and Lise Hamlin’s Emergency Preparedness—Once Again.

July/August 2011: This month’s cover subject is my friend and fellow blogger from Oslo, Norway—Ulf Nagel, accompanied by his handsome son, Oskar. I discovered Ulf’s very insightful, well-researched and painfully honest blog, Becoming Deaf in Norway, on Abbie (Cranmer) Hlavacek’s blogroll a few years ago. With editing and compilation assistance from Hershel M. Dyer and beautiful photos by Anne K. Haga, Ulf’s story—From Silence to Sound: My Quest to Hear Again—debuted in this issue. Ulf works as an IT consultant. He and his fiance, Mette, recently added a baby girl, Joanna, to their family, which includes sons Oskar and Gabriel. You can read Ulf’s article here: Ulf Nagel Feature

Also in this issue: From a Body Hearing Aid to a Cochlear Implant by Mark Ross, A Look Into the Mind and Heart of Caring Physician by Barbara Liss Chertok, Pam Stemper’s We Finish Only to Begin, Penny Allen’s The Important Stuff and Lise Hamlin’s Jury Duty: Will You Serve?

September/October 2011: Michael Eury’s article How My Hearing Loss Made Me a Superhero was the cover feature for this issue. Michael approached Barbara Kelley (the editor-in-chief) and me this past spring and proposed writing his story for the magazine and pitched an idea for a conceptual cover. With the help of fellow photographer Ed Fagan and set assistance by Michael Schwehr, we captured his superhero spirit! Eury wears binaural hearing aids and has been a member of HLAA since 2005. He is the state president of HLA-NC and is a 2011 recipient of the Spirit of HLAA Award. He lives in Concord, North Carolina, with his wife, Rose, who has loyally stood by his side during his journey through life with hearing loss. Michael is the editor of Back Issue, a comics history magazine published eight times a year by TwoMorrows Publishing of Raleigh, North Carolina. He is also a prolific published author. You can read his article here: MichaelEurySuperhero

Also in this issue: Unbundling: A Way to Make Hearing Aids More Affordable? by Stephanie Sjoblad and Barbara Winslow Warren, Decibels and Dollars: A Look at Hearing Aid Features Across Price Points, Lise Hamlin’s Make Hearing Aids Affordable: Insurance Coverage in the Workplace, and Peter Yerkes’ Listening Closely—A Journey to Bilateral Hearing. Hearing Loss Magazine‘s new Seen & Heard column debuted in this issue with profiles on HLAA members Danielle Nicosia and John Kinstler.

November/December 2011: Senthil Srinivasan’s article, Opening Up, is our cover feature for this issue. I met Senthil online after discovering his website, Outerchat, and asked him if he would be interested in being profiled for the magazine. I first met him and his parents at the HLAA Convention 2010 in Milwaukee. He flew to Washington, D.C. in September so I could photograph him for the cover. Senthil lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and for the past six years has worked as a web designer for PowerSports Network in Sussex, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Visit his blog at You can read his article here: SenthilSrinivasanOpensUp

Also in this issue: Carleigh’s Story by Syndi Lyon, Brad Ingrao’s 21st Century Connectivity in Hearing Devices, Barbara Kelley’s It’s Football Season! Where is Reed Doughty Now?, Scott Bally’s The Indomitable Spirit of the Kennedy Center’s Betty Siegel, Lise Hamlin’s The FCC, HLAA and Technology, and Seen & Heard with HLAA member Judy Martin.

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, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.

Published: Fall—The Garden’s Grand Finale

19 10 2011

I just had an article published, accompanied by my photos, on the “Bloomin’ Blog” at I’ll be writing a monthly column for them on all things gardening and flower-related. Read my October entry in the link below:

Joe McNally Presents: A 9/11 Remembrance, In Pictures

6 09 2011

Joe McNally is one of my very favorite photographers. He has been shooting for more than 30 years and was LIFE magazine’s staff photographer from 1994-1998. He has contributed to National Geographic magazine for 20 years and is the author of The Moment It Clicks and The Hotshoe Diaries (which I highly recommend adding to your library!). Wikipedia reports, “McNally has been described by American Photo magazine as perhaps the most versatile photojournalist working today and was listed as one of the hundred most important people in photography.” Check out McNally’s website and blog here.

I attended one of his Flash Bus Tour workshops in Austin this past spring. He paired up with local photographer and flash guru, David Hobby of fame, for the entire tour. Dave lives in nearby Maryland and his website is a great resource for lighting tips. (I intend to blog about that fantastic workshop and share photos soon. I shot this photo of Joe during the workshop).

McNally recently guest blogged on Scott Kelby‘s Photoshop Insider blog. Scott, another of my favorite teachers, is a graphic designer, photographer, the editor-in-chief of Photoshop User magazine and the founder of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). Scott is a best-selling author as well, having penned more than 40 books. He is also president of Kelby Media Group, an Oldsmar, Florida-based software training, education, and publishing firm. He is most definitely a Renaissance man—there’s not much he can’t (or doesn’t already) do!

In his guest spot, McNally writes about shooting 246 portraits of NYC firemen with the Giant Polaroid camera in the aftermath of 9/11 in Joe McNally Presents: A 9/11 Remembrance, In Pictures. It is an inspiring read with amazing photos accompanying it. Head over to it here.

Every cloud has a silver lining…

13 07 2011

Yes, more clouds! Want to know where that expression comes from? Check this site out here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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.

Re-post: After a spring rain

6 05 2011

Originally posted 5/8/2009

Photos taken this morning at Green Spring Gardens, just after the morning downpour. This time I was prepared—I brought a large trash bag to sit on. Unfortunately, when one sits on a slope to photograph a flower, one will soon find one’s behind sliding off the edge of the plastic and one’s pants would soon absorb the surrounding mud and water. I speak from experience. Ah, well. No pain, no beautiful flower shots, eh?

A Spring Rain by Raymond A. Foss

The world is wet today
luxurious, damp, drenched
drops hug the leaves,
anoint the still budded lilac blossoms
before their blooming
rich purple and plum
made richer by their watery skin
New leaves under the weight
droplets heavy, hanging
bowing the white pine needles
undersides exposed to drink
drink in the morning
hushed in the rain
temperature near the dewpoint
sprouts of just planted flowers
eager from the parched soil
new puddles bloom too
on the ground, the driveway
collect and gather
without the smell of summer rain yet
tears splash and spread
silent shimmers, heralds, messengers
in the spring rain


I came across the above poem and it was perfect for this posting. I looked at the name and wondered why it looked so familiar. Apparently I’m drawn to this man’s nature- and garden-inspired poetry because I published (with his permission) another of his poems on my blog in August 2007. His poem was a great accompaniment for my posting about harvesting Concord grapes in our backyard garden. Click here for that post and Raymond’s beautiful poem, Smell of Autumn. I most recently posted his poem, Chartreuse, on my blog in April. Click here for that post. Raymond has written more than 11,000 poems to date and all of them can be found here. Click on “Poems” beneath his photo. Raymond’s blog can be found here.

Thank you for letting me share your poetry on my blog, Raymond. If you ever want to publish a book of your poetry, give me a shout—I would love to design it for you!

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


From my library: The Hunting Years

3 05 2011

In June 1983, while working as a fashion illustrator for Jones & Jones, an upscale department store in McAllen, Texas, I accompanied my friend Andrea (also the store’s book buyer) to the American Booksellers Association convention in Dallas. (This was the same convention where I got up close and personal with several celebrities who had released books at that time: Dick Cavett, Erma Bombeck, Shirley MacLaine (can’t believe I actually found a recap from People magazine of her actual breakfast talk here!), Art Buchwald, Leo Buscaglia (‘King of the hug’ author—and yes, he did hug me, unsolicited), Leroy Neiman, Lana Turner and Richard Simmons (got a hug from him, too). I had them all autograph my badge; wish I knew where I squirreled away that item!) In the exhibit hall I picked up an “advance reading copy” of The Hunting Years, a novel by David Kranes. It was later published by Peregrine Smith Books in 1984.

Here’s the synopsis on the back: Hunt is an artist. To his wife Leah, he is an enigma. To his young sons, he is merely “sometimes weird.” In this melancholic/comic third novel, David Kranes gives us Hunt as an artist and family man trying to reconcile the life in his imagination with his life in The World.

Obviously I loved this book—it is still in my library after all these years. I’m not sure if it’s because I can somewhat identify with Hunt “trying to reconcile the life in his imagination….” or just because there are so many passages that are just painfully poetic. After I read it, I could envision it being translated into movie form. (I felt the same way after reading Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, and voila! the producers read my mind and the movie materialized a few years later. And Hollywood, if you’re still listening, how about a film adaptation of James McBride’s book, The Color of Water?)

In my favorite passage in The Hunting Years, Hunt’s wife Leah, who loves feeding the birds outside their home, is watching the weather suddenly change from sunny to a full-blown ice storm. She had put out food for the birds just before the drastic change in weather and twenty minutes later she returns to the window and sees the birds frozen in place on the lawn.

Hunt! It was Hunt! Hunt had done this! Somehow it was all connected in her mind. And all confused. All of Hunt’s sorry seekings and indecisions had made a heaven, had made a sky that acted with such swift and stupid cruelty. Leah ran outside. No birds moved. It was thirty degrees, another upswing, and sun broke everywhere, splashed carelessly through trees and all over the yard. It made no sense. Leah moved in one direction. Then another. Her throat unwound sounds. She was a murderess! She made a word: “…Bird?” But the world was motionless. No wind even. The food globes hung around like still crystal from their strings. Unable to bear any more complicity, finally, Leah bent and snatched up a glistening husk, an evening grossbeak in its shell of ice, and hurled it, high as she could, into the white pine branches. It was a dozen forms of denial, the act. But it was fury and rage, too. It was terrible anger. But a miraculous thing happened. The boughs of the pine delicately brushed and cracked open the ice. And it dropped away. Like pieces of the finest wineglass, bough to bough, the casing fell. And the bird…! Leah’s mouth swung open. It was as though, ice free, its down and feathers radiated from some center, took on a shape, substance, grew. Leah thought she was imagining. She believed that the madness she had thought possible throughout the whole winter had arrived. But the bird rose! Wings unshackled, it assumed the air. And its freedom…and its flight…were both real. Leah shrieked a new, wild, victorious scream. She ran from imprisoned bird to imprisoned bird, falling repeatedly but lifting and unfurling them high, high into the releasing pine. Now the temperature was thirty. Now above. The sun grew generous; there was a new benevolence in the air. Fractured ice crystals fell, sounding like windchimes. Another grossbeak took flight! A chickadee! A junco! Wings beat! and Leah was spinning and falling and hurling but shouting, “Fly!” to the birds. And, “Fly!”

Although this book is rather old, I did find this excellent review below by Miriam Berkley on the The New York Times website: “Like the ambitious and provocative novel he inhabits, the hero of The Hunting Years is brilliant and elusive. An artist living on a New Hampshire farm, Hunt is a well-intentioned man but not easy to deal with as he wanders through life seeking his proper relationship to the world. His paintings vary widely in both the style and subject matter, reflecting his state of mind. He fantasizes frequently, communicates erratically and equally exasperates his wife, Leah, and his paramour, Anne. (The affair with Anne is brief—the traits that make Hunt a difficult husband, especially his inability to let another person get close, also make him a frustrating lover.) One of two young sons observes, ”Sometimes dad lives on another planet.” When the novel opens Hunt is in his ”Blue Period,” a time of emotional and artistic paralysis during which his canvases remain empty and his marriage goes sour. One morning he awakens literally paralyzed and unable to open his eyes; a doctor’s punch in Hunt’s solar plexus finally unclenches them. Later, while visiting London, he tries to slit his wrists. The landlady at the rooming house tells him, ”don’t be blue,” and upon returning home Hunt follows her injunction and begins painting outsized fruits and vegetables in brilliant colors. As Hunt’s adventures continue—he travels to Las Vegas, Nev., and Tucson, Ariz.—we witness the gradual emergence of his capacity for love. And along the way, there are some wonderful set pieces and humorous scenes—a sendup of the art world, for instance, in which Hunt works as a ”ghost painter,” the visual equivalent of a ghostwriter, and produces a series of paintings that he cannot acknowledge, or the description of Hunt’s turning to minimalism as a way of life and art after being accused of excess. David Kranes’s prose is spare and lovely, his portrait of Hunt as well as that of Leah is compelling, even if at the end his hero remains mysterious. In the final scene Hunt realizes, ”this World is too large. It’s too vast. No wonder, for a while, I was painting only avocados.” Nearly killed in an accident, he’s glad simply to be alive, and thinks, ”It was all startling.” Readers following Hunt’s adventures will agree.”

My GardenMuse blog has been Freshly Pressed today!

27 01 2011

Each weekday WordPress selects about ten new blog posts for the “Freshly Pressed” section of the homepage. According to WordPress: These posts represent how WordPress can be used to entertain, enlighten, or inspire. Getting promoted to Freshly Pressed is a major traffic win because receives a high volume of page views. And, we have a feed set up so people can subscribe to Freshly Pressed. Why do we do all this? It’s our way of saying we like you. We really like you.

I awoke this morning to more than a dozen comments on my garden blog, Several of the lovely visitor comments ended with either, “congrats on the feature” or “congrats on being FP.” FP? What is an FP? Then I realized they were congratulating me on being “Freshly Pressed.” I went directly to the main homepage and voila! I had been Freshly Pressed. Thanks for making my day, WordPress!

The Orphaned Images Project: Resseguie, Comstock and sundry items

20 01 2011

Several years ago Michael and I attended an ephemera auction in Alexandria, Virginia on a whim. We were out shopping and saw a sign announcing the auction to be held the next night, so we decided to check it out. I don’t remember spending much money (less than $100, as I recall), but I came away with a wealth of paper treasures. In addition to several etchings (one dated 1794!), I acquired a medium-sized (ratty) rattan suitcase, its lid bulging from the contents of the case—early 1900s photographs, concert programs (including a Casino de Paris production of Charming Paris, directed by Henri Varna and featuring French film actor Robert Berri, Joan Daniell, Nicolas Arasse and others), a 1910-11 Scholar’s Monthly Report (for fifth grader Earl C. Holsinger from Mayland, VA), books (including Hindenburg’s March into London, translated from the German original and published in 1916 by the John C. Winston Company in Philadelphia), postcards, magazines (including a 1920 Harper’s Magazine), newspaper clippings, a Savings Bank of Baltimore statement booklet (for Mr. Carl E. Weingarten of Baltimore, MD with deposits in 1939–1941 ranging from $1.10 to a royal sum of $5.00!), a 1921 automobile insurance card (for Raymond Koonts of Bedford County, PA), several 1930 Western Union Cablegrams (sent to London from a New Jersey woman named Mimi reporting about a man named Gunnar who is very ill), handwritten letters from a Syracuse University student from Maryland in 1972, and manuals for everything from motors to kitchen appliances. There are numerous other items that I’ll share with you as the mood strikes me. I have no clue as to whether this collection is from one sentimental person or a jumbled mix thrown together by the auctioneer. In any case, I will share a few of the more interesting items from this treasure trove of history.

Most items were loose in the suitcase, but there was one plastic baggie with a stack of photos seemingly all relating to a house or two and the families who resided there. Several of the photos show a family on the front porch of a beautiful white two-story structure, a grandfather with his grandchildren and various gardens around a house. The first photo is a b&w postcard of a watercolor painting of a house labeled “Alexander Resseguie—1738.” Written in pencil on the back is the following:

My great grandfather purchased this house in 1858 for his son-in-law James Comstock, who was my grandfather (father of Strong Comstock). The original Comstock house was across the road on land still in the family (grant of land, 1700) long since burned.


In my research I first found mention of an Alexander Resseguie in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1709. Below is an excerpt from the genealogical record I found on this site here.

Alexander Resseguie was a settler in Norwalk, Conn., in 1709. Tradition has it that he was the younger son of one Alexandre Resseguie, a Huguenot refugee from France, who brought with him from the mother country a small hair-covered trunk, studded with iron nails, containing all of the family wealth he was able to secure, consisting largely of title deeds to property in France. Hoping to some day regain his abandoned possessions, he educated his eldest son to the profession of the law, intending when the time was ripe, he should return to Fiance and establish a claim to the family estates. This hope was destined never to be realized, for the son died just previous to the time of his intended departure on this mission, and the father, disheartened, abandoned the undertaking; the trunk* and papers passed into the possession of the younger son, and at a subsequent period the latter were, the most of them, destroyed by fire.

(*This trunk is now in the possession of Col. George E. Gray of San Francisco, It is eleven and one-half inches long, seven inches wide, and four inches high; the top oval. The wood is worm-eaten; very little hair remains upon the leather, and the nails with which it is studded are of hammered iron. The papers contained in the trunk were nearly all destroyed by fire, by the wife of Timothy Resseguie (14), during a fit of temporary insanity.)

Just how much of fact underlies this tradition we know not. It is the opinion of the compiler that the family fled to England, before coming to this country, and that one Alexandre de Ressiguier, from Trescle’oux, in Dauphiny, who was known as a silk manufacturer in London, in 1696, was the father of Alexander of Norwalk. It is probable that an earlier residence of the family in America would have been a matter of record, but no trace of the name of Resseguie (save one * ) has been found prior to the appearance of Alexander in Norwalk, in 1709. Thus we are compelled to record him as the head of the family, and the ancestor of the American Resseguies. On the first day of April, 1709, he purchased a tract of land of Samuel St. John, and from this time for many years, he was interested in acquiring land, the records showing one hundred or more estates to which he held the titles, located in what is now comprised in the towns of Nonvalk, Wilton, Ridgefield, New Canaan, Westport and Weston. The ability to make these large acquisitions would seem to indicate the substantial character of the contents of the hair trunk.


So here I am with my (ratty) rattan suitcase full of treasures, suddenly wishing I possessed the moth-eaten leather trunk! It is highly likely the house in these photos was inhabited by generations of people related to Alexandre Resseguie. Let’s go with that assumption until I discover otherwise.

Notes: The photo of the little girl has “Lilly” written in pencil on the back. Looks like Grandpa is catching a few zzzzz’s before dinner in the photo of the elderly gentleman in the dining room. The last photo of a house may be the same house and perhaps the portico was changed at a later date. I zoomed in on the photo in Photoshop and the shutters and narrow windows on either side of the front door are the same, but it could possibly be the original Comstock house directly across the street from this house, which, according to the postcard author, “long since burned down.” It looks like there is a lively lawn party going on—and take a look at the car in the foreground!

When researching just exactly what classifies as “ephemera,” I discovered there is a club for such collectors (but of course there is!)—The Ephemera Society of America. Their definition of ephemera: “includes a broad range of minor (and sometimes major) everyday documents intended for one-time or short-term use.” I wouldn’t consider these family photos “one-time or short-term” use, but my suitcase did contain a lot of memorabilia, ticket stubs, programs and the like.

Tom & Bernie

6 12 2010

A photo I shot of my good friend Tom with his father, Bernie, was recently used in a brochure for Cochlear Americas (brochure shown below). Bernie has a cochlear implant. I photographed Tom, his wife Holly, and their dog Bailey at their new home in Arlington when Bernie was visiting this past spring. Tom wrote about his father’s hearing loss for the July/August 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published by the Hearing Loss Association of America.

My favorite memory he shared was about when his dad won a Corvair during a prize drawing that People’s Drug launched in 1960 to celebrate the opening of their 100th store. In his article, My Dad, the Ford Man, Tom writes, “We have a picture of the whole family posing with Bozo the Clown (Willard Scott). Although my dad was thrilled to win the car, he is a lifelong Ford man. As you may recall, the Corvair inspired Ralph Nader to write the book, Unsafe at Any Speed. So much for that prize! Dad grumbled about the Corvair for four years before going back to a Ford.” (Thanks to Tom’s sister for providing the 1960 photo.)

You can read Tom’s article here: BernieHedstromArticle


3 08 2010

A few months ago, I mentioned I had a fun shoot assignment for Gallaudet University Press. Today, my Hearing Loss Magazine editor, Barbara, e-mailed me the link to this book cover and asked if this is the one I had shot.

Turns out the photo was being used for the cover of Sara Laufer Batinovich’s book, Sound Sense: Living and Learning with Hearing Loss, to be released in October! I think the cover turned out great—love the clean silhouette treatment of the model. I’ve been published on lots of trade and professional association magazine covers and interiors, but this is my first stock shoot for a book cover.

While I haven’t met Sara in person, I have corresponded with her via e-mail and have done layouts on an article or two that she has written for the magazine. It was cool to find out the photo was to be used on the cover of a book authored by a Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) member and someone I just happen to know! If you’re interested in learning more about Sara’s book, click here.

FAVE: Posts on Lindsey’s blog, A Design So Vast

27 07 2010

While these four posts in particular resonate with me, I enjoy everything this woman writes. I trust you will as well.

Why I write

The things I carry

One phone call from our knees

My real life has already begun

Know the difference between a rabbit and a hare?

13 06 2010

Well, you will shortly. Mosey on over to my father’s blog (click on link below) and learn some fascinating facts about both! (And you thought I was the only one who researched my subjects ad nauseum—I am my father’s daughter. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!).

See more of my father’s pondering, hypothesizing and philosophizing, musings, comments, lectures, diatribes, royal reflections and revelations, essays, memoirs, biographies and autobiographies, tall tales, fables, childhood memories, yarns, jokes, poems, political and social commentary, and my favorite of his topics—excellent grammatical lessons—on his website,

And the entries just keep a’comin’…

13 06 2010

Below are three entrants (and the only entrants thus far, bless them) of my Polaroid Notecards Essay Contest. Thanks to Alex, Bo and CheyAnne for submitting their wonderful essays. Read more about the contest (you, too, could win!) here. Contest rules and regulations can be found here. And remember, just like the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes—if you don’t enter, you can’t win!

First up is Alex Solla, of Cold Springs Studio Pottery and Photography, in Trumansburg, NY. (Be sure to check out his website below—he and his wife, Nancy, create beautiful pottery in truly yummy colors!) To preface his essay, Alex wrote: “Alright Cindy, you win. I held out because I figured you would be inundated with stories and after the umpteenth,the last thing you would want is to hear yet another gardening story. Having held a few contests over at my pottery blog, I know that a lot of times, folks just don’t anty up. No clue as to why. So here’s your story:

Ten years ago this August, I bought the house we live in. A month later I met my wife Nancy. One of our first goals was to clean up the yard and prepare a veggie garden. For the most part this yard was as flat as a pancake. The only distinguishing features were tall white pines lining the driveway, a huge blue spruce next to a very old outhouse and between both…was this enormous pile of blackberry brambles and grapevine. Fifty feet on all sides—it was HUGE! We tried at first to mow it. Broke a very expensive old riding mower. Ripped the transmission completely out of the machine. Then we tried the age old jungle solution: the machete. After a few near misses with my shins, we called that experiment done. That night, as my wife and I sat soaked in sweat, trying to imagine the dirt under all that overgrowth, our neighbor arrived. Most folks have neighbors who go to work at a normal hour and mow the yard on the weekend. Not mine. He’s an excavator, so he is up before 5 a.m. revving engines of his dozers and backhoes and such. Well, he took one look at our project and zipped back over to his house. The next thing we know, he is driving a monster backhoe through our yard. He spent the next hour as the sun set, ripping out roots of grapevines that were huge stumps! He took all of this green and by the time he went home, we could see DIRT! With all the plant material staring us in the face, we took some of the other move-in detritus and made the most beautiful burn pile. A week later, we had cleared, fenced, rich soil.

Because of all that sweat and toil, the first plants to grow into this garden held a special place in my heart. I had never photographed flowers or plants before, but as soon as we had color that spring, I was out in the garden shooting every flower I could catch. This started my love affair with plant photography. Your blog has been a huge inspiration. Your color saturation is just amazing. If you ever have time, would you consider writing a tutorial about how you capture such fantastic images?

Alex Solla
Cold Springs Studio Pottery and Photography
Trumansburg, NY



HEAD JUDGE’S NOTE: Alex wins extra points (and possibly extra notecards!) by shamelessly flattering the head judge at the end of his essay! And to answer your question about writing a garden photography tutorial—it’s in the works, so please stay tuned.


Next up is Bo Mackison, of Seeded Earth Studio, LLC, in Madison, Wisconsin. Bo is a frequent contributor to, writing and photographing for both the Wandering Wisconsin and Travel Green. Her photography has been featured in regional and national architectural magazines, national travel guides and in a book on Functional Architecture published in 2009.

I have only a fairly small garden, maybe four or five dozen perennials. And each spring and summer, these eagerly awaited for blooms are half eaten by the rabbits in my yard who are attracted by my gourmet floral dinners. They are particularly fond of my coral bells, sweet williams, and balloon flowers. I have taken to spraying the garden with a foul smelling concoction—organic and putrid. It reminds me of a spoiled milk, rotten egg combination, plus a few other horrible odors thrown in for good measure. It successfully keeps the rabbits away, so I can still enjoy looking at my flowers, but it totally prevents me from photographing my flowers.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if I could shoot and run. Grab my camera, hold my breath, run up, and take a quick snapshot. Unfortunately, that is not my photographic style. I like to get close when photographing my flowers. Really close. I like to study the angles and natural lighting, brush off specks of dirt and remove wandering insects. More often than not, I find myself lying on the earth, looking straight up the stem of a flowering plant, trying to capture an unusual perspective. I can do none of this when the plants are saturated in “Stinky-Rabbit-Keep-Away.”

I have solved my problem with a compromise. I spray my garden so I can at least enjoy the beauty of the flowers. And then I travel a few miles down the road to a wonderful garden planted by the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Horticulture. In a garden less than 2.5 acres, there are literally thousands of plants, many of them experimental, so there are many opportunities for me to look for that special blossom.

I truly have a feast of flowers to photograph, and without any assault to my nose. The garden’s tall fences do a great job of protecting the flowers and plants from hungry critters. And I can take my photographs at my leisure, sometimes spending several hours in the garden, often flat on my back, three or four days a week.

Yes, my idea of heaven on earth! Literally.

Bo Mackison
Seeded Earth Studio LLC
Madison, WI  





And last, but not least, is CheyAnne Sexton, a talented watercolor artist and photographer from New Mexico.

Let’s see, where to start. Quite a few years ago, while I was raising our babies in a little mobile home park in the mountains west of Durango, Colorado, I started to garden. I loved this space we had been living in just because of the water available to use in the garden. The area was a canyon that ran north and south, so in the summer when it was blazing hot in the Colorado sun, my yard was in cool, wonderful shade. I loved this yard, but it was sadly very bare. Too many people had lived and moved away without caring about the earth around them.

An older woman in the neighborhood asked me to come and help in her yard and my husband agreed to watch the little ones. Her yard was overtaken with these beautiful little yellow flowers. I found out later that they were buttercups. I fell in love immediately. They had deep green leaves and bright, bright yellow cups about the size of my thumb. They spread by runners and grew short in the sunshine but longer and more leggy in the shade. Well, this woman wanted me to pull them all and throw them away. I couldn’t bare the thought of throwing these beauties out so I asked if it was alright to keep them myself. She assured me I really didn’t want to, but please help myself and please try to get them all. I had learned the hard way that it’s a lot easier to pull “weeds” if the ground is wet, so I soaked and pulled, and pulled and pulled them all. Her yard look so bare, I felt guilty, but I was so happy because I had soda cardboard flats full of these wonderful little creatures to take back to my own bare yard. Another lesson I learned quickly—It’s a lot easier to pull than plant! But plant I did, for quite a few days and still I had more left. I started giving them away to other neighbors and finally I left the couple of remaining flats lying by the strawberry bed, determined to not care if just these 40 or so remaining plants died, because I had already saved sooooo many. Even these grew from the little bit of guilty watering I did when I watered the strawberries.

These little buttercups grew everywhere I planted them and even beyond there to places out of reach. It was wonderful to watch. In fact, a few years later I dug up invading ones and sold them to a local nursery in town. Fun, fun, fun! Buttercups are still one of my favorite flowers to see. I don’t have any here in northern New Mexico and I’m not sure I will. They do like lots of water, and since we haul all our water for plantings, that amount is just not feasible right now. In fact, I have seen a similar variety growing by the acequias here. I have yet to investigate—I’m a little afraid that I would fall in love all over again with their sweet little yellow faces. I have been known to get out my trusty little foldable garden shovel for just such inspirations!


Paintings and photography for sale:

14 Tips for Better Event Photography

27 05 2010

My latest writing assignment was for This article is all about how to improve your photography skills at events such as weddings and parties. I also show examples from weddings that I’ve photographed recently. Check it out here.

My postings for the sister site,, are Got the Blues? and A Passion for Purple Flowers.

Redux x 2: Still unidentified blue pinwheel thingie

7 04 2010

Previously posted in March 2008

I photographed this same type of flower a few years ago (see link here), and I still haven’t been successful in identifying it. I think I’ll take a print to Green Spring Gardens and maybe they can identify it (since they’re the ones who grew it). In the link I just provided, you’ll read my father’s take on the origin of the flower. It was quite involved (he had extra time on his hands, apparently), but still didn’t really identify the flower.

FYI—in reference to my father’s note about not pronouncing the “h” in “herb”—no matter how often I tell him that it’s usually the British who pronounce the “h” in “herb,” he still thinks that’s the only way to pronounce the word. He even points out that if Martha Stewart says it like that, then it must be right. (He says that if “erb” is correct, then we should also say “umongous,” “uge,” and “erbert oover”—as in the name of our 31st President). I’ve done the research and actually—both pronunciations are correct (although he will never agree). Most Americans say it with a silent “h.” Some pronounce the “h” if it’s a person’s name, then don’t when referencing the green stuff. I’m taking a poll, here and now. How many of you pronounce “herb” with the hard h? And what is your reasoning for doing so?

An aside: While searching “pronounciation of the word herb,” I found a synopsis of one of Alexis Stewart’s (Martha’s daughter) radio shows. In it, Alexis says that her mother pronounces it incorrectly and goes on to explain her mother’s reasoning. (Martha and my dad—separated at birth—who knew?). An excerpt from that review is below. I am not responsible for the terrible practice of not capitalizing the first word of each sentence, nor the positioning of the period outside the quotation marks, nor the lower-casing of Martha’s name. I know better than that. I’m hoping the practice of lower-cased i’s and names is simply a phase bloggers are going through, although I sincerely doubt it. What can I say? Aside from the “Great (H)erb Debate,” I am my father’s daughter.

then alexis said that martha says the word “herb” incorrectly. martha pronounces the “h” and claims she pronounces the “h” because, after all, people pronounce the “h” when they say the name herbert, so why shouldn’t they then pronounce the “h” in the word “herb”.  alexis added that trying to explain to martha why her pronunciation is faulty is like playing tennis with a hopelessly bad player – there’s just nothing you can do about it.

If everyone in America was forced to buy the book(s), The Mac is Not a Typewriter or The PC is Not a Typewriter (excellent little books by Robin Williams—the author, not the actor), we would all be (grammatically and publishing-wise) better for it. I imagine Ms. Williams could retire early if that transpired. I know I could finally stop losing sleep over all those excess spaces after periods and misplaced punctuation.

FYI, contrary to the popularity of the practice, you should only put one space after the end of a sentence before beginning a new one. In covered-wagon days, there were proportional typefaces, and every letter and punctuation mark occupied the same width, so two spaces were necessary to make the sentence break clear. These days, the tap of a keyboard spacebar yields 1.5 characters; plenty for spacing before starting a new sentence. Save those extra spaces for other paragraphs—recycle! Old habits are hard to break. I came from the era of typewriters and had the “two space rule” drilled into my head. Then I entered the world of desktop publishing with my very first Mac. If I can break the habit, so can you. Really. Give it a try. Pretty please? It’s the right thing to do (although you may have been blissfully unaware until just now).

And remember, this rule includes just one space after any punctuation—quotation marks, exclamation points (which my father abhors, but that’s another posting), as well as the oft-used periods.

One comment in a forum on the subject of space after periods signed his letter, “Just say NO to Double Spacing!—brought to you by PADSAP (People Against Double Spacing After Periods).

Whaaaa? There’s a club for people like me? Where do I sign up? Hey Dad—maybe we can get a two-for-one membership.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


H.M. Dyer’s ‘Ode to a cheesecake’

6 04 2010

I must preface my father’s poem (below) by explaining his urge to write about a cheesecake in the first place. In February we hosted a very scaled back Chocoholic Party for friends—aptly renamed the “Cabin Fever with Chocolate Party.” It was scaled back from our annual soiree because of the unprecedented piles of snow in our area, which resulted in virtually no parking for guests from outside the neighborhood. (This annual party usually brings in 35+ chocoholics, so ample parking is necessary!) So, if you could walk to our house in 30+ inches of snow, you were a guest! Anyway, earlier in the week we bought a cheesecake from Costco during our rounds to gather food for this semi-potluck party. I was sitting at the computer working a few days before the party when Michael came downstairs—a brown wrapped package in one hand and a shovel in the other—and unlocked the patio door. I watched him, wondering if he was going to dig a path through the almost three feet of snow to the back gate (and why?). He proceeded to dig a hole into the snow bank just outside the door and buried the package. I then asked, “what in the world did you just bury?” “Cheesecake!” he exclaimed. “There wasn’t any room for it in the refrigerator and since the party is just two days away, I figured it would keep.” There you have it. Such a resourceful man. I think I’ll keep him.

So, my ‘An apology to the wood anemone’ poem (see my previous posting) has inspired my father to write his wonderful ‘Ode to a cheesecake.’ Bravo, bravo, King of Texas! Here are his comments to my post, followed by his poem.


In advance of posting this comment, I humbly offer my abject apologies to the preacher John Donne, to the poet Joyce Kilmer and to the author of ‘An apology to the wood anemone’ . . . It’s not my fault—it’s in my nature—it’s something I cannot control. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa maxima.

Ode to a cheesecake

Breathes there one with soul so dead
That never to one’s self hath said
Methinks that I shall never see
A word so lovely as anemone.

Offed from my tongue it rolls
Sadly as the bell that tolls
Not for thee and not for me
Nor for the lovely anemone.

But for the cheesecake in its bower
Not ‘neath trees nor plants nor showers
Nay, ‘neath snowstorms full of power
Lying beneath the snow for hours
In wait for the chocolate party
To be eaten by goers hearty.

But wait, what’s that I see
Beside the cheesecake ‘neath the snow
The anemone arises ready to go
With the cheesecake to the table
Petals eight to be divided
Among the diners so excited
A ‘nemone to see.

They smell the petals
They hear the bell
They’ll come to know
As time will tell
If snow and cheesecake
Sounds their knell
Or leaves them alive
And well.

— H.M. Dyer (1932-     )

I neglected to give credit to Sir Walter Scott for his poem ‘The lay of the last minstrel’ in my ‘Ode to a cheesecake’—credit is now given. I also neglected to say that I loved your poem ‘An apology to the wood anemone’… Well done!

Your anemone arising from the snow is reminiscent of Thoreau’s “Walden,” in which he tells of a golden bug that in the spring gnawed its way out of a table after being entombed in the wood for many years.


See more of my father’s pondering, hypothesizing and philosophizing, musings, comments, lectures, diatribes, royal reflections and revelations, essays, memoirs, biographies and autobiographies, tall tales, fables, childhood memories, yarns, jokes, poems, political and social commentary, and my favorite of his topics—excellent grammatical lessons—on his website,

Published: A Passion for Purple Flowers

3 03 2010

I recently wrote an article for for their monthly online newsletter. All but three of the photos in the article were shot by me (shown below); the others were purchased from The Flower Shop Network Newsletter is a free monthly e-mail featuring articles based on the knowledge of floral professionals across the country. Once a month, they provide interesting information about all things floral. You can view their newsletter archive and sign up for an e-mail blast here. To read my article, click on the link below:

Design Studio: Membership Brochure

28 02 2010

Client: Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)
8-panel brochure, flat size: 9×16 folds to 4×9; 4-color
© Cindy Dyer
Off to print!

From the brochure…
• 36 million people, approximately 17 percent of adults in the United States, have a hearing loss.
• 60 percent of people with hearing loss are between the ages of 21 and 65.
• More than 20 million Americans have hearing loss from noise.
• More than 59,000 military are on disability status for hearing loss from current conflicts.

If you have a hearing loss or know someone who does, consider joining the HLAA. Individual memberships are just $35 per year for the U.S.; $45 for Canada and Mexico. As a member, you’ll receive the informative bimonthly magazine that I design and produce! Click here to learn more.

Want to be featured in Hearing Loss Magazine? If you have a story to tell about yourself or someone else with hearing loss, we’d love to hear from you! Check out the author guidelines on the link here.

HLAA prints articles and information pieces that discuss anything related to hearing loss. Our goal is to educate readers in all aspects of hearing loss, so that they, in turn, can make choices about how they will live their lives as hard of hearing persons. Feature editorial in each issue covers technology, cochlear implants, legislation, HLAA issues (including but not limited to, board of trustees issues, state organizations and chapters, fundraising), medical, psychosocial topics and personal stories.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

A most educational dissertation on “Glow”

8 10 2009

GlowReferencing my 9/30 posting titled “Glow” (photo seen at right), Katie commented:

“the middle of the flower looks like a female silhouette, was that done on purpose? if not, amazing…if so, amazing still.” ;)

To which my father (nicknamed “The King of Texas” by my friend Debbi) replied:

Katie is right on—there is definitely a female silhouette in the bloom. I can’t believe I missed it—thanks, Katie.

And I can see in the outline that the female is holding a child—great Scott, Cindy! You have captured the Madonna and Child—no, not that Madonna—the one that artists have portrayed over the centuries. Raphael is one of the most famous, but many have painted the Madonna and Child, The Holy Mother and Son, Mary and Jesus.

I can remember stories about images of Mary or Jesus or both being found in tree bark, in a toasted cheese sandwich, in a piece of toast, in an oil slick on the pavement, potato chips and Doritos, and there are probably many more that I missed. And all have drawn crowds of one size or another.

If the news of your Holy Vision in a picture of (whatever that is) gets out, especially to this part of the U.S. and to our nearest neighbor to the south, the faithful will be beating a path to your door. They’ll leave all sorts of flowers, emblems, wreaths, burning candles and notes with wishes and prayers. You’ll have to hose them down just to get out to your car—the faithful, not the burning candles—although the candles could pose a problem for the local fire department.

And it’s possible—nay, probable, that some will bring sick and suffering friends or family members so they can be near such an apparition, in the hopes they will be comforted, perhaps healed.

I believe that you should submit this photo to your local papers, to one or more photography magazines, perhaps present it to some of your local theologians for inspection and comments. You need to protect your rights on this one—it may be a real winner.

And, of course, a closer look may lead one to believe that the image shows a woman holding one child aloft and pregnant with another. Hey, it could still be Mary—we have no way of knowing whether it is, or is not. After all, Joseph had been waiting on the sidelines for quite awhile, probably with mounting impatience (no pun intended) before the Babe was born, and he must have been filled with joy that the Child had arrived. Most men will be able to relate to the joy he felt—I sure can.

And to further clarify, he e-mailed me this morning with:

And if you, with a bit of imagination, can see the outline of a pregnant woman holding a child, I suggest you add another factor, provided your imagination supports it. Since one cannot see any suggestion of clothing in the shadowy image, the figures are probably nude. At any rate, that’s what I see (no big surprise there, huh?). Hey, maybe they’re in the shower.

And if I keep looking at the photo long enough and let my imagination run rampant, I’ll probably find Joseph lurking in the darkness. And if I can’t see him, I can always imagine that he’s somewhere close, just to flesh out (no pun intended) the story.

Incidentally, I found this definition online at I have never confused “flesh out” with “flush out,” but apparently others have—hence the need for an explanation.

One more “incidental:” This refers to the proper use of further vs farther: I found an explanation of their usages at In the definition of “flesh out” versus “flush out,” the author used the word correctly.

I know, I know. I have a lot of time on my hands, an expression that I have often used and will continue to use. I’m still waiting to hear someone say, or write, that perhaps I should “stop dragging my knuckles.”

There—since I am the first to apply that description, I’ve beat everyone else to the punch. (I found the definition for “beat to the punch” at It’s defined as follows:
beat to the draw or punch:

1. To get ahead of someone to obtain something, as in: There was only enough for one, so Jane ran as fast as she could in order to beat Jerry to it. [Colloquial; c. 1900]

2. Beat to the draw or punch. To react more quickly than someone else, as in: The new salesman tried to serve one of my customers, but I beat him to the draw and Bill was determined to get there first and beat everyone else to the punch. The variants imply aggression to get ahead, draw alluding to the drawing of a pistol and punch to hitting with the fists. [Second half of 1800s]

Hey, this has to stop somewhere, so I’m outta here.

Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity

11 07 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, discusses the creative process and how to nurture it. For more inspirational talks, head over to TED.

How my father became the King of Texas

9 07 2009

As a birthday gift one year, my dear friend Debbi wrote and illustrated a fairytale for me. Here is her story.

Once upon a time in the far away Kingdom of Runnymeade lived a beautiful and kind Princess named Cindy. Princess Cindy loved to garden. She was very happy in her little castle, planting seedlings and bulbs and collecting yard art.

Her father was the King of Texas and Princess Cindy loved him very much. Her father came to visit Princess Cindy and was very disturbed by the Kingdom of Runnymeade. “Daughter,” he said, “you live in a tiny Kingdom of cracker boxes. There is no land in which you can grow Texas-sized plants and vegetables. Your neighbors and friends are colorful and strange. Your Kingdom feels like…well, the Projects! I shall forever call your Kingdom ‘The Projects,’” the King of Texas proclaimed.

Princess Cindy was very sad. She knew she had strange and colorful friends but she loved them. Her father, the King of Texas, didn’t understand that the Kingdom of Runnymeade was part of the land of fruit and nuts called Washington, D.C., where everyone was a little crazy.

Princess Cindy looked around her little Kingdom of Runnymeade and realized that her father, the King of Texas, was right about all the royal subjects’ gardens. They were a mess. She summoned two of her loyal friends, Maiden Barbara and Maiden Debbi and told them of her plan to beautify Runnymeade. They loved their garden and thought Princess Cindy had a royal idea. “I will start a Garden Club and beauty will spread through Runnymeade,” said Princess Cindy.

Princess Cindy went to see the Queen President of Runnymeade, Sue. The Queen Prez loved her garden and was excited that one of her royal subjects would volunteer to help the Kingdom. The Queen Prez loved volunteers. “Go for it!” the Queen Prez said.

Princess Cindy printed beautiful flyers, inviting everyone to join her Garden Club. She and Maiden Debbi distributed them throughout the Kingdom. Princess Cindy and Maiden Debbi saw lots of castles that needed help. “I hope they come,” said the Princess.

Princess Cindy was very happy when she realized that there were many subjects who were interested in her Garden Club. They started to meet in Princess Cindy’s castle once a month. Princess Cindy lovingly became known as the Head Cicada because it was Cicada season in her Kingdom and there were millions of them flying all around.

Princess Cindy went to visit Maiden Debbi one day after the cicadas had finally all died. Maiden Debbi’s husband Sir Tom announced Princess Cindy.  “The Head Weed is here!” he proclaimed. “Head Weed….” Princess Cindy thought to herself. “I like that name.” It will be 17 more years before the cicadas return so Princess Cindy decided that Head Weed would be her official title throughout the Kingdom.

Everyone in the Garden Club liked the Head Weed. The Head Weed gave everyone lots of information about gardening. The Garden Club made cement leaves, painted windows, and topiary cone heads. The royal subjects in Runnymeade started caring about their gardens. Beauty was spreading through the Kingdom thanks to the Head Weed. Everyone was happy in the Kingdom of Runnymeade, and they all lived happily ever after.

Moral of the story: Even one little weed can make a difference.


Want to get to know the King of Texas? Now you can! He actually takes time out from his royal duties to blog. Read his letters to the editor of the San Antonio Express-News. Learn about the time he scolded Axel Rose for being rude at the San Antonio Airport. Discover how he met the Queen of Texas. Uncover entertaining stories from his childhood and his service in the Air Force, too. He’ll teach you proper grammar, offer cinematic reviews, brag about his three princesses and delve into politics. You never know what subject he’ll cover from one day to the next—from Boy Scouts to cats to Vietnam to chihuahuas to wayward M&M’s. Pay him a visit here. And please feel free to comment if the urge strikes you. He loves getting feedback from his subjects.