Crab spider on Columbine bloom

16 05 2018

Nikon D850, Nikkor 105mm micro, 1/100, f/18, ISO 500

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB White Spider 1





Crab spider on Columbine bloom

15 05 2018

Nikon D850, Nikkor 105mm micro, 1/100, f/18, ISO 500

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB White Spider 2





Chives and Columbines

26 05 2013

A bed of chives (Allium schoenoprasum) against a backdrop of Columbine (Aquilegia) blooms in the rock garden at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Chives Columbine lorez

 





Yellow Columbine blooms

19 05 2013

Columbine blooms (Aquilegia sp.), photographed against small evergreen trees in the rock garden at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

PaleYellowColumbine





Columbine blooms

15 05 2013

Columbine blooms (Aquilegia sp.), photographed in the rock garden at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Columbine Pink Yellow





Columbine

7 05 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bi-color Columbine

1 05 2012

Columbine (Aquilegia)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Columbine cluster

21 04 2012

Columbine (Aquilegia), photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eye candy, batch #2

11 12 2011

Pulled from the archives of my personal refrigerator magnet poetry, I give to you my handcrafted attempt #1:

January snow blanket melts
cold February moon gone
March winds a memory
a luscious light envelopes
tiny crocus petals whisper spring
most delicate green grass emerges
rain sweetens the earth
bird song filters down
from the impossibly blue blue sky
warm breezes weave through
a gorgeous tapestry of color

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Columbine + today’s photography lesson

20 05 2011

I’m really enjoying experimenting with depth-of-field to create bokeh (pronounced “bo-kuh”) in my flower photography. Yes, you’ll sacrifice the foreground-to-background focus you’d get using smaller apertures, but sometimes a flower demands that effect—use selective focusing and let the other areas go soft.

I decide when I’m going to use larger apertures mostly based on what the background behind my subject looks like. If I’m shooting extremely close up on a flower, I want to capture all the details from front to back and since there wouldn’t be a strong background in those shots, I can use smaller apertures and get really sharp depth-of-field throughout. When the background behind a subject is less than desirable (many colors competing with my subject, sharp lines like grass blades and flower stems, etc.), I’ll try the larger aperture approach until I get that wonderful bokeh photographers strive for. Knocking the background out in some shots can create amazing blobs and streaks of color. Here, the background flowers (Poppies and Rose Campion, as I recall) go completely out of focus, giving this shot what I call the “Skittles” effect!

And now for your daily lecture: If you don’t have a tripod, save up your bucks and get a really good one and use it as often as you can. I’ve always had one and wasn’t religious about using it much until I got serious about my macro photography. Yes, it’s a burden to lug one around, but take a look at the carbon fiber models—they’re much lighter than others. I bought a Benro C-298EX tripod last year at a photography show for under $250 (a steal compared to what I paid for my first carbon fiber tripod when they first came out!) from Hunt’s Photo and Video (great retailer, by the way!). You can find almost all of the Benro models at great prices at Hunt’s Photo here. I don’t think they’re making this model anymore, but there are other Benro carbon fiber models to chose from and some are less expensive. Read the specs; if your camera is lightweight, you could get by with one of the lesser priced models. With this particular model, I can take the center column and switch it from vertical to horizontal for more flexibility. You can also spread the tripod legs independently and lock them in place in three stop increments.

Once you settle on your choice of tripod, add a good tripod head to it. I have some smaller and cheaper tripod heads, but after trying the Manfrotto 322RC2 joystick head, I was sold. It’s not quite as pricey as some of Manfrotto’s other tripod heads (Amazon has it for $129.95 here). When I’m photographing portraits and on-the-go shots, I don’t always use a tripod, but to get really good macro shots, you really should use a tripod. It will free your hands up to tidy up the area around your subject, move leaves/twigs/wayward grasses, etc., and you’ll have a hand free to hold a diffuser if you don’t have a trusty assistant with you!

Then again, a cheaper tripod is better than no tripod at all, I’d venture to say. So, if you can’t afford to splurge on a lightweight carbon fiber model with a really good quick-release ball head, use what you have and work your way up to it when you want to take your work to the next level. In case you’re wondering—no, I don’t get paid for these product endorsements—I just wanted to share some of the tools I use to get those shots!

Addendum: I could just buy one more Photoshop plug-in product (Alien Skin’s Bokeh 2) and take the easier way out (don’t think I haven’t considered it—I own everything else they make, almost). Now that I’ve watched their demo video, I’m getting the urge to order it. Watch the video—you’ll fall in love with this product just like I did!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Clematis

19 05 2011

Vivid pink Clematis flower photographed against a backdrop of purple Columbine blooms at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.






More Columbine blooms

16 05 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Pink Columbine

15 05 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Columbine

15 05 2011

The Columbine gets its common name from the Latin columba or dove. The genus name for the plant is Aquilegia (derived from the Latin word for eagle—aquila—named this because the shape of flower petals resemble an eagle’s claw).  This herbaceous perennial is rated hardy to zone 3 and prefers partial shade and well-drained soil. It is very easy to propagate from seed and will self-sow. The seeds and roots are highly poisonous.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Columbine closeup

11 05 2011

I’ve been photographing Green Spring Gardens for more than five years and this year they have Columbines in every shade imaginable blooming all at once!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Columbine (Aquilegia)

3 05 2011

Columbines (Aquilegia) in every color are blooming prolifically at Green Spring Gardens these days! Today was the first time I had ever seen one with multiple “petticoats” (third photo in collage).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Columbine

26 04 2011

Columbine (Aquilegia), photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Purplelicious Installment #2

5 03 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Last year I wrote a newsletter article for the FlowershopNetwork.com. Check out “A Passion for Purple Flowers” here.





More blooms at Green Spring Gardens

16 05 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






This post is brought to you by the color pink.

31 01 2009

I apologize in advance if this ginormous collage crashes your system. I realize I got a little carried away with my collection. Pink just plum(b) took over.

(Oh, and do be patient while the collage loads. It might take a little longer than usual, but I promise it is worth the wait.)

If your system does lock up, you could also blame my blogger friends (and my Dad):

Jan at www.ThanksFor2Day.blogspot.com
Heather at http://mommymirandamusings.blogspot.com/
GG at http://fishandfrog-turtleandblog.blogspot.com/
Dad at his eBay store here (which was apparently ransacked because there is nothing posted)

Their recent comments gave me the impetus to post the colossal collage below.

“oooooooooohhh What a show, Cindy! I literally said that all the way through. Ooooh. Gorgeous. We’ve had some sunshine on and off the past few days. I think you need to get out of your basement more. Only 49 days until spring!!” — Jan

“Oh, man! You’re always taking my breath away like that, jeez!” —Heather

“Absolutely GORGEOUS! Your photo of the back of the day lily is particularly interesting. Have a wonderful weekend.” — G G

“The begonia shot is: Beautiful! Astonishing! Unbelievable! Gorgeous! Breathtaking! Damn, that’s a purdy pitcher! Please put me on your e-mail announcement list for every workshop. I won’t be able to attend, but I’ll be there in spirit if I know when and where (I’ll need the schedules so I’ll know when and where to send my spirit).” — Dad

I replied to Heather that I would soon be posting a rather long “pink collage” that could potentially crash her system. She replied, “bring it on!” So that’s the skinny and here we are.

Okay, the color pink wins by a long shot (so far) in the number of times it shows up in my garden photo archives. I thought orange was prevalent, but I was so, so wrong. I can only imagine how many times purple will show up—I tend to gravitate toward that color in my garden, even though I wouldn’t dare actually wear that color. Actually wearing that color or any shade of burgundy makes my skin itch. But that’s a whole ‘nuther topic. We artists are very sensitive to color, you know.

Well…now that I have revealed this little-known (and useless) fact about me, I should also tell you that I will not drive a burgundy car—and my anxiety doubles if the interior is burgundy, too. I discovered this about myself about 20+ years ago. So just guess what color car I am inevitably assigned when I rent a car. Yep. Burgundy. Or red (which I don’t have as much an aversion to after driving a sporty little Jeep in California two years ago…red = acceptable…burgundy = don’t go there). It doesn’t matter if every car left on the lot is white. The rental agent will start walking, keys in hand, directly to the only burgundy car in the place. I kid you not. Ask my cousin Bill. (He recently confessed that he now asks for “anything but burgundy” and “no rental plates, please”—the second request came about after I read something about never-do-wells stealing from rental cars because they know they’re driven by tourists with some good loot in tow.) And if someone traveling with me is renting the car, they usually don’t care what color it is, but I always comment, “betcha it’s going to be burgundy, mark my words.” Then the rental agent will lead us to only burgundy car in a sea of other colors. I kid you not. I’m jinxed. So now when I rent a car, I request “anything but burgundy, please.” This request is met with raised eyebrows more often than not. And I feel compelled to explain, “I’m an artist. I’m sensitive. No burgundy, please.” On one trip to San Diego, Michael went to rent the car while my friend Norma and I waited in the parking lot. It was late in the day and we said if burgundy is the only one available, then we’ll take it (but we won’t be happy about it). I said, “I just know it’s going to be burgundy.” Michael got the keys and met us across the parking lot and was laughing uncontrollably. But wait! Under the vapor lights…it could be…it just might be brown…yeah, it’s brown. We got out of the parking lot and saw the real color…yep, you guessed it. It was burgundy. Once again.

Now I must admit I don’t mind using it in my graphic design pieces. Burgundy has always been a nice corporate-y business color. And I don’t mind if other people wish to wear burgundy or drive a burgundy car. Just don’t ask me to ride with you. Especially if you’re wearing burgundy in your burgundy car with your burgundy seats. I will then offer to pick you up in my passive silver car with its quiet, unassaultive gray interior. I will not apologize for this particular peeve of mine. It is what it is.

Now back to pink. There is an off chance that I actually have something pink in my closet to wear. If not, I should. I do believe all women look good in pink (in particular shades depending on their skin tone and hair color), even if they don’t think so. I speak from experience as a portrait photographer. It’s a very flattering shade on women. And sometimes on men, too. There’s something youthful and joyful about the color pink, especially in the garden. And I love all the pinks in my garden—from pastel pink to just-look-at-me! magenta.

Ever wonder where the preference of “pink for girls” and “blue for boys” came from? I found this on www.wikipedia.org:

“In Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the 1920s. From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because being related to red it was the more masculine and decided color, while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color, or related to the Virgin Mary. Since the 1940s, the societal norm apparently inverted so that pink became appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued in the 21st century.”

The use of the word for the color pink was first recorded in the late 17th century, describing the flowers of pinks—flowering plants in the genus Dianthus.

Just 49 more days until spring, huh? Can it be? Oooh…now it’s just 48!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

broughttoyoubythecolorpink





Duh…more flowers, of course!

25 05 2008

Yesterday was so balmy/beautiful/blue-skied that Michael and I decided to hit Green Spring Gardens again to see if there were any (new) photographic opportunities. Here are my results from our hour+ adventure.

Check out Green Spring Gardens here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gsgp/

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos





A day of bliss

18 05 2008

More images from our day out at Green Spring Gardens…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.