iPhoneography: Gerbera daisy

9 06 2018

iPhone 7Plus, Camera+ app in macro mode, Snapseed app border

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Genie in a bottle

30 04 2018

Some of the tulips yesterday had missing petals, so I was able to photograph an angle that I wouldn’t normally see with a flower. This tulip had one petal missing and the wind blew the other petals together, forming this “genie in a bottle” effect.

This image was shot with my iPhone 7+, and I used the Camera+ app in macro mode. The wind made captures hit or miss at the beginning of the session, so I’m happy I was able to get some shots like this one. I also got some shots with my new D850 and Nikkor 105mm micro lens.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Tulip Window





Daffodil and tulips

12 04 2018

My first photo with a friend’s new Nikon D850 and my Nikkor 105mm micro lens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Daffodil Tulip Group WEB





iPhoneography at Green Spring Gardens

2 05 2015

Although I shot nearly 500 photos with my Nikon D800 in about two hours at Green Spring Gardens this morning, I also shot a couple dozen with my iPhone 6 and processed them on the spot with Snapseed2. The two members of my “photo posse” below are my intern, Andrew Savino, and my friend and frequent photography partner, Michael Powell. You can view Andrew’s portfolio here and Michael’s blog here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

iPhone GS 5012015





The Painting Years: First florals

29 12 2011

Yesterday I organized my father’s “framing shed” workshop and found some of my old oil paintings that I painted from about ages 12-17. The two paintings below are framed and hanging in the house. Discovering the unframed paintings instigated this trip down memory lane and I thought I would share some of my first paintings with you.

My parents took me to the Lila Prater Studio in Weslaco, Texas, for an interview with Lila when I was just 12 years old. I had already been drawing since elementary school and they wanted to further encourage my interest in art. Lila had a strict rule—no students under 15 years old. Classes ran from 9:00 a.m. to noon every Saturday and she discovered that most younger students don’t have the attention span nor inclination to give up a Saturday morning to paint. My dad showed her my portfolio of drawings and I remember him saying, “she’s not like other kids.” (She’s still not!)

Lila decided to make an exception and give me a spot in her Saturday morning oil painting class. I remember there were about five or six students at the time. I was the youngest at 12, the next was a young man who was about 17 or 18, and the others were in their 40s and older. I don’t remember all their names, but I remember some details of my fellow painters. One dark-haired woman, possibly in her late 40s, always dressed up for class and never spilled one drop of paint on her white-colored clothing. She wore a simple white smock/apron and never got paint on it either. I, on the other hand, occasionally used my clothing as a wipe rag (much to my mother’s chagrin).

Another woman, probably in her 50s or 60s at the time, was a retiree named Violet Treasure, who wore her silver hair in a bun perched on top of head. Hers was such an unusual name that I thought it couldn’t possibly be her real name. I did an online search but can’t find anything about her, unfortunately, but I never forgot her name. She painted on really large canvases and almost always painted female nudes. She was a supremely talented painter. I marveled at her use of color—where I tended to see skin as one tone of beige, her brush strokes infused purple, lilac, pink, green and every other hue into the figure. I would learn just how difficult this was when I attempted to copy a painting of a young Native American girl. Initially, my subject was just one shade of brown (think coloring book style) and it was just so flat and uninspiring. Under Lila’s patient guidance, my subject’s skin began to reflect all those colors that Violet used in her paintings. I never did master skin tones but I had an instant respect for Violet’s painting skills.

The young man’s last name was Somerville (or Summerville), but I don’t recall his first name. My dad, who was in Customs at the time, worked with his father, Red Somerville, who was an immigration officer at the port near Nuevo Progreso (which was a mere eight miles from where we lived in Donna, Texas). I remember how slowly he painted and how meticulous he was. He hardly uttered a word while he was in class—he was too intent on replicating works of the masters. (He would have done incredibly well as a forger!) One painting I remember him copying was The Gleaners, an oil painting by Jean-Francois Millet. I always aimed to finish a painting in one or two weekends (impatient even at that young age, I was). He, on the other hand, spent three hours painting just the hands of the wheat gleaners! I marveled at his patience and expertise. When I moved on to a new painting instructor in a different studio, he was still working on his copy of The Gleaners!

There was a pass-through from Lila’s studio to her dining and living room, where her husband, Neil Giles Prater, was bedridden with a long-term illness. I just did a search online and learned that he died at age 83 on June 10, 1977 of pneumonia.

I actually spoke with Lila sometime in the 90s and she was about 92 years old then. She was in an assisted living home and had lost her eyesight. She remembered me and some of the images I painted. I just did a search and found that one of her two daughters passed away in 2010 and the obituary indicated she was preceded in death by her parents, Lila and Neil. Further research revealed that there was a Lila V. Prater, from Weslaco, Texas, who lived to 107 and died in 2003, and I’m pretty certain she’s one and the same Lila Prater. 107 years old—amazing, isn’t it?

Lila had a huge filing cabinet that she called “the morgue,” where we could sort through and find an image to paint. As a rookie, I invariably chose images to copy that were well out of my scope, and Lila would encourage me to pick another. Sometimes she won, sometimes I did.

My first painting was a landscape, and the very next painting was the first floral piece below, done on an 11×14 canvas. When I picked the painting I wanted to copy, she said it was too soon for me to do such a detailed work. I pleaded with her, stating it was to be a gift for Mother’s Day. She relented and I faithfully replicated the work. When I was 15, I painted the second floral, a 24×36 canvas, as a present for my mother.

By copying the work of other artists, I learned myriad painting techniques and color combinations. Lila also taught me how to use the grid method to enlarge or transfer an image to a canvas. Learn more about the grid method here. For this posting, I’ve made both images the same size, although there is a huge difference between them in reality—11×14 vs. 24×36.

I studied under Lila’s direction for about five years and rarely missed a painting session. She was a wonderful teacher and gave me a great foundation in painting. When I was about 17, I began taking lessons with another instructor, Richard (last name escapes me) in Donna, Texas. His teaching method was vastly different from Lila’s—he didn’t allow us to copy anything and we had interesting exercises like using limited palettes of black and white paint only. We did a lot of still life set-ups with fruit, bowls, vases and figurines.

Re: framing—my dad would buy really beautiful but very inexpensive frames in Mexico to showcase my paintings. I remember that we would swap them out whenever I painted something new that matched the color of a particular frame!





Updated Green Spring Gardens portfolio

21 10 2010

Take a look! http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p787446313





Think pink, updated series #2

9 07 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Think pink, updated series #1

9 07 2010

Last year I posted a series of botanical collages based on various colors. I’m adding recent photos to those collages, beginning with pink—in every shade imaginable! I had so many new shots of pink flowers that I had to divide the collage into two separate postings. Click here to read my posting last winter entitled, “This post is brought to you by the color pink.” Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Just updated my online photo galleries!

2 07 2010

I’ve added more than 50 new images to my Botanical Portfolio on zenfolio.com. Many of the photos were shot in my own front and back yard townhouse gardens, while others were shot in gardens across the U.S. and Canada. In every city I visit, I make an effort to visit a botanical garden or nature preserve to capture new images. I recently added the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) and Boerner Botanical Garden in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to my roster of gardens I’ve visited. Both were worth the visit, but Mitchell Park really needs to do something about the exterior entrance of their conservatory. When we drove up, we noticed weeds growing up through cracked sidewalks and the shallow ponds on either side of the door were drained with weeds growing in them. We almost didn’t stop to get out because the place really looked abandoned. The inside, however, is a completely different story—beautiful, lush, and well-maintained. We read in their brochure that they recently renovated the place and added LED lights to the domes so they can be viewed at night in the Milwaukee skyline. I’m sure it’s beautiful lighted at night (never mind that it’s not actually open at night unless there’s an event), but they really should have set aside some of those funds to fill the ponds with water, plop in a few inexpensive water lilies and 49 cent WalMart goldfish, and do some weeding and cement repair. (Psssst! Hey, Mitchell—I’m available for consultation and implementation!)
http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135

And to see why I love my local Green Spring Gardens so much, visit my Green Spring Garden photography folio and see the plethora of photographs I’ve shot exclusively there over the past four years.

http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p787446313





Craft Project: Boutonniere

25 12 2009

Michael models the boutonniere I made for him to wear at our wedding in October. The groomsmen wore them as well.

Craft notes:
Seafoam blue velvet ribbon hot glued onto brown grosgrain ribbon (all from Michael’s)

Velvet craft leaves applied at top of ribbons (from a great embellishments online store):

http://www.vintagevogue.com/onlinestore/item6846.htm

Copper wire and dyed freshwater pearls woven to form a bird’s nest and hot-glued on top of leaves—special thanks to blogger Cathe Holden for posting her great tutorial on how to make these sweet little bird nests:

http://justsomethingimade.blogspot.com/2009/03/little-wire-bird-nests.html

Fiddlehead fern-shaped swirl created out of thin gauge copper wire and tiny seafoam blue seed beeds, then hot-glued into place around the bird nest.

I made bird nests out of silver wire with seafoam blue pearls for the ladies in the wedding party. I didn’t have the loops made for the chains in time to distribute at the wedding. Check out more photos on our wedding blog. Many more photos to come!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.







A look back at some little gems

27 09 2009

At long last, she blogs! It’s been several weeks since I posted on the blog—I apologize for my absence. I’ve had design work going in and out (not complaining, mind you), and lots of other tasks to complete. Plus, gardening season has slowed down quite a bit and I haven’t had a chance to get out to shoot what is still in bloom (not much!). I’ve been doing a slew of creative projects and will post about those soon. You’ll have to be patient until I can share them with you in early November!

Tomorrow baby Josie turns one years old and I’m heading off to Fredericksburg to wish her a happy one and I’m hoping to get some new photos of the birthday girl to post. I miss being out shooting, but work and other commitments beckon. I’ll promise to post new material shortly!

Check out Josie’s first debut on my blog here.
See Daddy’s little girl here.
View Josie “au naturel” in my studio here and with Mom & Grandma in the studio here.
See her when she was 147 days old here.
Check out our last studio session in June here, when she was eight months old.

MyLittleGemsRevisited

Check out my updated Zenfolio!

The “cream of the crop” of my garden and landscape photos is now in one easy-to-navigate gallery. Eventually I’ll have the gallery set up to sell prints as well as stock photos, but in the interim, this is just a way to wrangle all of my web-viewing-only images into one gallery. I’ll be adding more images in the future. Currently there are 406 images in the Botanical Gallery. That should keep you plenty busy! If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll recognize many of the photos. Once you click on the first link below, you can click “view all” at the bottom and see everything on one page, scrolling down as you go. If you click on an individual photo, it will enlarge and thumbnails for other images will show up on the side (as shown in the collage below). You can click on any of those to enlarge, or you can just launch the slide show in the second link below. I hope you enjoy the show!

Gallery:  http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135

Slideshow: http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135/slideshow





Check out my zenfolio.com gallery!

1 05 2009

I’ve been working on putting the “cream of the crop” of my garden and landscape photos into one easy-to-navigate gallery. Eventually I’ll have the gallery set up to sell prints as well as stock photos, but in the interim, this is just a way to wrangle all of my web-viewing-only images into one gallery. I’ll be adding more images in the future. Currently there are 380 images in the Botanical Gallery. That should keep you plenty busy! If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll recognize many of the photos.

Once you click on the first link below, you can click “view all” at the bottom and see everything on one page, scrolling down as you go. If you click on an individual photo, it will enlarge and thumbnails for other images will show up on the side (as shown in the collage below). You can click on any of those to enlarge, or you can just launch the slide show in the second link below. I hope you enjoy the show!

Gallery:  http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135

Slideshow: http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135/slideshow

———————————————–
Open a Zenfolio account with my referral code 8B9-BTJ-6G3 and save $5.00

zenfolio-gallery





Blue Pinwheel Thingie

3 03 2008

An e-mail from my Dad, in response to the question I sent out to the Weedettes:

“Blue pinwheel thingies…does anyone know what these are?”

LouLou,

Ah, Master, at last you have come to the Grasshopper for assistance. My heart swells with pride and I am virtually overcome with emotion. In fact, I am so happy I could just—well, you know the rest.

The “blue pinwheel thingies,” as you so casually (and rather unflatteringly) refer to them, are “flores azules hay como las llantas.” Freely translated from the Spanish (and I do mean freely), the name means “tire-like blue flowers.” The word “tire” refers to the circular shape of the blossoms.

“Pin” refers to the stem, the part of the plant on which the blossom is “mounted.” Llantas (tires) are mounted on wheels which, in turn, are placed on the hubs of axles. Note the similarity of “pin” and “hub.” The terms are synonymous—that synonymicity, or synonymicitessness, should have been obvious to you because each word has exactly three letters and each is pronounced with just one syllable—the “b” in hub makes it sound like two syllables, but it only has one (you probably pronounce it “ub,” as in “erb” and “erbert oover,” etc.).

The “blue pinwheel thingies” were named by none other than Michelangelo (1475-1564), a man who was entranced (enthralled, even) by all things purple, even by anything even remotely tinged with the color purple, and one who is said to have thoroughly enjoyed “tip-toeing through the tulips,” if you get my drift.

In naming flowers, as in all his other endeavors, “Micky” (as he was called by his his students, most of whom are said to have been fellow tip-toers), was centuries ahead of his time, because although the wheel was in universal use, “llantas” (tires) had not yet been invented.

And finally, we come to the curiousist (as Alice in Wonderland might say) part in the saga of “flores azules como las llantas”—in this beautiful blossom we have a flower named by a fruit, and nothing could be any curiouser than that.

Actually there is something curiouser—in her e-mail (Friday, March 31, 2006, 8:11 a.m.) your friend Gina said she thought the plant might be a hyacinth. She was wrong, of course, but the curious part is that Michelangelo also named the hyacinth. The parents of his favorite student (said to have been a flagrant tip-toer) deliberately misnamed their son (they wanted a girl), and Michelangelo was wont to greet her— I mean him—as follows: “Hi ya, Cinth,” thus the name “hyacinth.” The name “hyacinth” therefore came from Michelangelo’s adaptation of his greeting to Cynthia.

Perhaps Gina knew the origin of the name but didn’t know that she knew it—it may have been submerged in her subconsious but was close enough to the surface to trigger an association with Michelangelo and his penchant for naming flowers.

Enough of my gloating over your inability to recognize that which should have been immediately recognizable. I’ll close by saying that the pics are gorgeous, whatever the flower’s name and however its origin.

Methinks I taught thee well (you’re welcome).

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© 2006 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.





So looking forward to spring…

24 01 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Polaroid transfers

21 10 2007

I was introduced to the Polaroid transfer process about 15 years ago. At the time, I was shooting 35mm film (not digital as I do today), and was always on the lookout for creative uses for my images. After much trial and error (and many $ spent tossing out rejects!), I got the hang of it and produced some really beautiful images. I sold some on eBay and they even caught the eye of an executive at Polaroid’s Digital Imaging headquarters. He purchased eight images, printed in 11×17 format on archival paper. My father matted and framed the images for me. That was quite a thrill to get that order! I haven’t done any in several years, and have been experimenting with recreating the look with Photoshop (it can be done, but nothing compares to the original process, in my opinion). I had a line of 12 greeting cards printed about 11 years ago and sold some in small boutiques; but I mostly used the cards as a self-promo and for gift giving. I had 2000 images of each image printed, so even after selling and giving away a few hundred boxes, I still have ample inventory in my store room! I made corrugated cardboard portfolios for the boxes sets and also sold them individually. If you’re not familiar with the Polaroid transfer process, check out the sites below.

Legend has it that when a photographer’s assistant at the Polaroid labs accidentally placed a Polacolor negative face down on a counter top, he had no idea a new photographic medium was being born. Returning later, he lifted the negative and found the image had been transferred to the countertop. Rumor has it that the head of the Polaroid corporation forbid any farther experimentation with the technique, but word about this new method leaked out to the photographic community.

http://www.art-e-zine.co.uk/image.html

http://users.frii.com/uliasz/photoart/lightscapes/about.htm

http://www.alternativephotography.com/process_imagetransfers.html

http://sarahwichlacz.com/?p=5

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© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ahhh…so this is what peace looks like

19 10 2007

Peace rose in Debbi’s garden—Debbi noted that with the changes in weather from cool to hot to cool, her roses are changing colors in an unusual way, such as darker pink edges on some blooms and not on others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_(rose)

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

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