Ghost fish in the sky

15 10 2018

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. 

38537218_10217304486950969_7730286004258471936_n





Indian Creek Canal koi

15 10 2018

When I was driving en route home from San Antonio back to Virginia in early August, I stopped to visit my friends Sue and Steve in Huntsville, AL. Sue took me back to the Indian Creek Canal to shoot some photos of the beautiful koi with my iPhone 8Plus. I went a little crazy, running back and forth to capture these images (especially following the beautiful gold koi)!

The canal was the first one in Alabama, incorporated in 1820 and completed in 1931. It was constructed to the Tennessee River to facilitate the transportation of cotton to market. Developers were Thomas Fearn, LeRoy Pope, Stephen S. Ewing, Henry Cook, and Samuel Hazard.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Alabama Koi 1

 





Yin-yang koi

11 02 2017

The reflection of a footbridge over the water created this lovely contrast. Photographed at North Terminus Indian Creek Trail, the first canal in Alabama (1831).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. iPhone 6s / Snapseed border

Koi Bridge hirez.jpg





Scenes from a wedding: Shelly and Matt 3.16.2013

9 04 2013

Here are a few shots of the bridal party, family groups and happy couple shots after the ceremony. We timed everything to be able to take advantage of the sunset when it came to doing the solo shots of Shelly and Matt. Perfect timing!—with very special thanks to one of Shelly’s brothers (a videographer and film maker) for moving things along by efficiently organizing the groups. How about that sunset over Huntsville?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ShellyMattCollage4





Scenes from a wedding: Shelly & Matt 3.16.2013

9 04 2013

I don’t think I ever caught Shelly without a smile during the entire event. She was one of the happiest brides I’ve ever photographed (not to mention very photogenic, too).

© Cindy Dyer and Michael Schwehr. All rights reserved.

ShellyMattCollage2





Scenes from a wedding: Shelly & Matt 3.16.2013

9 04 2013

Shelly is the daughter of my friend, Sandy, in Huntsville, Alabama. Michael and I had the honor of photographing the wedding in Huntsville at Burritt on the Mountain, a beautiful park overlooking the city. Below is a collage of photos captured leading up to the event. More to come!

© Cindy Dyer and Michael Schwehr. All rights reserved.

ShellyMattCollage1





Matt & Shelly, 3.16.2013

23 03 2013

Michael and I drove to Huntsville, Alabama last weekend to photograph Shelly and Matt’s wedding. The venue was Burritt on the Mountain, overlooking the city. The venue was spectacular, the weather was picture-perfect, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more photogenic or happier couple anywhere! We took advantage of a lovely sunset right after the ceremony to create some portraits of the bride and groom. More photos to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

MattShellyBlog





The coolest bathroom hallway EVER

28 05 2011

I shot this photo below of the restroom hallway in Longwood’s new East Conservatory Plaza. It is the largest “living wall” in North America, and was designed by famed British landscape architect Kim Wilkie.

This is the first time I’ve seen a living wall planted with ferns and other greenery (28 plant species and 47,000 plants in total!)—rather than succulents. (I blogged here about the gorgeous living wall of succulents on the facade of the Anthropologie store in Huntsville, Alabama). Watch the video below to see how the project came together and see the Longwood Gardens blog here for more information.





Sunset + (super?)moonrise on the Potomac River

20 03 2011

Michael and I ventured out to the Mount Vernon Parkway before 7:00 p.m. this evening to scout out a good spot to wait for the much-anticipated and much-heralded “Supermoon.” I’m sorry to have to report that I was a tiny bit disappointed. I confess that I was hoping for that end-of-the-world-large-encroaching-orb-could-swallow-us-whole-fodder-for-a-science-fiction-movie effect, but it didn’t happen.

Yes, it was a lovely moon—slightly larger than usual and a bit brighter. I guess I was expecting it to flood the horizon so fully that I would have to take off my Nikkor 80-400 zoom lens and put on the 50mm just to catch it all in my viewfinder. So large that I would hear audible gasps from the neighboring photographers, then perhaps we would spontaneously hold hands and break into song (Kumbaya, perhaps?). Didn’t happen.

The moon I photographed in Huntsville, Alabama a few years ago seemed a whole lot larger and a lumen or two brighter than tonight’s “Supermoon.” You can view that posting here. I was, however, taken in by the sunset’s show earlier.

Hey! Guess what? I was just ready to publish this post and decided to Google this search: “supermoon was disappointing tonight,” just to see if anyone had the same reaction that I did.

I found this on space.com: On Saturday night, the moon will arrive at perigee at 19:09 UT (3:09 p.m. Eastern Time). Its distance from the Earth at the moment will be 221,565 miles. But just over three years ago, on Dec. 12, 2008, which was also the night of a full moon, the moon reached perigee at 21:39 UT (4:39 p.m. Eastern Time) at a distance of 221,559 miles, about 6 miles closer than Saturday night’s perigee distance. So it seems Saturday night’s supermoon will actually be just a little less super than the full moon of Dec. 2008. (You can read skywatching columnist Joe Rao’s full article here.)

Why do I find this so interesting? Well, I photographed that moon near the Huntsville Airport in December 12, 2008! So my eyes (and my memory) did remember a more impressive sky that night than tonight. Unlike tonight, I wasn’t even hunting for it—my friend Sue had picked me up from the airport and I asked her to pull over so I could get a few shots of the spectacular moon! Who would have thought that the moon being only six miles closer to the earth would make such a noticeable difference?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.







Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

26 01 2011

Comfrey (also comphrey) is a perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae and is native to Europe. I photographed this flower at the Huntsville Botanical Garden in Huntsville, Alabama.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Aw, I want one!

29 06 2009

After the HLAA Convention was over, we headed toward Huntsville to visit our friend Sue. We wanted to show my sister the nearby towns of Franklin and Leipers Fork en route and we just had to stop to photograph this adorable baby donkey. He (she?) came right up to us to get some attention. I shot the image of Michael petting it to show you how small this little guy was.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

BabyDonkey






Yes, more yellow.

27 04 2009

I’m not sure (yet) what kind of flowers these are, but they’re shorter than the newly-identified Wild Turnip flowers I photographed in rural Virginia on my road trip. This photo was shot just outside of Huntsville, when Sue and I were en route to Arkansas on Monday to visit her Aunt Gay in Little Rock. The flowers could be Wild Mustard or some kind of buttercup. Help in identification would be much appreciated!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

alabamayellowfield





Have a cuppa tea, y’all

11 01 2009

At long last…photos from Sue and Barbara’s December 14 Christmas Tea at Sue’s house in Huntsville, Alabama. Sue and Barbara are pictured in the bright green and red polka-dotted aprons that Barbara commissioned just for the event. And before we get started, thank you, Sue, for including me in this special event (and for flying me to Huntsville, too!). It was a pleasure “breaking scones” and getting to know Barbara and your new friends and neighbors in Huntsville. Now stop dawdling and start planning the spring tea!

partyone1

Top photo: Sue created the beautiful wreath that graces their front porch entrance. Kitchen duty photos: I attempted to help her make sandwiches but she was so picky with her exacting crust trimming procedures that I happily went back to decorating duty. I may be good at some things, but apparently trimming neat edges on tea sandwiches is not one of them!

Her first decorating assignment for me—I got to decorate her Christmas tree in the living room without any restrictions; she even let me pick out new decorative elements (faux feathers, gold pinecones, glittery sprays, silk poinsettias) from the Trees N Trends store earlier in the morning—I must say, there is nothing more fun than decorating on someone else’s dime!)

Sue knows I prefer decorating to playing in the kitchen. (She’s the one who bought me a handpainted wooden sign to go over the stove. It reads, “I kiss better than I cook.”) Admittedly, I’ll never dethrone Martha Stewart or Paula Deen, but check out some of my past creations at a small dinner party in June, Chocoholic Party 2007, Chocoholic Party 2008 (with more photos and my friend Karen’s yummy cheese straw recipe), and our favorite event, the annual Pesto Fest. The Fall 2008 Pesto Fest was sadly canceled due to incessant rain in our area. This Italian-themed event must be outdoors for the proper ambience. Fiddle-dee-dee, 2009 is another year!

Before decorating commenced, Sue presented several plastic bins of ornaments, tassels, fabric, candles, candleholders, and roll after roll of ribbon for me to play with (an artist must have her supplies, you know!). After I finished glamourizing the chandeliers over the tables, I checked in on Sue’s sandwich-making process later and felt compelled to point out that not all of her sandwiches were visually appealing—she’s pointing to the not-so-perfect ones in the fourth photo. What would Martha think?

partytwo1

Decorations throughout the house, including the mantel where Sue and Steve displayed their new painting, a gift from me…and a southern holiday greeting on the napkins

partythree1

Top photo, left: Barbara makes the rounds, visiting with friends. Top photo, right: Sue in the laundry room, cranking out endless pots of hot water for tea. Bottom photo: Guests mingle at the main table.

partyfour1

The dessert table was a big draw…especially with Barbara’s original peanut butter and chocolate cake topped with peanut butter cups (as if it needed more sugar!)—I told Barbara she could make a fortune selling that cake! Also on hand…pecan divinity, various cookies, and a chocolate fondue for strawberry dipping. Bottom photo: Sue and Biddy

partyfive1

Top photo: Billie June and Shirley. Bottom photo: Sue and Barbara present the tea-inspired gift basket to Anita, the winning ticket holder.

partysix1

Top photo: Each guest received a beautiful homemade teapot-shaped sugar cookie as a parting gift. Bottom photo, left: Barbara showcases her culinary creations. Bottom photo, right: Lisa and Sue

partyseven1

Top photo: Rebecca (Cathy’s sister-in-law), Lois (Cathy’s mom), Cathy, and Diana. Middle photo: Barbara, Biddy, Julia and Sue. Bottom photo: Biddy and Julia

partyeight1

Top photo: Debbie (Sue’s neighbor), Sue and Kari (Sue’s hairdresser). Middle photo: Jenny and Sue (Jenny moved to Huntsville from Virginia about five years ago. Sue actually met her at New Hope Church in Alexandria years ago.) Bottom photo: Sue’s sister Gaye entertains guests.

partynine1

Top photo: Diana, Lois, Barbara and Fran. Middle: Gaye and Lisa. Bottom photo: Billie June and Barbara

partyelvene1

Top photo: Laura and Sue’s mom, Wanda. Bottom photo, left: Sue displays one of Barbara’s handmade cookies. Bottom photo, right: I was going to make some small ornament earrings for Wanda and Sue said they needed to be much, much larger since her mother likes wearing flashy jewelry. So Wanda, being ever the willing participant, actually wore these at the end of the party (they’re lighter than they look).

partytwelve1

Top photo: Sue with her lovely neighbor, Sandy. Middle: Cathy, Lois, and Rebecca. Bottom photo: a partial group photo

partythirteen1

Top photo: Wanda, Barbara, Sue and Gaye. Middle: A gathering of tea-cozy-covered teapots. Bottom photo: Quick! What else can you do with a tea cozy? Allow me to introduce you to Laura and Mary Ingalls and their uppity friend Nellie Oleson.

partyfourteen1

When Michael and I were vacationing with Sue and Wanda in the Pacific Northwest last fall (see multiple postings about our funfilled trip here and here), Wanda mentioned that she had always wanted a “smooth cake.” (I knew she meant a fondant-covered cake.) Sue told Barbara about Wanda’s desire and the day after the tea party, Sue drove over to Barbara’s house to pick up a “smooth cake” she had made especially for Wanda. (Now that’s pure southern hospitality in action, y’all!) In the photo above, Wanda shows off her “smooth cake.” Take notice that she’s wearing a fun engraved bracelet that reads, “Does this bracelet make me look fat?—a gift from a friend. (You can buy that cute bracelet here. Warning—it’s not costume-jewelry priced…and $25 for shipping a resin bracelet? Hmmmmm…)

And finally, just in case anyone is interested—I was born in Selma, Alabama. The city is best known for the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches that began in 1965.

Something that Sue’s guests and new friends might not know about her—when I first met Sue in 2003, she was working on a tea-inspired page-a-day calendar and was having a not-so-good experience getting it designed. (Sue was my neighbor, just a few houses away—I met her when I called about the community’s garden-open-house event). The calendar was a project produced by her company, Tea Memories. Since I’m a graphic designer, I volunteered to help her with the project. It was fun to design and produce and we became the best of friends during the process. I found mention of the 2003 and 2004 calendars on www.teaandcoffee.com (scroll down to the 4th entry and read about the project).

Sue has returned the creative favor numerous times by serving as a most professional model for photographs for publications and magazines I design. Below are shots I did this past spring for Hearing Loss Magazine, a publication of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

suemodelsa1

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bird’s eye view: Dallas to Huntsville

17 12 2008

On Friday morning I headed to Sue’s house in Hunstville, Alabama, for a long weekend visit. I’ve gotten in the habit of shooting aerial record shots whenever I travel. (I call them record shots because they’re certainly not prizewinners!). Sometimes I shoot with my little Coolpix; this time I used my Nikon D300. The scenery was spectacular—from winding rivers to checkerboard farmland to snow-covered hills. Beautiful abstracts…quilt-like parcels of green and brown land…the interruption of trees through pastures…curvy, twisty rivers and finger-like land masses jutting out into bodies of water…carefully structured subdivisions with tiny Monopoly houses. Because these images were shot through thick plexiglas, the color is a little off and there is some vignetting happening (I couldn’t very well roll down the window, now could I?). I’m sharing them anyway—they’re a reminder of how diverse our Earth is—and this is just one tiny cross section of our country.

Check out Smashing Magazine‘s “The World From Above: The Beauty of Aerial Photography” by clicking here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

huntsvilleflight





Alabama cotton field, Virginia sky

1 12 2008

While we were vacationing with Sue and her mother in Seattle this past September, Sue requested a commission for a painting to go over her mantel in her Huntsville home. She wanted something related to her new home state and her first thought was a cotton field landscape. A few weeks ago, I came up with some ideas and sent her some sketches via e-mail and this painting was the end result.

The 36×48 painting is done on gallery wrap canvas with acrylic paint. I haven’t painted in a few years, but as soon as I got started, it all came back to me. I don’t have an exact estimate of time, but the painting took less than 10 hours, spread over two days, to complete—although I was still touching it up the morning we left!

With the much-welcomed help of my dad and my friend Debbi, I was able to tweak several things when I got stuck mid-way. Debbi suggested adding more green to the foreground so it would complement the treeline. When I showed the initial digital sketches to my dad, he said, “That can’t be an Alabama cotton field. Where are the rolling hills and trees?” Dad grew up in Mississippi and Alabama and spent some time in cotton fields, so I took his advice and added trees and rolling hills. He also offered suggestions on how to make the foreground blend more with the treeline and sky so it didn’t look like two separate paintings, and to make the furrows not as dark and flat. I am grateful for their suggestions because the changes made for a much more cohesive painting—one that I was proud to present to Sue!

Toward the end, I still wasn’t happy with the lackluster sky and desperately needed a muse. On Friday, while I was out running last minute errands, the Virginia sky became my inspiration—I finished the painting that evening (in between cleaning the house, paying bills, and packing computer equipment, camera gear, and clothes for the trek to Texas the next day!)

After packing the car early Saturday morning, there was just enough room to slide in the oversized painting. It made the 10+ hour trip to Huntsville without incident. After we got back from lunch and shopping Sunday evening, I whipped out a 6×6 gallery wrap miniature painting depicting three cotton buds blossoming (it’s on the little easel to the left of the painting). Now Sue and Steve (and their cats, Matilda (pictured) and Pante (the antisocial boy) have a painting of an Alabama cotton field under a Virginia sky gracing their great room!

Learn how cotton is grown here. Click here and learn about Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin and a pioneer in the mass production of cotton. Learn about the origin of denim, what makes towels absorbent, how the t-shirt got its name, and other interesting cotton-related facts on www.cottoninc.com.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

paintinglorez





Is this not the coolest thing ever?

23 11 2008

During our short stop in Huntsville, Sue and Steve treated Michael and me to lunch at Westin Hotel’s Sage Grill (where I feasted on my first fried green tomato ever—now I know what the fuss is about!). Afterward, we browsed the shops at Bridge Street Town Centre, one of Huntsville’s newest shopping malls. I was immediately drawn to the “living walls” at the Anthropologie store. New York-based Elmslie Osler Architect designed the store as well as the living wall—the largest in North America. The installation is constructed with two foot by two foot panels that are three inches deep. The container trays were filled with growing medium and pre-planted with seeds from various sedums. The walls bloom in the spring and stay green throughout the milder winter months in Huntsville. They serve another purpose—extra insulation to reduce energy use. In the summer, the south-facing walls absorb UV rays that cool the building’s interior. The 2,000 square foot wall was created by Green Living Technologies.

There are two categories of green walls: green facades and living walls. Green walls are comprised of climbing plants growing directly on a wall or on specially designed structures. Living walls are composed of pre-vegetated panels or fabric systems that are attached to a frame or structural wall.

The concept of “vertical gardens” or “Le Mur Végétal” was invented by botanist Patrick Blanc. Click here to browse his amazing website with beautiful examples of vertical gardens. They are also known as biowalls.

Read more about Anthropologie’s “edgy and unexpected” store facades here.

Check out this article by architect Randy Sharp—“6 Things You Need to Know About Green Walls.”

Visit www.treehugger.com to see some really beautiful buildings wrapped in living walls.

Learn about maintenance of green walls at www.greenroofs.com

Gardener’s Supply Company sells outdoor living wall planters as well as indoor living wall panels. Click here to see more examples of living walls in their photo center.

I know what my next project is going to be!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

livingwallnew





Breakfast at Sue’s

23 11 2008

En route to Texas for the holidays, we stopped to stay overnight and spend Sunday with our friends, Sue and Steve, in Huntsville, Alabama. They moved from Virginia in April 2007. Sue always has funny napkins on hand, and Sunday morning’s breakfast proved no exception—guess she’s not a Yankee anymore with that attitude! Sue buys most of her funny napkins from Swoozie’s.

breakfastatsues