Ginkgo leaves

20 12 2018

Ginkgo leaves at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, VA (I was trying out my new toy–a Nikon Coolpix P1000 with a 24mm-3000mm zoom!)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Gingko Closeup WEB





Capillaries

16 03 2018

I shot this image at a rest stop in Arkansas en route home to Virginia this week. My friend Greg purchased the new Nikon D850 (which I have been dreaming about) and let me play with it on this trip. I knew I’d love it! Now to just find some spare change in the couch ($3,300 to be exact).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Capillaries lorez

 





iPhoneography: Splendid fall

9 12 2017

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

23331213_10214966337578696_1064971706601004523_o

23319443_10214966348178961_8409588173605154998_n

23172454_10214964671817053_1322536734843557664_n

23231551_10214966322618322_5092050205465027149_n





My spirits soar…

30 04 2015

All through the long winter, I dream of my garden.
On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth.
I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.

—Helen Hayes

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (Shot with my iPhone 6, processed with Snapseed2)

Spring Trees lorez





Undulating…

10 08 2014

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Undulate





Fall comes to Kingstowne Lake

4 11 2013

Storm clouds on one side of the lake, sunlight from behind me illuminating the foliage…what a beautiful mix! I photographed this shot at Kingstowne Lake yesterday afternoon on a field photography trip with my friend Michael Powell.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Kingstowne Lake Foliage





Origami cranes?

3 11 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Origami cranes





Signs of fall

3 11 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

DSC_0223 cropDSC_0297 crop

DSC_0255 crop





After the rain…

24 06 2013

Raindrops on Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) leaves, Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Raindrops on Ladys Mantle





Ginkgo tree “web”

26 10 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Kaleidoscope

25 09 2012

I think these might be ‘Black Magic’ Black Leaf Elephant Ears (Colocasia esculenta ’Black Magic’). I had never seen them lighted from behind, so I never knew they actually had more color to them than you can see on the surface! The photos below were of two different leaves from the same plant—the reddish-orange one had more indirect sunlight, while the top greener one had direct sunlight from behind. I find it fascinating that something that appears to be just a solid blackish-purple shade could be hiding a kaleidoscope of colors! Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Raindrops on Hosta leaf

9 05 2012

Thanks to my friend (and new photo buddy), Michael P., for pointing out this photo op at Green Spring Gardens on Sunday afternoon!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Halloween sky

2 11 2011

Photographed with my Nikon Coolpix L110 near Ladysmith in Caroline County, VA on 10.31.2011; the leaves are just beginning to turn

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Tropical foliage

25 10 2011

(unidentified), photographed at U.S. Botanic Garden. This plant was backlit by the sun, so what you’re seeing is light through the leaves.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Leaf casting

4 08 2011

Updated 8.04.2011. Originally posted July 2008. This is one of my top visited posts of all time with 10,259 visits on this blog and 1,272 on my gardening-only blog!

My friend Debbi and I have been making these concrete leaf castings for several years now, and my Garden Club members have also tried their hand at it. We have used Portland cement type 1 for our earlier creations, but then started making them with Quikrete instead. Several artists recommend using vinyl patch instead because it’s stronger, lighter in weight and picks up more detail from the leaf texture and veining. It’s also more resistant to flaking and cracking associated with traditional cement mixtures. The next batch I make will be with the vinyl patch product!

This site here has step-by-step instructions (plus a youtube video). The steps are the same no matter which product you’re using.

Click here for Craig Cramer’s blog posting, “The Secret to Great Leaf Casts.” He recommends using Quikrete. Click here for another site with an extensive gallery for inspiration. David, the artist, recommends waiting 30 days before painting your creations. (I’ve never waited that long—don’t know if I would have the patience!) He mixes Quikrete with his concrete mixture, but I’m not sure what the ratio is. At the very least, his photo gallery will endlessly inspire you!

Since most of the leaves we create are smaller, we don’t often do the chicken wire reinforcement. Larger elephant ears do require a bit of reinforcement, though, and we have made some of those (the larger the leaf is, the more likely you’ll need two people to move it when it’s dry!). Most of the ones we have done are made with leaves from hostas, pokeweed, grape leaves, caladium leaves, and smaller elephant ears. Leaves that have nice, deep veins work best. If you want to hang your leaf on a fence or wall, insert a curved piece of clothes hanger or thick wire (formed into a loop) into the back before the leaf is cured.

Artists Little and Lewis  suggest using powdered pigments to color your concrete before creating the leaves. Read more about their approach with hosta leaves here. They have created some really beautiful (and large!) ones using Gunnera leaves, which grow well in the Pacific Northwest.

We haven’t tried the “color-in-the-concrete” approach yet. We do ours in the natural color and then paint after curing is done. Our favorite style is to paint the front and back with black acrylic paint, then rub on powdered metallic powdered pigments (the type often used in Sculpey jewelry projects). We used the Pearl Ex powdered pigment series, and we find silver, gold, bronze, blues, greens, and purples work much better than the pastel colors. We only apply the additional coloring and metallic powder to the front. The back remains black only. Check out Pearl Ex pigments on the Jacquard Products website.

I buy my Pearl Ex pigments from Michael’s or A.C. Moore. They sell them in sets of 12 different colors, or you can buy a larger bottle of one color. It doesn’t take much to cover the leaf. We use a soft cloth (and end up using our fingers) to rub in the pigments, which are very concentrated and go a long way. We find it best to paint the leaf with black acrylic craft paint in order for the metallic pigments to be intense in color when they are applied.

The metallic pigments are stunning and you can get a variegated look using various colors! If you try this style, you’ll need to seal the front of your leaf with an outdoor spray sealant to keep the pigment from rubbing off. I seal the front of the leaves with Krylon’s Make It Last!® Sealer, which has a satin finish and dries (for handling) within two hours.

Don’t expect the colors to hold up 100% in direct sunlight over a few years, though. The paint will chip a little but you can always paint over it and do it again to freshen it up. They still look good chipped and faded, though…sort of a shabby chic, relic-look! And you can try a new color scheme the next time around. Remember to seal after every repainting. Even if you hang or display yours indoors, you’ll still need to seal the pieces so they can be handled. And they certainly won’t fade as soon if they’re used as indoor art.

If you want a solid colored metallic leaf, you can use inexpensive acrylic craft paint instead of the powdered pigments. First, paint the front and back of the leaf solid black (the leaf is porous so it will soak in the black) and then paint the entire front with your colored metallic acrylic paint. After everything is thoroughly dry, seal the front of the leaf with the Krylon Sealer.

The good news: supplies for this project are CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP and the results are incredible! The downside? Those bags of quickrete, etc. are HEAVY!

Whichever method you decide to try (Portland cement type 1, Quikrete, Quikrete + vinyl patch, vinyl patch only), I’d love to see your results and will share them on this blog!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Single-file raindrop parade

19 05 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Fall in Virginia

31 10 2010

Since I haven’t been able to get my bounty of fall photos this year, I’ve made a collage of my favorite images from the past three years. These were all shot in various parts of Virginia, including my own neighborhood. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.







Water lily leaves

18 08 2010

Photographed in the lily pond outside the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 8.15.2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Pair of Water Lilies

27 06 2010

Water Lily

My whole life is mine, but whoever says so
will deprive me, for it is infinite.
The ripple of water, the shade of the sky are mine;
it is still the same, my life.

No desire opens me: I am full,
I never close myself with refusal—
in the rhythm of my daily soul
I do not desire—I am moved;

by being moved I exert my empire,
making the dreams of night real:
into my body at the bottom of the water
I attract the beyonds of mirrors…

—Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by A. Poulin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.







Bumblebee on Water Lily

27 06 2010

Hey, this is a nice angle…lemme crop out that brown leaf on the left…and now wait until the sun goes behind that cloud…mmmm…nice and graphic…black, white, green, yellow pop in the center…let’s try a vertical…focus, click, view screen…nah, horizontal is better…focus, click, view screen, change aperture, focus, click, refocus, click, click…now if only a dragonfly would land right smack in the middle…then it would be perfect…oooh, oooh, a bumblebee!…quick, refocus, click! Just one shot before he buzzed away, but here it is. (Cropping it as a square made for a more dynamic image in this case.)

Ode Tae a Bumble Bee

Wee hoverin’, fleein’ ferlie fello’,
Wi’ yer stripes o’ black and yello’,
Yer ever sae bonnie, so ye ur,
Like a spring lamb—only smaller and withoot the fur,
But see if ye ever sting me oan the bum again,
Ah’m gonnae jump on yer heid so Ah um.

—Stuart McLean (from No’ Rabbie Burns)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Water Lilies

27 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2010

The Dragonfly

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly on Lotus bud

27 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





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.







I know what you can get me for my next birthday…

10 07 2009

TreeBedYes, I am fully aware that $15,000 is pretty pricey for a bed frame, but if just 15,000 of my currently 82,733 blog visitors chipped in just $1 each, I could sleep in this bed every night! Imagine that. (I didn’t account for tax and shipping charges, though—this thing must weigh quite a bit. Does anyone have a large truck?)

Of course, it might bring on recurring nightmares about the snake-and-doomed-robin-chick episode of last week that I posted here. The scene atop the bed looks eerily familiar. You see, I have this visual penchant for trees, leaves, nests, feathers, birds and eggs. Oh, and sleep. That’s a good thing, too. So, this present would combine four of those faves of mine in one simple gift. And you don’t even have to wrap it! Oh, and I’ll provide the linens, so no need to fret about including those.

Then again, $15,000 would buy at least three of the pricier prime Nikon lenses that I don’t already have but certainly still lust after. (Which ones, you ask? Oh, say the 600mm f/4D IF-ED II, the 200-400mm VR f/4 AF-S, and maybe the 200mm Micro f/4D IF-ED, in case you were curious or just taking notes.)

Tree bed, Nikon lenses. Tree bed, Nikon lenses. Hmmmm. What do you think? Talk amongst yourselves. I’m sure I’ll love whatever you get me.

Take a look at artist Shawn Lovell’s other metal creations on her website here. Beautiful work!





After the rain…

6 05 2009

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

raindrops1





Ruffles have ridges

28 04 2009

The leaves on this tree reminded me of Lay’s potato chips because of the pronounced veins. I photographed this not-yet-identified tree this past week at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ruffledleaveslimegreen





Afternoon glow

27 04 2009

I shot these beautiful red leaves on one of the 60 types of Japanese Maple trees at Garvan Woodland Gardens on Lake Hamilton, surrounded by the Ouachita Mountains, in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

japanesemapleleaves





On Golden Pond

8 11 2008

Michael and I noticed the beautiful fall color around this retention pond—less than a mile away from our home—so we hurried back home to grab our photo gear and go back to capture some images. The light was glorious, the weather was mild, and the wildlife was most cooperative.

Last year the leaves peaked for us much later (Nov. 17), so one afternoon I took advantage of the perfect light and shot some images in our neighborhood. See those photos in my posting here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

fallducksbasincollage