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.



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Self-diagnosed SAD

16 02 2010

Yep, that’s me. I proclaim myself a victim of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). According to Wikipedia: SAD, also known as winter depression or winter blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter.

As I look out my studio window this afternoon, I see more snow coming down. Projection: 4 inches of the inconvenient stuff. White stuff on top of older white stuff. It was pretty the first time it snowed this winter (Dec. 19), but after the first 4 inches, enough was enough. It was 26.4 inches total for that first snowfall alone. I think it has snowed at least six times since then, including the 30″ we got over February 5. Fortunately, we were in sunny Florida during that blizzard, but we came home to the aftermath, followed by the additional 10.5 inches we got two days later on February 10. Ah yes, it was pretty the first time. Now it is just a pain. If I wanted this kind of snowfall, I would have already moved to any one of those snowy states starting with the letter “M”—Maine, Montana, Minnesota or Michigan.

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Well, whaddyaknow—there is actually a named disorder for the SAD condition experienced in summer—Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is accompanied by anxiety (come experience an oppressively hot D.C. summer and you’ll know what they’re talking about!)

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Hmmmm…what cheers me up? The promise of spring (32 days and counting, although by the looks of things, I beg to differ). And gardening. And lots of flowers to photograph. And on that note, I leave you (and temporarily, my SAD symptoms) with a series of collages of photos I shot in my Garden Club members’ gardens a few years ago. Sigh….somewhere under the “white crap accumulation,” there are bulbs hibernating and dormant plants dreaming of the sun. Keepin’ the faiiiiiiittttth, yay yay yay yay, keepin’ the faith…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bull Run Bluebells

9 04 2009

For many years I’ve been meaning to go see the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) en masse at Bull Run Regional Park in Manassas about this time of the year. I can now cross that excursion off my list! If you live in Northern Virginia (or thereabouts), there’s an annual Bull Run Bluebell Walk at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 12.

As I mentioned in my earlier posting here, I wanted to avoid the crowds and certainly did. We encountered less than a dozen hikers and photographers on our hike down the Bluebell Trail.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of plants in bloom, though, and a bit hard to work around the plethora of trees, trunks, and fallen branches to get that stellar shot. Many of the landscape-with-Bluebell shots I got were more “record” shots than stellar. Michael found a plastic bag in the car (the ground was still quite damp), and we both hunkered down on the ground to get up close and personal with a few perfect specimens. Our positioning also allowed us to discover other plants in bloom: Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) and Cutleaf Toothwarts (Dentaria laciniata, a member of the Mustard family, Brassicaceae). From a distance, Cutleaf Toothworts, whose beauty belies their nefarious-sounding name, look very similar to the ‘Spring Beauty’ wildflowers.

We also took along the Interfit 5 in 1 collapsible reflector (translucent portion only) to block the mid-day sun and get more saturated color. I’ve used the reflector in the studio and for outdoor portraits, but since I usually follow the rule of “shoot flowers in early a.m. or late p.m.,” I’ve never used it for this purpose. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before—I can now shoot flowers even in the worst light of day for flower photography—that mid-day sun!

While researching where best to photograph fields of Bluebells, I stumbled upon Chris Kayler’s posting about them here. Take a look at his Nature Photography Gallery. Chris, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, specializes in nature and wildlife photography, and lives in Manassas. Spectacular work, Chris!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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