Road trip to Texas

21 01 2018

South 281 near Harrisonburg, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. iPhone 7plus, Snapseed app border

Road Trip to Texas 1





Winter sunset

11 02 2017

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

Vertical sunset hirez.jpg

Trees & Sunset hirez.jpg

Sunset Tree hirez.jpg





Re-post: Late fall in the rural Virginia countryside

10 11 2014

Originally posted November 7, 2009

Fairview Christian Church (Madison, VA), erected 1880…and nearby farms

© Cindy DyerAll rights reserved.

RuralVirginiaFall





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





A cornucopia of colors

3 11 2013

Kingstowne Lake shoreline, Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Oh, Ginkgo tree, oh, Ginkgo tree…

27 10 2013

…how lovely are thy branches!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Ginkgo Tree WP





Reflections of fall

23 10 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 1

18 04 2012

WOW. That’s how I can sum up my photography exhibit reception on Sunday at Green Spring Gardens. My friend Martha says her favorite moment was when I came by her and simply said, “I am just soooooooooo happy.” I kept repeating it like a Stepford character. I’m just soooooooooo happy. Really, I am just soooooooooo deliriously happy! Sales and attendance were way beyond what I expected (or dared to hope for).

Remember, the show is up for two more weeks—you have until April 29 to see it if you haven’t already done so. For more details and directions, visit my show site: www.gardenmuseshow.com! FYI—I will have an etsy.com store up and running soon. I’ll be selling matted and framed images, greeting cards and jewelry (and any other crafty endeavor that strikes my fancy!). Stay tuned for more info on that venture. More photos to come from the reception…

Reception photos © Ed Fagan, Columbia Photography

Martha, my friend who came up for the weekend from San Antonio, Texas, confidently pitches the “buy all eight greeting cards for $20 and get a nifty floral gift bag” deal to a potential customer.

Above, from left: dear friends Holly and Tom, yours truly (with my trusty Coolpix) and lovely Sue-in-blue, who flew up from Huntsville, Alabama

With a lot of help from family and friends (Karen B., her daughter Margot, my sister Debbie, sister-in-law Nancy, Karen W. and Martha), the table decor—inspired by spring and all things gardening—became the perfect backdrop to showcase Barbara‘s wonderful sweet and savory appetizers! The only downside—putting all those decorations back in their place in our townhouse.

Above, left: The view of the banquet tables from the “savory” side. Right: Barbara Kelley, caterer extraordinaire, displays her Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcakes, topped off with homemade fondant butterflies made by Karen B., daughter Hannah and me.

Above: The photo pendants were a hit, much to our delight! My friend Paula and I made about 30 of them and we sold more than half of them. I’ll be preparing more to sell in my etsy.com store, which I’ll be working on next month. We hung them on satin cords (longer length), vinyl cording and silver-plated chains and sold them sans chains as well.

Barbara and Hollace made open-faced tea sandwiches and adorned them with edible flowers—which required some cajoling to get attendees to eat. I heard several times, “are you sure we can eat these?” Michael proved they were edible by devouring a complete pink rose (photo to come). Another guest poked at the mozzarella balls (!) and asked if they were real (!) Thank you to Sue for helping me festoon the cupcake stand with garden-inspired fabric and ribbon. We went through a lot of hot glue on that project!

Above: getting the store set up before the crowd comes through the doors. Thanks to everyone who set up the shop—Michael, Karen B., Margot, Karen and Joe W., Pete and Nancy, Martha and Debbie. We filled up 3.5 cars with matted/framed prints, greeting cards and buffet decor elements. From left: Holly and her friend Helen examine the necklaces on display; center: Michael explains how to use his credit card machine to Karen B. and her daughter Margot; far right: me explaining something (?) to my friend Leda

Above: seven of the eight 5.5 x 8.5 greeting cards available for sale. Not shown, my “Unfurled” image with a ‘Negrita’ Tulip

Above: another shot of the buffet—tea sandwiches, fruit skewers and pesto pinwheels

Above, left: the jewelry display with my brother-in-law Pete in the background. Peter and his wife Nancy (Michael’s sister) drove up from the Columbus, Ohio area. Right: one of my favorite people—friend and neighbor Michael P.—deciding with “hairy legged” insect photo to purchase (thanks for giving Vault and Whirly Girl a good home, Michael!) Below: lines began to form—how cool is that?

Above: It was so great to see my former roommate (from way back circa 1988 or so) Wendy and her husband Mark—I last saw Wendy at Potomac Mills mall when her son Eli (now 17) was still in a stroller! We reunited on Facebook (but of course) and they truly surprised me by driving down from West Virginia just for the reception! She has asked me to do a presentation to her second grade class on “how to learn how to see” things in nature. Now that I can do!

During this entire process, I have had such a tremendous show of support from family and friends. Since the show went up, I have had guests coming from Florida, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama and Maryland. I am so blessed to have these people in my circle!

In preparation for the show and reception, I’d like to thank a slew of great people:

A very special thanks to Jeff E.—thank you for the kick in the pants to get “exposure for my exposures!”
Dorothy Norpel
, F.R.O.G.S. (Friends of Green Spring Gardens) show coordinator, for giving me the opportunity to exhibit
• Mary Olien and Janet Hammes of Green Spring Gardens for their support of my work and Janet in particular for letting us in early on Sunday so we would have ample time to prepare for the reception (and also for purchasing several images!)
• All the employees and volunteers of Green Spring Gardens who answered questions, fetched a ladder, made a sale, answered my myriad questions and honored my requests
The Green Spring Gardens horticulture staff who are masters (and artists) at what they do—for always having something new and beautiful for me to photograph (not many people know that more than 75% of the images in the show were shot at Green Spring Gardens)
Dad
for his financial input, patient framing guidance and being the best cheerleader/dad/patron of the arts a girl could have
My sister Kelley for helping me select all the images for the show and being the genius behind the idea to name the images
Tom and Holly for loading up 98% of the framed images in their van and transporting and unloading it all—you just don’t know how much I appreciated that!
Dear Camilla for flying up to help me hang up the show and her invaluable creative direction (not to mention her long-time friendship)
• Karen W.
and Michael for helping hang the show from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (thanks also to Karen for constantly promoting my work, whether it’s jewelry making or the exhibit—there’s a reason you’re a key component of the K.I.T.A. club, ya know!)
Carmen and her sister-in-law Ester for driving eight hours from Greer, South Carolina just to attend the exhibit
Mary Ellen
for flying from Wisconsin
My sister-in-law Ronnie and her husband Ed for coming to see us and the exhibit en route from Florida back to their home in Cleveland
My sister Debbie and our friend Martha for hopping planes from San Antonio to share in the big weekend
Karen B.
for helping design the buffet tables, create the table covers and decorations, making fondant butterflies for the cupcakes, sleeving greeting cards and for every single creative project she is willing to tackle alongside me (I enjoy all our creative time together, KareBear) and for her patience in heading up the store
Mo Sherman
for spreading the word to his Virginia and Maryland friends and for being so supportive of my work
Sue
for flying here from Huntsville, AL, helping me make the three-tiered tea sandwich stand and putting matted prints in sleeves (and for her never-ending cheerleading!)
Hannah
for help with creating the butterflies and manning the store with her mom
Margot
for her flower arranging skills, buffet decorating and helping in the store
Paula
for helping me make those pretty photo pendants that were such a hit (and for her and Ken spreading the word of the exhibit to their friends and colleagues)
Nancy
, Pete and Martha for helping frame (assembly-line style) some last-minute pieces
Karen W.
and Joe for preparing and bringing a great breakfast spread to the house Sunday morning so we wouldn’t pass out during the day
All the help transporting to and fro in four separate cars from Michael, Pete, Joe, Nancy, Karen W., Martha and Debbie
Barbara
and Hollace for the amazing reception food—it was colorful, tasty, imaginative, filled with love, and I couldn’t imagine a catered event going more smoothly than this one did—you are a pro, Barbara!
Karen B.
, Margot, Hannah and Martha for minding the store and taking care of sales, wrapping, etc. (I know it was a crazy, unexpected time and I thank them profusely for all their efforts; nothing I can do can repay their generosity of time!);
Michael for running errands to get more change, to the house for more supplies and bringing fans to cool off the place (we learned that they turn off the air at the Horticulture Center on weekends!)
Karen W.
, Debbie, Martha, Karen B., Margot and Nancy for all their help decorating the buffet tables and setting up the store
Jeff S.D. for his constant support and helping me determine pricing (why is this always so hard for an artist?)
Brian for his mentoring and valuable input, always
Kudos and thanks to my hard-working friend Ed for so thoroughly and beautifully documenting that wonderful day with nearly 700 images (shot from above, below, from the side, on a ladder, on the floor and from the ceiling)!

If I have left out anyone in the never-ending gratitude list above, it is not intentional. Finally, thank you to all my local friends, faraway friends, Facebook friends, WordPress fellow bloggers and design clients for being a constant source of support and enthusiasm for this pet project of mine. Thank you to all my local friends who were able to make the reception and for your purchases as well. I thank you profusely and Green Spring Gardens thanks you, too!





The Garden Muse Portfolio goes to print!

17 03 2012

Dear MagCloud, I take back every awful thing I thought about you last night (including the sailor-worthy words I uttered under my breath). I still think you should have official tech support (phone support, perhaps, and I’d gladly pay by the minute for it), but in the end, my case worker, Adriana, was a big help via e-mail (even if it appeared I was hell bent on proving her wrong). In one e-mail, Adriana wrote: “Also, the images on that file are stunningly beautiful. I’m sure when you are done, this will be a stellar piece. Hang in there.” (Thanks for that, Adriana—your comment cheered me up until I got frustrated again.)

I wrote about MagCloud on this blog here in 2009 and here in 2010. This is the first time I’ve taken the time to work on a project to try out the service.

Despite my repeated attempts to upload what I thought was a properly-prepared file, I was met with the same *&#)*!@&#)!# error message every time. I was using their template that I had downloaded for this size and was told later by Adriana that they discontinued the template so I shouldn’t use it (did I miss that meeting?). I read the pdf preparation file that Adriana e-mailed me so I could amend my template to their exact specs. I created seven different files, all with the same end result. Eventually I resorted to exporting four page simple test pages just to prove my theory that it couldn’t possibly be me causing these latest problems. After a while, I started naming things like: magtestone.pdf, magtesttwo.pdf, final.pdf, finalfinal.pdf, reallyfinalfinal.pdf, thisisthelastoneIswear.pdf, Igiveupmylifeisover.pdf, magcloudyouareonmylastnerve.pdf, Illneverbeaselfpublisher.pdf and magcloudpleaseletmeinorIwillunpostallthoseglowingreviewsaboutyou.pdf. I briefly contemplated assigning a file name that would make even my toes curl, but I figured the system would spit it back at me for being so unladylike.

After a day to reflect, run errands and come back with fresh eyes, I figured out what I was doing wrong. It was a very simple little step that I had overlooked—do not click on “spreads” when you’re outputting the pdf for MagCloud. If you do, you will be informed (repeatedly) that page 1 is okay but the other pages aren’t the same size (which sounds completely insane because it is the same file). You will also be told that your bleeds are not correct. That one stupid mistake kept me up until 2:00 a.m., then I finally waved the white flag.

The file is now uploaded and I’ll receive my sample copy sometime next week. I’m crossing my fingers that it looks as good in print as it looks in the file! I already know the quality of their paper and printing is great—I’ve bought sample magazines in the past. It’s a great way to publish a magazine with very little investment (more time than money, actually)—no need to go to a traditional printer to get a decent-looking publication with this print-on-demand option. I paid an extra buck for it to be perfect bound rather than saddle-stitched (due to the number of pages). I may even open the publication up for purchase if it meets my quality control standards.

I’ve scattered some of my favorite gardening quotes through the 88-page document and have identified all the images by their print name, common flower/plant name and the Latin name. All of these images are either in the current exhibit or will be for sale at the reception on April 15. I may expand the publication (as if it isn’t long enough) and include garden photography tips as well before I offer it for sale in the MagCloud store.

If you’re in the D.C./Northern Virginia area, just skip, sashay, slink, saunter or skidaddle on over to the Horticulture Center at Green Spring Gardens from now until April 29. If you’re in the mood for great appetizers (courtesy of Kelley Hospitality), good company and photographic eye candy (who doesn’t love flowers and bugs?), join me at the reception on April 15 from 1-3 p.m. Since the show runs until April 29, you’ll have plenty of time to see it! For more details, visit my show website here.

For now, I hope you enjoy the cover and the first 16 pages (I’ll just be over here in the corner…wearing my dunce cap).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Chinese Maple leaf canopy

13 01 2012

Mark your calendars for March-April 2012 for my exhibit!
This will be my first art exhibit since college days (way back when!), so I’m very excited. The exhibit will be in the Horticulture Center in the park. The reception isn’t until Sunday, April 15, from 1-3 p.m., but the show runs all of March and April, so if you’re in the area, that’s ample time to stop by and see the show if you live nearby or plan to be in the Washington, D.C. / Northern Virginia area during that time!

Green Spring Gardens is conveniently located off of 395, at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria, VA 22312. The Horticulture Center is open weekdays from  9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12 – 4:30 p.m. Parking is free and the park closes at dusk.

All works will be for sale, with a portion of proceeds going to Green Spring Gardens. I also plan to have unframed and matted images available for sale during the reception. The show consists of 12×12 images, 12×18 images and 8×12 images, all matted and framed for the show. I’ll also have more than a dozen gallery wrap canvas transfer images (a very contemporary look with no framing needed!), ranging in size from 12×18 to 20×30.

Stay tuned to this blog for an announcement of my show website with more details and a sneak preview of some of the images that will be featured. The website will also include ordering information if you’d like to purchase an image (whether matted/framed or matted/ready to frame) but can’t come see the show in person.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Happy Thanksgiving!

24 11 2011

We’re heading down to Lake Land’Or in central Virginia (just an hour away) to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Karen, her aunt and a friend who are visiting from Wilmington, N.C. Here are some photos of the view from Karen’s lakehouse; originally posted 11.12.2008.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ladysmithcollage1





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.





Sedum and Lantana with Bumblebee

28 09 2011

Can you spot the tiny “bonus” bug in this photo? Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lewis & Clark return home (but just for supper)

2 06 2011

Captain Tom (Lewis) and his First Mate Michael (Clark) return home from their dangerous (motor boat wakes, unbearable humidity and five-foot-long carp!) circumnavigation of Lake Land’Or last Sunday evening, just in time to start supper.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Spiderwort

23 05 2011

Spiderwort (Tradescantia)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Red Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

20 05 2011

I’ve grown the yellow species in my garden for years, but rarely come across this red cultivar.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ornithogalum Magnum (crown)

20 05 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ornithogalum Magnum (closeup)

20 05 2011

Ornithogalum Magnum is a perennial plant native to southern Europe and southern Africa. Belonging to the family Hyacinthaceae, it is a member of the ‘Star of Bethlehem’ family. Grown from bulbs, they bloom in late spring into June. The stalks can reach 24″ high with dozens of perfectly spaced white flowers that open as they circle from the bottom of the stem up to the crown.

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.





European Bearded Iris (Iris variegata)

19 05 2011

Iris variegata (native to central and southeastern Europe); photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© 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.






White Spiderwort

19 05 2011

I think this is the Tradescantia x andersoniana ‘Innocence’ cultivar.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Star of Persia (Allium christophe)

19 05 2011

Earlier this month I photographed this plant just as it was beginning to bloom, which is a far cry from the “visually busy” bloom I photographed today. Check out this plant in early bud stage on my previous post here. Aided by my macro lens today, I could see scores of tiny bugs navigating the interior stems—making it a veritable insect superhighway!

Star of Persia (Allium Christophe) plants grow 18-24 inches tall and sport a globe-shaped flower approximately 10 inches in diameter with clusters of amethyst-hued star-shaped blooms. The bulbs are hardy in zone 4 to 9 and after the blooms are spent, the ‘dead heads’ make a great architectural element in the garden. The bulbs are planted in the fall and bloom in late spring to early summer.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Milk Thistle

19 05 2011

Milk Thistle or Blessed Thistle (Silybum marianum) is flowering plant in the daisy family (Asteraceae), although the blooms bear no resemblance whatsoever to daisies! The name is derived from the leaves, which are mottled with white splashes and contain a milky sap. The leaves of this particular species are variegated, so it is also known as Variegated Thistle. The plant has medicinal properties, health benefit claims, and has been used for food. Learn more about this plant here.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Love-in-a-Mist

19 05 2011

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena) is a beautiful Victorian garden annual blooming in soft shades of blue, pink, white, and lavender. Because its fern-like leaves look similar to fennel, it has also been called fennel flower. This annual herbaceous plant is in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), readily self-seeds, and is common in old-fashioned cottage gardens. It grows in full sun to partial shade and blooms from late spring through fall. Nigella is short-lived, so for continuous bloom, repeat sowing every four weeks. You can cut and deadhead this plant to keep it flowering longer.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Foxglove (Digitalis)

19 05 2011

As a biennial, Foxglove plants will only flower every other year. Biennials need more than one season to complete their growing and seed-producing cycle.

This plant is as poisonous as it is beautiful. The entire plant is toxic (roots, sap, flowers, seeds and leaves). The leaves of the upper stem are particularly potent—just a nibble is enough to cause death. I read that some people have been poisoned simply from inhaling the spores exuded by the seed pods that form in the fall. As much as I love the stately blooms, I wouldn’t plant it in my garden. It’s highly toxic to people and pets—and just brushing up against it can cause hives. Yes, many plants have some level of toxicity—but this is one that you really need to learn more about. I’m happy to just photograph it in public gardens (and keep my distance)!

Learn more about this plant, including details on its toxicity, here. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





‘Butter and Sugar’ Siberian Iris

19 05 2011

Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) ‘Butter and Sugar’—don’t you just love that name? Makes me hungry for sugared toast! Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Japanese Bleeding Heart

19 05 2011

Japanese Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a perennial that prefers partial sun to full shade. A good plant for naturalizing, it works well in woodland settings and should be divided every three years. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Yellow Wild Indigo ‘Screaming Yellow’

19 05 2011

Yellow Wild Indigo ‘Screaming Yellow’ (Baptisia sphaerocarpa), sometimes called Horsefly-weed, is native to the south central U.S. This smooth, bushy perennial has elongated clusters of yellow pea-shaped flowers that bloom from May to September. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Tall Bearded Iris ‘Indian Chief’

14 05 2011

I’m pretty confident in my identification of these flowers after seeing this one here. I photographed these beauties in a garden located between the original Vienna Library, which is now a museum (circa 1897, relocated to its current location in 1970) and the Freeman House Store & Museum in Vienna, VA. The Freeman House has served as a residence, store, Civil War hospital, railroad station, post office and fire department, and is now a museum and general store. The little L-shaped garden was ablaze in color with Bearded Iris, Poppy, Salvia and Foxglove blooms. The overcast and slightly drizzly weather made for perfect photographic conditions—saturated color and glorious raindrops on petals!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Rhododendron

26 04 2011

The name ‘Rhododendron’ is derived from Greek—rhódon (rose) and déndron (tree). This genus has over 1000 species of woody plants and includes azaleas. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.