It was the most wonderful day of the year! Our cats got their first taste of pansies this fall...Read More
I did a 2014 update to my Gardening for the Birds post, detailing plants that I grow to attract birds. The hummers are starting to notice!Read More
Poor Squirt - it wasn't enough that I withheld pansies for lightpad photography once, but I had such a good time that I did it again! I took some pansies and some small petunias and played more with my new ArtOGraph Lightpad. Then I spent a rainy afternoon having fun with the post-processing. A few of these got a "hmm! I like that!" from Rich. Can you guess which ones? This …Read More
Rich got me an ArtOGraph Lightpad for Christmas, after seeing me drool over some of Denise Ippolito's flower shots. I infuriated Squirt by photographing some pansies on the Lightpad out on his porch, where he sat waiting to devour my subjects as soon as I finished photographing them. Whiskey was right there, too! At our house, flowers are meant for eating…at least according to my favorite felines. I had a …Read More
My mom's neighbors (hi Dick and Connie!) recently gave her a branch from a flowering orchid, and my mom was sweet and froze it for me! I guess she wanted to see more frozen flowers on my blog. :) Then she was nice enough to keep it in the freezer for me for a few weeks until I had a chance to take my macro lens over to shoot. So …Read More
I have a secret. Don't tell Squirt. The last time we bought him pansies, I didn't give them to him right away. I took them to the backyard and photographed them. Then he got to devour them. I have another secret. I wanted to try photographing pansies in rain, but there was no rain in the forecast. My solution? A garden hose hanging from my crape myrtle! That and a …Read More
I've been working every weekend since I returned from Maine, and I need to start making time to get back out with my camera. I'm hearing warblers chip-chip in the treetops in the evenings, and the sunrises this week have been gorgeous! In the meantime, I took a page from Herman's book and played with more macro photography around the backyard. This ladybug was crawling around in my coral porter …Read More
Can you believe it's October already? Seems like it was just yesterday that I was photographing baby Sandhill Cranes and newborn cygnets! And now the fall breeze is in the air and the days are getting shorter, quickly. That means it's time for fall mums and pumpkins! Chrysanthemums are some of my favorite flowers. They are so cheerful. They are fun to photograph in clusters. It's been a while since …Read More
We took a walk around the neighborhood the other night and I had to take my camera. Our community flower beds are full of colorful pentas right now, and they call my name every time I drive by them! The mass of colors made me want to experiment with some intentional blurs… First I tried moving the camera in small circles with a long-ish exposure. I got a lot of …Read More
Ever since my first frozen flower experiments, Rich whispers "Freeze me!" in my ear every time we pass a clump of African Irises. On a recent rainy day (we've had plenty of those!), I took a flower inside and did some more experimentation. This time I didn't freeze the flower. I set it up in my living room and played with lighting. I'm primarily a bird and wildlife photographer, so …Read More
Last week we had a hummingbird in our backyard! We were eating dinner on our back porch with the cats when I noticed the hummer nectaring on my hummingbird bush. By the time I grabbed my camera, the bird had gone. I couldn't tell if it was a male or female. But it was a hummingbird! Come back, little hummer!
It's been raining cats and dogs around Central Florida lately! And my cats are not particularly happy about it. They are not fans of lightning and thunder, and even the gentle rains often leave the porch too wet for feline usage. But on the bright side, there's a decent chance of catching a rainbow after work on hot summer afternoons. This one was pretty over my backyard at the end …Read More
The little brown truck brought me a new toy this summer! It's a Canon 5D Mark III camera body. I'm so excited about it, as it has much improved autofocus, even better than my 1D Mark IV. It also does in-camera HDR and in-camera multiple exposures. It's a full-frame camera, which will be fun for some of my more "artistic" photography. There's a rule at our house that the first …Read More
A while back I read a fun blog entry by Denise Ippolito where she froze flowers to photograph. It sounds weird, but she got some amazing results. Then my friend Kathy Urbach started experimenting with the same technique. I liked their images and decided to try the technique myself. It's not as easy as it sounds! First you have to pick a flower or composition that will look good frozen. …Read More
The other day we got home from work and Squirt really, really wanted to go out on the porch. So did Whiskey. How to say no to two adorable cats? So I grabbed my macro lens and extension tubes and we all went outside. While the boys sniffed the breeze and chased lizards, I photographed flowers. One of my favorite daylilies, a pale pink variety with a yellow center, was …Read More
My daylilies in the backyard are starting to bloom, and they are so colorful. I've been having fun with my macro lens, Photoshop, the Nik filters, and some Fractalius. (Rich loves to tease me that I have Windows running on my Mac for almost the sole purpose of the Fractalius Photoshop filter!) It's fun to sit and play with angles in-camera, and then colors and effects on the computer. …Read More
This past weekend I was feeling well enough to get out and shoot, but it was windy and rainy. Yuck! So I got out the camera and headed for my own backyard. My azaleas are in full bloom, and they are just gorgeous. Luckily the rain didn't blow all the azalea blooms away like last year! I couldn't resist the opportunity for close-up shots of the raindrops on the blooms… …Read More
Today is Groundhog Day, and Punxsutawney Phil says that we're in for an early spring. Thank goodness — I'm tired of the cold! I didn't need a groundhog to tell me that spring is coming, though. My backyard plants are telling me all about it. The oaks are putting out their new leaves already, my azaleas started to bloom several weeks ago, and my honeysuckle never stopped blooming this winter. …Read More
You know you've been bitten by the photography bug when you're in a garden center, and you see a display of flowering Gerber Daisies, and you purchase it thinking, "oooh, that one would look good with the Fractalius filter applied!" You can have lots of fun with a pot of Gerber Daisies, Photoshop, and filters… I love Gerber Daisies. They are colorful, they have such interesting centers, and they are …Read More
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Work is done for the year, the cats are enjoying the cold front breezes out on the porch, and I got to photograph Squirt's favorite holiday treat. Well, one of Squirt's favorite holiday treats. :)
I keep playing with water droplet experiments, and I think I'm getting better. I still haven't quite captured the image that's in my mind's eye, but this one comes the closest. This is one of Squirt's first-of-fall pansies, photographed through water droplets scattered on my porch glass-top table. I dragged a lamp out on the porch on a very overcast morning to improve the lighting conditions. I also tried a …Read More
A few days ago I posted a picture of a pansy called Purple and Gold. Well, today's is Red and Gold. This is one of my zinnias from the backyard before they were killed by the recent cold snap. I was having fun focusing on the detail in the middle of the flower. Then I had more fun playing with Photoshop and filters.
With this week's cold snap, my summer flowers are dying off, including my clumps of Mexican Sunflowers. I photographed these a while ago playing again with water droplets. I liked this attempt better than my last one, when I had very little light. This latest attempt was at sunset with lots of light - and the reflections were so much better!
Before I let the cats devour their first-of-fall pansies, I claimed the six-packs for myself and had some fun with my macro lens. I love the colors of pansies - purples and reds with great yellow centers. They are my favorite wintertime flower and I'll have to take advantage of this week's cold snap to go plant some in the backyard!
We had fun watching for migrants and hummers in my parents' backyard on Saturday afternoon. Right after I left, my mom reported that about 50 Palm Warblers came to visit Missy! Goldy is jealous. I had my wide-angle lens with me, and while we waited for the birds, I took pictures of the flowers in their backyard. It's a nectar paradise - no wonder my lucky parents have hummingbirds!! :)
It was a gray, icky day yesterday, so I had fun playing with my camera and flowers in my own backyard. I had read about a technique for water droplet images on Denise Ippolito's blog, and I decided to experiment and see what I could do. This is a zinnia flower taken through a sheet of glass sprayed with water droplets. I had a great time experimenting, and this was …Read More
I had another fun afternoon photographing flowers in my backyard. Here's another one of the pretty pink flowers.
Last night after work I went out into the backyard with my wide-angle lens and extension tubes. A lot of hummingbird flowers are blooming right now, and I wanted to capture the "hummer's-eye view". This is a close-up of one of the giant Coral Porterweed blooms.
We haven't seen any hummingbirds in the backyard recently. :( My Coral Porterweed and Compton's Salvias are about to burst into bloom. Hopefully that will help to attract some. In the meantime, we have a lot of bee activity. This plant is a real insect-pleaser.
I keep watching for hummingbirds in our backyard. Our neighbors finally saw their first hummer, but it's been a few weeks. Don't the birds know how long I worked to plant those nice red flowers for them? Maybe it's not too late to hope for a winter guest. Or maybe they'll find me next spring. Maybe! :) In the meantime, I jump every time I see a big bee or …Read More
It's been really hot out, and the bird photography just isn't as intense in July. So I've been spending more time in my own backyard garden. I'm trying to get the birds to come to me! Especially the hummingbirds, my absolute favorite little birds. I can get hummers in both summer and winter here in Orlando, so I've been putting out lots of red flowers to tempt them to my …Read More
I've been spending more time in my garden in the past few weeks. I'm trying to bring the birds to me-more about that in an upcoming post. I was surprised to find my hydrangea bushes putting on a few late blooms. They are especially pretty after rain! I played with a few Nik Color Efex filters to try to make the flower pop. It's hard not to over-do it with …Read More
My hummingbird garden is growing nicely with all the rain we've been having! If only the hummer numbers grew as quickly. We've had a couple this summer, but no regular customers. Yet. I'll keep the nectar coming!
We have two pineapples growing in our pineapple patch this year. They are getting bigger. I can't wait to taste them!
I went out to take my traditional azalea picture of the bushes in our front yard. They are in full bloom right now, and they are so pretty! Then I realized that I've been blogging for over five years now, and I think I have a "first azalea of spring" shot from each year. So I tried to mix it up a little. I tried my first in-camera blur, where …Read More
A flock of Cedar Waxwings was in the backyard last night. Why is it that you never have a camera outside with you when the good birds come to town? Of course they left before I got back. So I turned the camera on the orange blooms that are covering our little tree right now…
Soon the mushrooms will be growing!!
The cats and I were both surprised the other day when we went outside and found this moth clinging to our porch screen. I'm not sure what kind of moth it is, but it's kinda pretty (in a mothy way!)
We've had a couple of new visitors to the backyard lately, including the following: A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird! He was hovering around my firecracker plant. Rich saw him and I didn't. Not fair! Barn Swallows. They swoop in and out of the yard in the evenings. I wish I could get a picture. Their feathers are gorgeous when the sun hits them. A Downy Woodpecker. We've yet to see this guy, …Read More
I've been noticing many more bugs in the backyard since I stopped spraying my roses with pesticides on a regular basis. I have no idea what this bug is, but he was quite happy to hang out on my Indigo Spires salvia.
These are blooms of my Coral Nymph salvia, a plant that provides good nectar for hummingbirds. It's not one of the bright red flowers that typically attracts hummers, but the flowers have the long tubular shape that is well adapted for long beaks and tongues. Now I just need to get a few hummers to find my yard!
Squirt was dismayed when I took his potted catnip plant outside a few weeks ago. But after a few good rains, the plant has quadrupled in size. Now Squirt gets to teach Whiskey the joys of playing with catnip… Now this is cool…this post was brought to you via my iPhone. I took the picture with the iPhone camera and I'm blogging using the WordPress app. :-)
We've been getting some much-needed rain. We got four inches in about half an hour a few days ago! The rain lilies are blooming now as a result…
It rained last week! Finally! My rain lilies burst into bloom a day or two later…
We had a Swallow-Tailed Kite fly through our yard this evening! It banked and showed off its pretty underwings, then flew off before I could get a picture. But we saw it! Our hydrangeas are blooming and they are gorgeous. I love the mixture of pinks, purples, and blues. (Hydrangeas are supposed to be pink or blue, depending on the pH of the soil. So what do my varying colors …Read More
Mum-mum had a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird migrant in her yard a few weeks ago. We haven't had any interesting migrants. We have the hummingbird feeders out, just in case! This bottlebrush shot would have been even better if there had been a nice hummer nectaring on it. :-p
The yard has been full of the smell of citrus blossoms this week. It's the first spring that our grapefruit tree is big enough to have lots of blossoms.
I know Spring has arrived to stay when I see my 'Yangtze' daylily in bloom. It's an early bloomer and the bright yellow adds some welcome color to the yard.
There was quite a bit of dew on some of my pansies this morning. Squirt's not sure if he approves of that.
Thanks to my papitos for the bare-root strawberry plants, which have weathered the cold nicely and are now starting to bear fruit!
A few nights ago, the sunset in our neighborhood was just gorgeous. I stopped and took a few bracketed shots for HDR practice. The sky was so clear, and the clouds very fluffy. I liked the patterns that they made, and how they varied from gray to pink in the setting sun. Of course I couldn't face Squirt without trying HDR on his favorite flowers. Unfortunately for him, this plant …Read More
Mum-mum gave me three Paper White bulbs as a birthday present. I planted them a few weeks ago and they are already blooming! I couldn't resist pulling out the extension tubes and taking some close-up pictures of the first flowers. Someone was asking me the other day about why you should pay attention to the f-stop number in photography. Often when I am photographing birds, especially in low light, I …Read More
Squirt hasn't quite forgiven me…I planted a bunch of pansies outside instead of giving them to him! I sure have a lot of nerve. Lowes has some fun multi-colored pansies, where each plant produces varying flower colors. I seem to remember mono-color plants in previous seasons. Too bad, Squirt!
I was outside at dusk tonight and saw this hummingbird moth fluttering around my torenia plant. Too bad it wasn't a real hummingbird!
For three subsequent trips to Lowes, this white coneflower plant called my name. After seeing it still alive after almost a month of neglect at Lowes, I figured that maybe it had a chance of surviving in my yard! So I planted it next to the purple coneflower that is blooming so well. Hopefully they will grow up well together.
My purple coneflower hasn't died yet! (still!) Isn't it pretty covered in blooms? (But the butterflies prefer the Mexican Sunflower that is right next to it. I haven't seen a single butterfly on the coneflower.)
I haven't managed to kill this year's purple coneflower yet! (knock on wood…) Last year I tried to plant several, and they all turned black and died on me. This year I got a bigger one, hopefully better established, and gave it plenty of water for the first couple of weeks. It's rewarding me with a bunch of new flowers!
I love how tall my Mexican Sunflower plant has gotten this year! It's covered in bright orange flowers that make the yard so cheerful and seem to be pretty appealing to our butterfly visitors.
With all the rain we've been getting lately (and the hail today), the rain lilies have all started to bloom. Several bulbs tagged along with the crape myrtle that Mum-mum and Dyeyo gave us, and the pale flowers underneath the purple bush that is also starting to bloom is really pretty. I also have a couple of bird events to note, even though I don't have pictures for all of …Read More
My hydrangeas are covered in blooms and they are just gorgeous. The mix of pinks, purples, and blues is fun. It's a shame that hydrangeas only bloom for a couple of weeks out of the year. They are so pretty. Each year I go crazy taking close-up pictures of the blooms. Here is today's favorite:
I saw the first blooms peeking out from the crape myrtle trees this weekend. I love how everything bursts into bloom at this time of year!
It's fun to be surprised each morning by the smell of the gardenias and the sight of daylilies. My 'Butterscotch Ruffles' daylily usually has three or four blooms, as does 'Yangtze.' 'Rambo' and 'Swirling Spider' are much bigger flowers, and usually just have one a day. Today's picture is a dew-covered 'Rambo'.
Happy Birthday, Dyeyo D! This time of the year is so exciting in the backyard because of all the spring blooms on the flowers. Today I noticed that my hydrangeas are starting to bloom and they are blue again this year! Actually I have a pretty mix of blues, purples, and pinks. I need to take a picture of the two bushes together once the blooms have gotten a little …Read More
My 'Swirling Spider' daylily put out its first bloom today. I remember being slightly hesitant about adding a spider to my daylily mix, and I'm so glad I did. It's my favorite one to photograph.
The gardenia has finally decided that it's spring. (Like everything else this year, the blooms are late.) A bunch of the buds fell off, but even more are starting to open. It smells great!
I promised Mum-mum that I would put up a picture of my new fountain. I'm hoping the birds enjoy the extra source of water. The neighborhood squirrel already does! Rich got a great picture of him the other day drinking out of the fountain. The fountain is on the side of the house, surrounded by roses.
The azaleas are in full bloom right now. Aren't they pretty?
Finally! Daylight Savings Time begins! This sunflower bloomed to celebrate. Today is also Pi Day. Do something irrational! (Like CMU students, who write PI out to a crazy number of digits on all the campus sidewalks, or Rich, who got himself on TV by waving his Terrible Towel at a Penguins game!)
The squirrel was back! He seems to be making his home around here…we keep seeing him around the feeders. So Squirt and the Squirrel had a bushy-tail contest. Who do you think won?
Time to trim the crape myrtles! The yard is starting to look like spring, with the roses flushing and the winter flowers blooming.
Squirt got his last pansies of the year (don't tell him, but we can't find them at Lowes anymore. Now he has to wait until next November for more.) We saw about 8 robins digging for worms under a tree at work this morning. They surprised us, since Rich's parents said the robins are already back up in Pennsylvania. Maybe the crazy weather is affecting the migration?
Close-up of Dyeyo's flowers taken with my new lens! Thanks, Santa Rich! We gave Dyeyo his new camera, too, and spent a fun half hour taking pictures of the Double-Crested Cormorants flying over Lake Florence. Take a peek at Missy's Diner.
Oh happy day! Despite the record heat, Lowes began stocking pansies, so Squirt got his first pansy fix of the year. Then he got to spend the whole afternoon out on the porch…what more could a little kitty cat want?
Peter and Carla went chopping-crazy this weekend! First they pulled down the oleander bushes in between our yards, then they took the chainsaw to their banana tree as well. Some advice to their new podocarpus plants: if you want to live long in the Smith yard, keep your leaves to yourself and don't drip sap on the lawn.
Despite the thrips that are determined to eat the roses before they open properly, the backyard is still pretty colorful these days. I can't wait till the crape myrtles are all as big as Q!
Zinnias are some of my favorite summer flowers. I think the butterflies agree. We've seen monarchs, swallowtails, zebra longwings, and skippers around the yard in the past few weeks. There's a new batch of monarch caterpillars feasting away on my milkweed, too. Hopefully I'll be able to find the chrysalides again.
'Butterscotch Ruffles' is the only daylily that is reblooming this summer. Such pretty little blooms! Happy birthday, Lisa :)
Peter's cacti are covered in blooms. It's too bad they only bloom at night, so we can only enjoy them first thing in the morning. Click on the picture to see a close-up of a bloom. Who would have thought when Peter pulled some little pieces of cactus out of the dumpster that they would grow to rival the palm trees in height? :)
My crape myrtles "Susie" and "Q" are blooming and their color is so cheerful in this heat. I really like the purple of Q next to the purple 'Melody Parfumee' rose and the light orange 'Tahitian Sunset' rose.
My new daylily is blooming. :)
Another hydrangea bloom closeup. :)
My hydrangeas are blooming - they're a wonderful combination of blues, purples, and hints of pink. I wish they bloomed all year round!
Hey, Mum-mum, thank you for the rain lilies that tagged along with Q to my yard!
Wendy would be pleased to see my daylilies blooming so nicely! This one is 'Alabama Jubilee.'
My hydrangeas have started blooming. :)
Wendy would be happy to see my 'Swirling Spider' daylily finally blooming again. I had a 'Rambo' bloom the other day as well, and there are scapes on 'Alabama Jubilee.' We saw Zorro again tonight! I really hope he and his wife stick around. :)
The gardenia has been blooming for a few weeks now and the front yard smells heavenly!