Moss on a Tree

2017 Flora Roundup!

I love getting outside to poke around and see what’s there, what piques my interest. I’m always hoping for interesting mushrooms, seed pods, spiders or insects. I didn’t shoot outdoors quite as much last year as in previous years; I’ll try to do better this year. Hopefully it will be a mild summer! I daydream about living somewhere where the daytime high temperatures in the summer don’t rise above the low 80s and it doesn’t feel like the humidity is trying to strangle you =) Here are some of last year’s plants and fungi…(insects, lizards and birds will be in the next post).

▲ A seed sheeth still attached to the cotyledons of either a cucumber or a cantaloupe seedling . Photographed in early March.

▲ New Dogwood leaves in the spring. Photographed in late March.

▲ Early spring in the vegetable garden. The dark purple flowers are salvia (for attracting pollinators), the lavender flowers are on the chives and the out-of-focus green leaves in the foreground are beets! Photographed in early April.

This is Euphorbia ‘Tiny Tim.’ The euphorbiaceae, or spurge, family is quite large and contains more than 7,500 species, ranging from small, flowering annuals to cacti-like members (not true cacti, though) to large trees! Photographed in early April.

▲ Trillium luteum, also known as Yellow Trillium or Yellow Wakerobin. It’s native to and common in parts of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. I photographed this on in my parent’s backyard. Photographed in mid-April.

▲ These are the berries of my Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) (seen in this post from almost two years ago). Photographed in early May and late July.

▲ Early evening roses…Photographed in early May.

▲ One of the advantages to growing plants in pots is that you can move them around when you want to take their picture! I moved my Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) so that it could be back-lit by the sun. I love photographing plants this way – you can see detail in the leaves that you can’t see otherwise and sometimes leaf colors can appear to be quite different from what you’re expecting! Photographed in early May.

▲ An Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) back-lit by the sun. Photographed in early May.

▲ Overlapping fronds of an Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) back-lit by the sun. Photographed in early May.

▲ An Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), this time in black & white, back-lit by the sun. Photographed in early May.

▲ One more Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) in black & white, back-lit by the sun. Photographed in early May.

▲ New growth on an Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora). Native to eastern Asia. Photographed in early June.

▲ I grew cantaloupes last year and it was a success! Photographed throughout June.

▲ I honestly couldn’t believe it when I cut my first cantaloupe open and it was nice and orange inside – and so sweet! It tasted just like it was supposed to =) Photographed in early July.

▲ Believe it or not that orange stringy stuff is a plant! It’s called dodder and it’s a parasite. There are up to 170 different species of dodder – I’m not sure what this one is, specifically. Once a dodder seed germinates is starts to look for a host. It needs to find one one within 5-10 days or the seedling will die. Once it finds a host it produces a haustorium that it uses to attach itself to the host plant. At this point the root of the original seedling dies and the dodder is now dependent upon its host. In colder climates dodder is an annual and dies back over the winter, but seeds (it produces small flowers during it’s growing cycle) can remain dormant in the soil for many years. Photographed in early August near the Chattahoochee River.

▲ Possibly a Parasol Mushroom…photographed with my phone, converted to black & white and edited for contrast. Photographed in mid-August.

▲ I photographed this shelf-like mushroom near the Chattahoochee River, not far from where I live. It was a bit too far away for me to get a closer shot! I think it’s a polypore mushroom from the genus Trametes, but I’m still working on the full identification. I remember where I photographed it so I’ll look again this year, and also take note of what kind of tree it was growing on, since that can help with identification. I’ll also try to get a more useful picture! Photographed in late August.

▲ This is lichen growing on the side of a tree. Lichen is not a single organism! Lichen has a fungal component and an algal or algae component. Taxonomically they are categorized based on their fungal component. The relationship between the two organisms is mutualistic, meaning that they both benefit. There are more than 20,000 known species of lichen!…Photographed in late August.

▲ Moss growing on the side of a tree. Photographed in late August.

▲ A Passion Flower, most likely Passiflora incarnata. Photographed in late August.

▲ Spotted Jewelweed or Touch-Me-Not, also known as Impatiens capensis. Photographed in late August.

▲ Look at that glow…Photographed in late August.

In the Garden Spring 2016

I go out into the garden with my camera whenever I can, usually on cloudy days or during the warm light of late afternoon and early evening, looking for anything and everything.  Leaves, flowers, blades of grass, bugs, spider webs, frogs…anything that captures my attention. Cloudy days are great because the light is soft and there aren’t any harsh shadows and the light from the low sun late in the afternoon/early evening makes everything glow. I love being outside at that time of day…you can feel night coming on and the world winding down.

Below are larger versions of the images in the collage above:

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Cucumbers & a Heat Wave…

It’s been pretty hot here in the Atlanta area for the past two weeks.  The day time highs have been getting up into the mid 90s and over night lows have been in the mid and upper 70s. Way too hot for me! I haven’t been doing outdoorsy stuff as much as usual – just walking to the mailbox can make you break into a sweat!

I have been tending to my cucumbers, though, and worrying that the heat might make them grow too quickly. But all has gone well and my first attempt at growing cucumbers has produced fruit! It’s been a lot of fun to watch the plants grow from a few inches tall to climbing up a trellis that is more than a foot-and-a-half taller than me. And the tendrils on a cucumber plant are amazing. If you’re patient you can actually watch them reach for the trellis or anything nearby that they can latch on to.

Below are a series of photographs from early May up until just a couple of days ago:

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Out & About in the Garden

Before I share the photographs from my most recent house shoot I wanted to post some of what I’ve been photographing in the garden. Starting about an hour to an hour and a half before sunset the low angle of the sun filtering through the various types and colors of leaves is hard to resist. I’ve been doing most of this work hand-held because it’s so much easier to move from plant to plant and not have to constantly re-adjust my tripod. I like being able to move quickly as the light changes and lie down on the ground if I need to get a particular angle (kneeling bare-legged in fresh pine straw, however, has not been fun).

There are definite benefits with the tripod, though, and I did use it to get some of the shots below. I’m finding that the ball head on my tripod is not strong enough to hold the weight of my macro lens and it’s a lot of work to get the lens pointed exactly where I want it. After I book a few more real estate shoots I might be looking into acquiring a geared head for my tripod. They’re supposed to be good for real estate photography, too (getting the camera perfectly level and the sensor perfectly parallel to a particular plane can be really challenging). The more I read about geared heads the more it seems like a good idea to get one!

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Another Spring Photo Collage

I’ve been getting more practice with my 105mm macro lens and the more I use it the more I love it. We’ve had a lot of gray, overcast days here in the Atlanta area recently. That’s not so great for people who want to get outside and enjoy the spring temperatures, but it’s great for macro photography! In the above collage you will see Solomon’s Seal (top left), Calibrachoa (small orange flowers) and Creeping Jenny (the lime green/yellow-ish plant next to the Calibrachoa), Asiatic Lily leaves (far right), Azalea flowers (pink), Lily of the Valley (small, white, bell-shaped flowers), and tulips. I grew tulips for the first time this spring and they did really well.

I photographed a new listing a couple of days ago, so more real estate photos coming soon. I’m also trying to figure out how to post video to a blog post and get the formatting to work the way that I want it to. I have some simple time lapses that I’d like to post, but they will have to wait until I get things figured out!

(I’m also working on changing the blog settings so the featured image above can be viewed larger in a lightbox. Right now the size that you see is as large as I can make it.)

Spring 2015 in Full Bloom!

Spring is finally here and I’ve been out in the garden quite a bit trying to document its arrival. The hyacinths have been and gone and the daffodils have already peaked, too. But the tulips just emerged in the past week and the dogwoods and azaleas will be opening up soon. The carpenter bees are zooming all over the place, too. I love that when the plants start to emerge in the spring I don’t have to go very to find photography subjects! In the above collage you’ll see a daffodil, daffodil stems, Nandina leaves, an iris, pink hyacinth petals and a holly fern getting ready to uncurl.

Botanical Photography :: Elephant Ears

I discovered my love of gardening and plants a few years ago when I moved into a house for the first time. Plants are fascinating. And if you look hard enough even a garden that isn’t well-tended can provide never-ending photography opportunities (especially if you have a macro lens and can work really close to your subjects). Luckily my mom’s garden is very well taken care of and her recent acquisition of two elephant ears has provided me with some interesting new photography victims!

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