Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Just Another Word-less Wednesday. . . On the Beach, In the Garden. . .

Remember that Digital Photography class I took shortly after I retired? I did manage to practise some of the skills and integrate some of the knowledge I picked up over the summer (examples in this post), but I opted to rely only on my iPhone camera for travel in the fall. And when I've been home between that trip and this year's travels to Portland and to Rome, I've tended to direct creative energies to the watercolour classes. Hard to manage two simultaneous learning curves. . . .

But I'm loath to slide right back to the bottom of DSLR Photography mountain, and I have the house to myself this week, enough time to putter my way back to enthusiasm for learning. Yesterday, I hauled out my coursenotes and reminded myself about Aperture settings -- f-stops and depth of field. Stunning how quickly the camera toggles and little wheels and various buttons become foreign, but I think I've nudged myself again out of a complacent reliance on the Auto setting. Still much more to be done on controlling lighting and contrast and shadow and framing, among other elements, but for now, I'm happy just to feel some kinaesthetic memory developing. . .







Yesterday morning was crisp and clear, and although I'd intended to head straight into the garden with my Nikon, I found myself heading down to the beach instead. Seaweed in all its slippery, textured, colourful glory. . .


























I did make it back to the garden as well, though. . . Spring has sent in the reconnaissance team, and is in the process of setting up camp. We often get our big snowfall of the year in February, so these blooms may end up under a foot of snow before Spring truly arrives. In the meantime, though, I'm soaking up their colours and shapes and fragrances (and the corollary benefits of the hummingbirds and bees they've been drawing).
I love this Mahonia japonica for its buttery flowers, their delicious fragrance -- so very welcome in dull January and February -- and for the shiny jagged sculpture of their leaves, the contrasting red stems. . . .

The flowers of this Viburnum Tinus 'Spring Bouquet' haven't opened yet, but the metallic blue berries with, again, contrasting red stems make such a pretty picture. . . 

If you know Hellebores, you'll know that I had to get on my belly to get the camera lens underneath and aiming upward to capture this shy bloom. . . Worth it!

Cheap and cheerful -- I'm not sure there's much that gives as much satisfaction for such a low price as a bag of crocus bulbs... Especially since they naturalise prodigiously. . .

 These white crocuses (I'm sorry, despite my years of high school Latin, "croci" just doesn't sit well) amuse me so, looking so much like eggshells opening, in a bed of straw, to reveal their sunny yolks (the straw is from the dried blades of a neighbouring ornamental grass that I allow to stay in place as mulch over the winter).

That was such fun, really, and I'm beginning to remember a few things about the camera settings. I'm also remembering how fortunate I am to live in the midst of so much natural beauty -- Rome's architecture, its extravagant energies, its warm colours with the patina of centuries are marvelous, but there are marvels right out my back door as well. . .And while Rome's history is linear, events signposted by art and architecture, resurrected by archaeology, remembered in literature, the Natural History of my back yard is reassuringly cyclical, mesmerisingly repetitive, variations on a rhythmic theme that stirs something atavistic in us if we only slow down and observe. . .

Enough. This is supposed to be a Word-less post. . . But that directive is not meant for you -- Your words are always very welcome here. Comments? Thoughts?


23 comments:

  1. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder- I enjoy your little island so much! Life and dead and life again.....beautiful moss and so adorable crocuses,humble and merry and, oh, so simply beautiful! When they are here as first spring guests,my heart is full! My mantra would be: Spring is comming!
    Your photo spell is here to stay.....
    Dottoressa

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    1. Isn't it lovely, the approach of Spring! Probably my favourite time of year.

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  2. How lovely to see these pictures full of colour and beautiful shapes as I contemplate shovelling the driveway again! And I can't believe your trip to Rome is over already - I thought you were going for 2 weeks? It went by very fast.

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    1. Whoops, sorry! Not sure you'd like to put up with the rain as e do. . . is that compensation?
      And I know what you mean about the time speeding by -- I was looking forward to that trip for some time and then suddenly it's done and I'm looking back. And yes, it was a full 2 weeks.

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  3. Such beautiful images! The early spring (really winter) flowers are like little treasures.

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  4. What Madame Là-bas says above! I could totally understand focusing on the watercolors and saying to heck with the intricacies of a camera;).

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    1. If I had any skill with the watercolours I might agree ;-)

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  5. Your camera and artistic eye shine here with a little help from Mother Nature. Just a beautiful time to wander and seek out the exquisite....enjoy your time alone.

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    1. We've had a lovely few days, haven't we?!

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  6. Spring flowers pack such a simple and powerful punch, coming along just when we need them. I like the way they are so unassuming, pushing through the wet mud and cold earth. I do love a snowdrop.

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    1. Some of these are really, as Madame says above, winter flowers. The japonica blooms in January, often right through the snow. I'm so very grateful.

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  7. I love seeing the beautiful shades of green and other colors in your garden and so soon! Is such an abundance of February flowering typical for your neck of the woods? Here things are covered in a thin crust of dingy ice and snow.

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    1. I must admit that I've planted my garden with a view to having winter-flowering fragrant plants, but we do generally have quite a bit of stirring in the garden in February. As I say, we're still getting ice and we could easily have a good dump of snow. But by mid February, there are always a few days when it's clear that spring won't be stopped, even if a snowfall tries....

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  8. The spires of moss marching off into unfocused infinity make the first photograph my favorite. But those crocuses! And the hellebore! Spring flowers are so very welcome.

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    1. Thanks Lorrie, I love your description of that top photo!

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  9. I have such a soft spot for Mahonia. All those years of tryout g to have everyone scent and colour in the garden before we fenced - Mahonia always find
    delivered.
    Your photos are beautiful. The attention to technique is far more than I could manage always tend that attention really shows.

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  10. Good heavens. That's what I get for writing comments on my phone at the end of a long day! I read my comment and wondered what could possibly be the first language of the writer. Maybe Klingon.

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    1. Hehe! I knew what you were saying and I also suspected that fatigue and phone operation were to blame. It's a sprawling scrubby shrub, but Mahonia has a guaranteed spot in my garden thanks to winter fragrance and that colour!

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  11. So lovely to wake up to the beauty of your surroundings Frances. A happy start to my day as I read your blog and sip my coffee! You've really captured the mood and some stunning colours and textures. It's a relaxing pastime wandering with a camera as a companion. Like you I tend to end up using my phone, mainly due to size and convenience. However it does take great photos.
    Have a good week .... almost the weekend, time really does fly by! :)
    Rosie

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    1. It is relaxing, wandering with the camera, and it encourages closer observation, being in the moment. And the phone makes it so convenient although it's also so constantly with me that sometimes I have to remind myself I can look without taking photos. . . Hope your weekend went well!

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  12. Replies
    1. I am increasingly drawn to macros.... ;-)

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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