Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tulips splash color into garden

Photographing flowers and plants. Most photographers have been there and done that, right? And most of us indulge the experience because one gets pretty pictures, because the subject never complains or runs away (although holding still in a gusty wind is another matter), and because in many cases, it's convenient and stress-free.

I cite all of the above as reasons for my annual (short) trek to the gardens at my home, where my violet and marble-orange tulips in the circular garden and the stalwart red tulips in the rear fence-line garden greet me when I gaze out the kitchen window during their short spring run.

Asparagus along the north fence line garden already is inching skyward. This is year three for the asparagus, and I think I could have harvested some of that last year, but I resisted. In the genus garden, I miss my purple and amber crocus, which I inadvertently removed a few summers ago while planting vegetables nearby. I also lost a couple of blue- and lilac-colored hyacinth in the process.

The lone white-petaled crocus that survived my inadvertent plant removal seems very lonely each year when it makes its short splash, which usually comes in very early March but was delayed a few weeks this year thanks to the extended frigid weather. White color, by itself, doesn't light up the otherwise spartan garden at that time of year as the color combo had done in previous years. I haven't bothered to restock my crocus since; I haven't decided yet that's what I want there permanently.

In June, I'll have the spectacular yellow and pink Asiatic lily show, also along the north fence line. This year, they'll be joined by a couple new lilies that I planted last fall (I've honestly forgotten the color). Not long after that, there'll be lots of potential photo subjects to pursue from the other fruit and vegetable plantings -- strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and cucumbers. My big curiosity is whether the blueberry bushes will finally give me something to talk about (OK, and consume) this year, their third in the rear garden. I'm beginning to wonder if I maybe gave the blueberries a bad growing spot ... or if, perhaps, the bird kingdom simply is beating me to all of it. I do know the blueberry bush is giving me a nice spring floral show, and there are a couple pictures of that here.

For this post, I present the tulips, blooms from a white-and-gold trumpet daffodil and the buds from the blueberry bush. I used my Canon 6D and Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens in aperture-priority setting during the April 29 shoot. I stuck within the f8-11 range, with a shutter speed defaulting to 1/80 to 1/160. Occasionally, the shutter would get slower, in which case I would adjust the ISO, which ranged from 100 to 160.

It's always a challenge to find new or "different" things after photographing flowers so much. This time, I went for such things as elegenace (notice the tall-stemmed purple tulips); the curved forms from the strong wind; dappled light through branches of the red bud tree that shares the circular garden with the orange/purple tulips; different backgrounds (the light wooden fence you see is new -- my new neighbor installed it last fall); and various groupings. There was even a "pose" where it looked like one tulip bent by a strong gust was supporting -- "cupping," almost -- a neighboring bloom. I enjoyed that. I include a perspective shot of the circular garden so you can appreciate the clustering ... and see the bottom of the red bud tree.

The red tulips in the rear fence-line garden were nearing the end of their annual run when I did this shoot. They lasted only a couple days more afterward. The orange/purple tulips, however, are still looking strong.

As always, to see a larger and sharper version of the image, click on the image. The sharpness factor especially applies to those accessing the blog via mobile device.