Photographing The Blue Chairs
It has been written that when taking photographs in a garden, having a focal point is a good idea. (Links will be provided for the previous photo posts at the end of the story.) Blooming this April in the woodland garden was the deciduous azalea, Rhododendron ‘Golden Lights’. Peeking into the shot is the title subject, the blue chair.
Without meaning to, totally by accident, there has been a focal point in nearly all of the images snapped of the gardens in the southeast quadrant of our property. Blooming in the black garden, this time in July, is Crocosmia ‘Little Redhead’. Those blue chairs are really hams for the camera it seems.
It is with extreme pleasure that we would like to introduce you to the blue chairs. Purchased at the grocers as seating for under the newly constructed arbor, click here to read its story, they are made from high quality materials, (plastic) and were extremely expensive ($17.99 per chair). What attracted me to them, in addition to the above mentioned characteristics, was the color. I had been thinking about adding a couple of Adirondack styled chairs for seating and as focal points for a while. The worry was about rotting wood and peeling paint. Problem solved with these two beauties. (This year two more of the same type were added, in purple, but that is another story.) But there was an issue with the ground under the arbor, it is very sloping at the end opposite the path. The chairs needed to be moved out while the low area could be built up by adding weeds and trimmings from the garden that were not suitable for the compost bin due to seeds or woodiness. Another factor was the encounter with a large rat snake who was using the path for traversing the yard. I was happily sitting in the newly placed chair when he slithered along right at my feet. I froze immediately for I am afflicted with a terrible fear of snakes of all kinds, click here for a true story about possibly the same snake. He rose up in mid air to check me out, then went on his way. When I came to, the chairs were quickly moved.
Here you see the before shot, taken April 25, 2008 of the view from the garage deck. I love to compare the plantings from the same vantage point from time to time. Note that there are no blue chairs in the spot where they now reside which can be seen in the upper left section of the shot.
A similar shot one year later reveals the blue chairs drawing the eye even with so much going on in the garden at that time.
Last fall we completed the wood and gravel step project to finally make all the paths nice and neat looking. Gravel, step stones and pine straw allow for the whole garden to be traversed without getting muddy or wet feet. The blue chair was very helpful in holding the pick axe needed to dig into the red clay to set the six by six posts at the proper depth. A bag of quikrete was then poured dry on the flat areas, smoothed and sprinkled with gravel. Then it was hosed down well to let the stones mix in and set with the concrete.
The temporary placement of the chairs during the leveling process under the arbor has proven to be a good one. During high summer, when the sun is directly overhead, the blue Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’ just behind provides just enough shade to make contemplation and resting between garden chores most enjoyable. The vantage point is good for being able to watch butterflies visit the nearby plantings, just looking at the flowers and living life. It was discovered that these blue chairs have cropped up in many photos unintentionally. Standing so as to get the best angle for these irises, passalongs from neighbors Mae and Mickey, in bloom in April included the chairs.
Capturing the delightful seed grown Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’ often showed the blue chairs standing guard.
Sometimes the chairs themselves are the object of the lens. A brilliant idea was hatched last January to take photos from the same spot each month of the year for comparison and blog opportunities. We made a list of the places to stand and the direction to point and the features to include to make the photos as similar as possible. This was followed for the first three months of the year, noticing that there was little change during that time. Then April came around, the time when the garden springs to life, and the “Take A Stand” meme was totally discarded.
So many of the earliest blog images are macro shots, close ups that are very pretty but don’t really give a good idea of the garden as a whole. As the blog has matured, we are one month away from its second birthday, there has been a conscious effort to show more long views. Our camera skills lend themselves much better to the macro, but continued practice, learning the times for best lighting and using the new camera on zoom have given acceptable results. The above shot is from August of this year.
A recent photo of the area reveals that this spot changes little with the evergreen rosemary and chamaecyparis always present. The shades of blue of those evergreens, along with the virdigris copper roof of the birdhouse, thanks Lynn!, blend with the turqoise chairs for a cool color echo. Even the flowers of the rosemary are blue.
This image of the garden as the sun rises taken early April of this year is a favorite of mine. This area is the first thing visitors see when they make the turn past the row of ever growing Arborvitae as they come around the gravel path by the garage from the front of the house to the main gardens. It is a happy place.
Happy for so many reason. Those blue chairs had snuck into many photos, we noticed, when putting this post together. This shot from last Thanksgiving, a very big family get together, reminds us of the need to begin preparations for this year’s festival of fun. Little LTB has grown so much since this was taken, and someone’s hair has taken on a totally different hue as it has been allowed to grow out to the natural Wabi Sabi state.
This is to be considered a post about photography, the fifth in the series. We like to include a tip with each story. Here is the tip: Seabiscuit in the 4th. Sorry, the tip is to find a focal point that does not change, a piece of hardscape or statuary or furniture, and take photos of it and the surroundings to give an idea of the changes that take place in the garden through the months. Make changes to the plantings as desired.
Click on the titles to view the previous stories on this topic.
In Need Of A Focal Point (July)
Look Up-Look Down-Look All Around (September)