About The Light- June

June 29, 2009 043 The changing of the angle of the sun as the days pass from spring to summer cannot be ignored. This is the time of year that certain gardeners, whilst trying to capture the true beauty of the flowers outside begin to suspect there is something wrong with the camera. The colors aren’t true, the image is not as clear as in early spring. Why can’t the way the garden really looks be captured? Some flowers, such as the daylilies, do pose prettily for their portraits, as the case of Golden Globes above, backed by purple Monarda didyma ‘Blue Stocking’. June 28, 2009 017 Even the earliest rays of the sun peeking over the eastern property line as they fall upon petals and leaves are too harsh for the old camera, the Canon Powershot A720 IS to do its best work. Oakleaf hydrangea ‘Alison’ is turning tawny pink as the season shifts. Only able to point and shoot is a big drawback at this time of year. And there was that tumble down the daylily hill with camera in hand as the sheepskin lined flip flop could not hold a sliding foot on the steep embankment as yet one more variety needed recording for posterity. The hand held the mini tripod tightly that is screwed to the bottom of the camera, but there was a hard landing with the same hand breaking the fall. Hmmm, that might explain the lack of blooms on Brocaded Gown, now that the thought of the exact spot of the near disaster is remembered. It might also explain the camera not working to expectations, or it could be the light. Maybe it is time to get the new camera, the Canon Powershot sx1 out of the box. Or not. June 29, 2009 032 There is no wind as the dawn breaks. The sky is blue, or is it? Are there particles in the air that affect the camera’s eye? Ozone alerts have been issued for the very young and the elderly recently. My own breathing has been labored if long periods are spend out of doors, especially if the steep hillside has to be climbed several times. Could it be the Ozone levels compromise that early morning quality of light that has been such a boon to previous image taking expeditions? The yellow cherry tomato sails like a kite with the fruit as ballast high above one’s head as the bright light washes the colors away. June 29, 2009 003 Looking through the arbor at the tall pines that demarcate the eastern edge of our land, the paintbrush of light colors the boughs with a golden tint. June 28, 2009 016 The area of the garden that has proven to be the most challenging to capture is the black garden. The dark leaves of the purple leaf birch, mid left in the image, are nearly invisible to the camera even in the softest light of earliest morn. Later as the sun rises higher these same dark leaves have vanished completely. The idea of the black garden seemed interesting at its time of inception, a replacement for the constantly dying lavenders that were supposed to be reminiscent of Provence. The introduction of red flowers, like the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ have helped define the space. June 29, 2009 048 Moving to the other edge of the property by the pond, the light is seen hitting the bench and new granite lantern. This is a dark and shady spot when the surrounding trees have leafed out. The shade has extended steadily as the once tiny birches and dogwoods have grown into gangly teenagers. June 28, 2009 038 Is fall just around the corner? The turning leaf on the newest witch hazel, Hamamelis intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ seems to suggest just that. In fact, leaves are falling on certain water sensitive trees like the river birches and Yoshino cherry tree already. This has happened the last two years in midsummer as the lack of rainfall stresses our area. June 29, 2009 021 Dahlia ‘Night Queen’ flowers face the rising sun in homage to the life giving rays. The tree limbs seen above the darkness of the Emerald Arborvitae hedge are bathed in the new morning yellows as the orb in the sky rises higher. June 29, 2009 028 Sun and shadow, light and dark playfully prance across the hardscape as well as the plant life. A section of wrought iron railing salvaged from a renovation job brought to us by offspring Gardoctor bears our favorite motif, acorns and oak leaves. Sweet peas were planted with the intention of fragrant flowers twining the curving metal. That turned out to be a total bust, but the iron wired to the wooden ramp that leads to the garage deck is ornament enough. June 28, 2009 019 Ornamental millet, Pennisetum glaucum ‘Jester’ shines with the diamond lighting condition. June 28, 2009 021 Another dahlia faces the day bravely. It is not possible to tell which way the flowers are going to point when planting these tubers. Or is it? Do they point to the east to catch the warmth and light?
This is the second installment of About The Light. Click here to read the post for May. It was about this time last year that the health of the camera was questioned as the images seemed less than crisp. That is when we read the owners manual. It may be time, past time if one asks The Financier, to get to know the new camera better. Photo tip of the month: Stand over the subject when taking a photo to cast a shadow with your body to offset the blaring midday sun’s light.

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27 Responses to About The Light- June

  1. ourfriendben says:

    Wow, Frances! Some stunning images here. Your gorgeous ‘Golden Globes’ daylily is making me jealous, and so is your found wrought iron with the acorns and oakleaves (bless that Gardoctor). But if I were awarding prizes you’d win for that shot of the tomato plant, the most amazing view of a tomato I’ve ever seen.

    Hi OFB, thanks for those kind words, you are too sweet. I almost didn’t include that one, thinking it not up to par. The tomatoes are so pretty right now, before the leaf diseases strike and so much fruit almost ready to turn red or yellow. Don’t you love that smell, too? Yummmmm. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I’ve also been giving the pig’s eye to my camera, as it was virtually unable to capture white Campanula blooms against the dark foliage of the Physocarpus. I got one mediocre shot & tossed in the towel. I say play with your new toy, see what it can do before your old camera dies. Even with the old camera, you’ve managed to capture some magical photos.

    Thanks for the back up MMD. It happens every year at this time, all the photos disappoint as they are loaded on the computer. Looking back at them in January is another story however. I am ready to play with the new camera in any case. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. gail says:

    Good afternoon~~when did you slip this post in! The light is playing havoc with us…on this side of the mountains it’s either too harsh or there isn’t enough! Forget taking photos at dusk!

    I think your images are perfectly lovely! Ms Dahlia is a beauty…even tho she appears to be snubbing us! Do they follow the sun like Tennessee Coneflowers all day or do their faces stay in the same direction? gail

    Hi Gail, I believe it was shortly after 1 PM. What used to be my favorite time for photos, early morning is now no better than noon. Some of the dahlias face the sun as it rises, just like the daylilies. Others cooperate and face the deck or paths. I have been adding the TN coneflowers whenever one is spotted for sale. The seeds will be spread too, we need a swath of them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. The light at this time of year is too much in many ways. It’s also too dry at the moment and everything would benefit from some steady rain.

    It’s funny that I find my self dissatisfied with things in the harsh midday light only to think that they’re ok after all by the evening.

    Hi Rob, it sounds as though we are suffering from the same conditions in our gardens. The leaves droop scarily here during the heat of the day and I know it is not always from being too dry. Normal summertime, too hot, too bright, too dry, but the flowers still bloom their heads off thank goodness. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It doesn’t appear to be too difficult for you to get decent images Frances. These are quite good. I really like the hardscape too.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for that. These are the best of the best, and seem not up to snuff to my poor vision for some reason. The macros that are so easy in spring are nearly impossible now, in any light. August will be better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I have had a very difficult time getting the reds and yellows to show up correctly. The sun is up by 6:30am (ask Charm how we know) and it is difficult to get morning photos once the sun hits my garden so early. The phlox photos today were very difficult! I’ve been trying for several days to write about the phlox and went out immediately this morning to try again on Robert Poore!

    Great post!

    Hi Cameron, thanks. I am having the same problem, wanting to do posts but unable to get the shots to go along with it. It is light so early now, I do love that. No more waiting for the sun to come up to be able to see the garden. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Janet says:

    Hi there Frances, I really really like the tree photo through the arbor. What a composition. You have such a great eye. The Pennisetum glaucum โ€˜Jesterโ€™ took my breath away. What a bright color and the black/ dark base of each seed is a great contrast. Pat yourself on the back for these photos!

    Hi Janet, thanks so much. I was happy with that shot too, the light on the pines was a perfect example of the sun painting the foliage. Jester is beginning to grow just now, after sitting there for a couple of months.

  8. Daphne Gould says:

    Wow flowers in the sun. What a concept. It is still raining here. I love your daylily. It is quite stunning and the tomato against the blue sky is lovely. I’m wondering though. Isn’t sky supposed to be gray. Where do you get your pretty blue?

    Hi Daphne, thanks. The sky is clear and the sun shines every day. Every day means we don’t get the rain that the plants need to thrive though. There is saved water in the rain barrel though. It is nearly time to use it on the veggies, the beans are droopy.

  9. Lola says:

    Hi Frances, your photos are lovely as always. I really like that iron piece. That is about my favorite too—leaves & acorns.
    Have worried about the steep hill & your safety. Do be careful.

    Hi Lola, thanks for your concern. As long as we stay on the paths, flip flops are fine. Even the sloggers are not good on the slope in the beds though. Sneakers are best. There are four sections of railing with those wonderful leaves and acorns. One of these days they might go to the welder down the road to be made into something.

  10. Shirl says:

    Fantastic Frances! I haven’t visited in a while and I forgot what wonderful plants you have in your garden. Thanks so much for the illuminations tour I very much enjoyed it. My fav area was the sunlit bench beside your pond… so inviting and restful. Please do tell me that you’ve time to sit a while on it and reflect… have a great week ๐Ÿ˜€

    Hi Shirl, so nice to see you and thanks. My visiting is not what it should be either and I need to recitfy that. The pond bench is one of the spots where I do sit down for a moment and ponder life’s mysteries. You too have a great week yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Tatyana says:

    Through the arbor shot is my favorite. And, what an unusual idea – black garden! Thoroughly enjoyed this post!

    Thanks Tatyana. The black garden is still in its infancy, but the addition of red and orange flowers really brightens it up.

  12. Les says:

    We all love the flowers, but the tomato picture is sublime. The fruit caught my eye first and I struggled to know what they were. Then I looked at the foliage and back again at the fruit. I had to read your words to trust my eyes.

    Thanks Les, the tomatoes are a wonderful as any flowers right about now. Lots of fruits large and small on healthy foliage make them stars in the garden.

  13. Racquel says:

    Gorgeous shots Frances as always. My favorite has to be looking up thru the Arbor. :)I’ve been getting up quite early to enjoy the garden & get better shots. Plus once the heat of the day sets in I tend to escape into the A/C. Hope this summer isn’t going to be another dry one. It’s hard to keep up with the watering. There’s a chance of rain tomorrow, I’m crossing my fingers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks Racquel. Early mornings are so full of promise, a new beginning. How wonderful that we get to experience that every twenty four hours. Fingers and toes crosses for rain for you. We had some last night, blessedly.

  14. Lythrum says:

    Beautiful pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚ White seems to be my hardest color, because it reflects back so much. Any light color is hard to capture true.

    Hi Lythrum, thanks. White is very difficult, but right now they are all seeming nearly impossible to get right with the camera.

  15. eliz says:

    The arbor image is amazing.

    Thanks Elizabeth. The arbor and pine trees go together on pixels or to the human eye, good siting by the talented offspring Gardoctor who built it.

  16. Never dissapointed when stopping by your blog. You are a master with the camera no matter the light.

    You are so sweet, Anna, thanks.

  17. Catherine says:

    Well, I think your pictures are beautiful! I’m sorry to hear about your fall, hope you didn’t hurt anything.
    I’ve noticed issues with the light too. Some days my pictures seem so clear and bright and I’ve had some days where I thought my new camera was broken. It is interesting to see how much light plays a factor in picture taking.

    Hi Catherine, thanks for your kind words and concern. I am fine, it is the camera that worries me. My body is tougher than its casing and innards. Last year at this time I seriously thought there was something wrong with the camera. As the months passed and the light changed, and I read the owner’s manual, the camera made a miraculous recovery.

  18. I enjoyed your thoughts about light and getting plant pictures. I spend a lot of time mouth-breathing at David Perry’s garden photo blog, where he explains how cameras see differently than we do. Hadn’t thought of the ozone as changing light, but obviously it does. I agree that the traditional times for photos (morning and evening) don’t always work with plants. Especially if they open and close during the course of a day.

    Loved being introduced to ornamental millet, and seeing a real picture of ‘Night Queen’ (love those reds and purples). The tomato photo is choice.

    Frances, you will LOVE your Powershot, don’t be afraid. The trick is to read only ONE part of the manual and get that before going on to learn more. OK, I’ll stop now.

    Thanks Pomona, you didn’t need to stop! I might be contacting you for some more advice as a matter of fact. Glad you enjoyed those plants, always attracted to the dark side, you know. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. wolfgang says:

    …thank you for the amazing pictures, very greatfull

    best wishes from germany

  20. I’ve noticed that about light, too. It is frustrating as a photographer, but pretty darn cool as an IRL gardener! Also, I adore that photo through the arbor–that’s art pure and simple.

  21. Joanne says:

    Oh Francis thank you for such lovely photos the pines one is amazing. Thank you also for your tips. Trial and error a bit like gardening but learning tips helps. I had just figured out the standing to cast a shadow in very bright sun can help.
    Yesterday I went to Wisley RHS gardens and got talking to a photographer who was doing arial photo of one of the small gardens. After having been considering a new camera for some time I had considered your one and he suggested a Canon G10 well in the end the G10 won because it was slightly cheaper. I am now hopeing it arrives before next Wednesday when I go to Hampton Cort RHS show. My husband thinks I spent ยฃ150! on it so I think I will not disillusion him there then.
    One wet winter day I will spend looking through your old posts and see if I can learn more photo tips.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. So glad you liked the photo post, I almost ran out of June before remembering to do it. The trips to those gardens must be simply divine, someday I am crossing the pond to see those sights. I believe all the Canons to be good too. And will not disillusion your spouse, the secret is safe! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. easygardener says:

    Lovely photos. I’ll remember your tip about standing over the subject to provide shade. The problem with my camera are purples, dark reds and magentas not showing true.Perhaps it is time to do some research!

  23. Rose says:

    The photos might not capture the true colors of your garden as you wish, Frances, but these are gorgeous shots nonetheless. I do hope you didn’t suffer any lasting effects from the tumble down daylily hill. As always, you describe it in such an amusing way that I’m tempted to ask if you broke your crown:) But I do hope you’re okay.

  24. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! What a great and enlightening post! Thank goodness for digital cameras because sometimes I take 10 shots of the same thing trying to improve on the color. Now I can just delete the bad ones! I do hope that you are OK after your fall. I have a hard time on my hill if I am not in “proper shoes”! I too think you will love your new camera once you get used to it. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

  25. Barbara H. says:

    Frances, the pines are magical! My favorite but the oakleaf hydrangea is pretty wonderful too. Lots of other lovely shots. Often it is best to step back and let go of what we want to see and see how wonderful what we got really is.

    Hope we all get some rain soon.

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