Monday, August 6, 2012

Flight of the Bumblebee

The standard straight-on, pointing down snapshot 

"Bombs away!"

Subject level, pointing slightly up

Majoring in petunias, minoring in gomphrena

A la bumblebee

Subject level

Majoring in gomphrena, auditing petunias

A la bumblebee

From below

Below, grouping

From below, better light on other side

Our Passionate Observer challenge for this week was to take photos of something from unexpected angles in a variety of lighting situations and to try to reduce some images to abstract color, light, and shadow.

"When you decide you need a little color...put in a summer crop of flowers, perhaps pink petunias."
—Mel Bartholomew, All New Square Foot Gardening, page 144.

So pink petunias in my Community Garden plot in tribute to Bartholomew, who sparked my interest in vegetable gardening with his 1980s PBS showGomphrena globosa behind the petunias because I have wanted to grow it since I first saw it at a local farmers's market. Its uncultivated, clover-like flowers appeal to me, its fully saturated magenta not as shy as the flower form. But I want the strawberry red haageana next year.

For a variety of angles and views, I made an effort to put the camera where I usually would not, buzzing around and inside the plants like a bee. #1 and #2 are regular snapshots: distant, boring. #3 is the camera on the bed frame, almost level with the subject, the angle I use most often: something seems wrong if the camera body is not perpendicular to the ground. #4 is moving in and under to emphasize the petunias. #5 has the best light. I liked the gomphrena photos with my camera inside the plant, and I liked the composition of the three upward photos but not the light. Those photos were made at about 5 p.m., I probably should have waited for a lower sun. No abstract images from me this week, because I can't manipulate the focus of my little point-and-shoot camera, which autofocuses. Suggestions anyone?

The extra below shows how a dense planting of annuals can lift a vegetable garden, to counter the gnarly tomato stems and shriveling lower leaves. And it smells good!

Sungold tomatoes with alyssum, marigold, petunias, gomphrena, and calibrachoa

Monday, July 30, 2012

About Me

My name is John. A longtime blog reader, the only reason I started a blog of my own is that Susan bugged me to do it, with the lure that I might learn how to take photos like hers, which I secretly collect.

I live in a small seaside New England town in a small house, which I adore. I live with my daughter, whom I will refer to as 'Anonymous', and a sweet but not cuddly, petite, black cat named Shady, who thinks she's a shoe. I have grey hair. "That means you have to listen to me," aimed at my high-school-aged daughter, not you, dear readers.

My mother's mother taught me to appreciate gardens. So I have a native perennial garden with ponds in the back. Last summer the entire back wall of my living room was made glass, with French doors that bring the sounds and smells from the garden and ponds into the house. Smart move. A second garden of more cultivated plants along the south rock wall is currently experiencing a phlox-plosion. For the first time I have a vegetable garden just down the street at our local Community Gardens: three raised beds, 3 x 16 feet each. Some of what I grow, I eat, and the rest goes to our local food pantry. It wasn't until this year that I had any success growing from seed. Radishes are freakin' awesome! There will be much more seeding in my future.

Although we are a small town, we have two public libraries and a Bookmobile. I prefer the smaller branch because of the drive through the woods to get there.

I chose to accept my assignment: read Jenna's blog, read Susannah's blog, put my little point-and-shoot camera near my car keys so I'd remember my photo assignment. For the first time, I took my camera lawn-mowing, and I took a photo of my hair, which was both strange and exciting. So far, so good. What happens next, Susan?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

NYC, June 2012

Here are some scenes from my cat/plant/house-sitting trip in Long Island City, Queens.

The wards: Max as in Maxine, and Icky as in Ichabod, both girls

The lovely Mlle. Max

Ickster, on a diet and taking matters (Greenies) into her own paws

Chess players at Union Square Park

Hoops at Washington Square

41 Cooper Square, at the Cooper Union