We finally got our first day of summer on July 7, right on schedule. It was the evening of the Birchwood Garden Club July members-only private garden tour, a delightful opportunity to visit four very nice Bellingham gardens. If you’re not a member of an active garden club, like Birchwood, you’re missing out on seeing gardens you otherwise wouldn’t get to see. Thank you, Sheri Lambert, for organizing the tour.
The four gardening families that welcomed us included Ira Penn and Dee Dee O’Connor, gardening on Alabama Hill; Lynette Jensen and Joan Wayne, each gardening on south hill; and garden designer Susann Schwiesow, gardening in Edgemore. Each garden is unique, appropriate to the site, representative of the personalities of the owners and designers, and a joy to explore. There were plant surprises and nice design elements in each garden.
As has become my custom on garden tours, I did all my photography with my iPhone 3G. This very sunny evening with strong contrast pointed out the limitations of the camera. Everything is completely automatic except for where you hold it to compose the image. Auto everything works pretty well in even light, but with bright highlights and deep shadows the camera tended to overexpose, washing out the bright spots and opening the shadows more than I like. Auto white balance doesn’t always know what to do with flowers and foliage, either. The tradeoff is that the camera is small, light, and already in my pocket.
I processed all the images in Adobe Lightroom 3, adjusting brightness and contrast, sometimes tweaking color balance, and applying a vignette to emphasize the center area. I spent less than a minute on each photo. I’ll be talking about the process and showing the technique in a program at the Garden Writers Association annual symposium in Dallas this September.