Currant Anticipation

Golden Currant emerging foliage
Golden Currant emerging foliage & flower buds

We’re enjoying balmy mid-50s sunny afternoons this week as we turn the corner from winter to spring. It’s still too early for many of our native (or non-native) plants to be blooming, yet we can be fairly sure that a profusion of blossoms isn’t too far away. Continue reading

Sweet Smell of Spring

Purple-leaf Plum blossoms in red vase

We had guests over for dinner last Saturday evening and in preparation Brian went out to the garden and trimmed our big purple-leaf plum, along with a few sprigs of cornelian cherry, to make an arrangement for our dining room table. He chose an antique red vase that’s been in our family for decades. The plum blossoms were just starting to open on Saturday, but a couple of days later they’d opened fully.

The vase continues to sit where we can enjoy the flowers and the sweet fragrance of the blossoms. We’ll come close and stick our noses right up to the flowers and inhale deeply. It’s a pleasantly sweet aroma, but not overpowering.

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Clear Winter’s Night

Birdfeeder & winter garden by moonlight
Birdfeeder and winter garden by moonlight

Last night when Brian and went to the kitchen for an evening snack we looked out the window to the garden and were surprised to see moonlight casting shadows. It was crisp and cold (mid 30s F), which is when we tend to get clear skies in the winter. I set up my tripod, mounted my camera, grabbed my puffy coat and a warm hat, and headed outside. The view above is from our patio, very much like what we saw from the kitchen window.

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Look Twice

APLD_Spring2017_cover
As photographers we can easily fall into a rut of always seeing and photographing our world just one way. We find something that works and repeat. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, and done well it can be an important aspect of your style. But if you’re always photographing from eye level with a 50mm lens you’re missing out on alternative ways to tell visual stories.

The spring 2017 issue of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) magazine, The Designer, features examples of my photography that show alternate views of the same garden. The story was written by Katie Elzer-Peters, a garden writer colleague I’ve known for several years. Continue reading

A Little Cleanup




Before you press your shutter release, take a good look at what’s in your frame. Pause a moment and take care of any little details you see that might detract from your photo.

In this pair of photos of the daylilies growing by our back door, in the first frame you see all the spent blossoms. That might be OK if the story you’re trying to tell is that daylily blossoms don’t last long and they linger on the stems until they dry up and fall off. But if what you’re after is a nice photo of daylilies blooming, then I think the photo looks a lot better with the spent blossoms removed.

It’s always easier to clean up details like this before capturing the image. Imagine how much time it would have taken in an image editing program like Photoshop to remove the spent blossoms and replace them with plausible background material.

I apply the same principle when photographing people. Let’s get that cat hair off your jacket before I trip the shutter.