Dusk in the Garden

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Russell Hybrids' Lupines with 'Fireglow' Euphorbia

I’ve been a big fan of nearly dark photography for a long time. A couple of days ago Brian and I headed out to enjoy our garden after our usual late dinner. We didn’t get far, as the view from our driveway compelled me to run to the studio and grab my camera.

These ‘Russell Hybrids’ lupines, paired with ‘Fireglow’ euphorbia, are right in front of the house. The red-orange euphorbia came with the house when we moved in, but Natalie started the lupines from seed and planted them out a few years ago. They self-seed as well as being perennials, so we continue to enjoy the combo each spring. Continue reading

How Do You See the Sunset?

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Sunset sky

Last Saturday evening Brian and I were hanging out in our living room after dinner when we noticed that the sky was getting dramatic outside our window. The photo above is a fairly conventional sunset view, pretty representative of what we saw with our naked eyes. But that’s not the first photo I made in the course of the few minutes of celestial drama. Continue reading

Bird’s Eye View

Serviceberries blooming w/ Golden Currant, Great Camas

Are there times when you wish you were a bird or a butterfly, able to fly above your garden and look down on the view?

Most of the time we go through life contentedly looking at the world from whatever height our eyes are, in my case about five feet above the ground. But the world looks different from above. The photo at the top was made from my office deck, looking down on the native shrub and perennial bed out front. Continue reading

Go Long or Go Wide? Variations on a Theme

'Flore Pleno' Bloodroot, 300mm lens

As photographers, the lenses we choose can dramatically change the subject’s appearance in the finished photograph. I find that much of the time I fall back on my trusty 24-105mm zoom lens, which covers most of the subjects I photograph very well. But when I visited the patch of ‘Flore Pleno’ Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Flore Pleno’) in our woodland-edge garden yesterday evening I left “old trusty” in my bag and picked three different lenses as I explored this spring ephemeral. Continue reading

Morning and Evening

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Fog in early spring perennial garden

The edges of the day — around sunrise and sunset — are the most interesting. Yes, we all enjoy warm sunny blue-sky days, but frankly, mid-day sunshine is visually boring.

A couple of weeks ago I looked out out kitchen window about 7:30 as I was finishing my breakfast and noticed the low morning sun shining through a little fog in the garden. It was about 30 minutes after official sunrise. I figured this little light show wouldn’t last long, so I grabbed the camera I keep in the house and rushed out to the garden to capture this bit of atmospheric light show. Continue reading

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

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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Happy New Year!

Snow-crusted Mountain Hemlocks overlooking Swift Creek valley
View from Artist Ridge to the Swift Creek valley and Baker Lake

I’ve long felt that what I choose to do on New Year’s Day will set the tone for the year to come.

This year Brian and I checked the weather forecast the decided it would be a great day for a snowshoe hike up to Artist Point. I’ve been going up there every winter since 1990-1991 and I never get tired of it. As Brian reminded me yesterday while we were hiking, it’s different every time. Continue reading

A Softer Kind of Portrait

Brian Mattioli portrait
Brian, soft portrait

Photography styles change over time. Currently we’re in a period of chasing ever-higher resolution and greater sharpness in photography. Many photographers capture large numbers of images during a portrait session since there’s no incremental cost (other than time and energy) with digital imaging.

But there’s another way, one that harkens back to the turn of the twentieth century. I’m starting to experiment with a slower process, with an old-fashioned lens, and fewer clicks of the shutter. The result is a more meditative and contemplative portrait with a softer look. I’m processing these images to black and white or sepia tones, in keeping with the technology of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Continue reading