Monday, February 28, 2011

Tips for awesome garden photos

One of my favorite photos!  
My beautiful azaleas that are dead and gone . . . a casualty of way too cold winters in Tampa.  As I was going through my photos with thoughts of rebuilding the garden and getting ideas of what to plant, I realized how important it is to capture those beautiful garden moments.  Through photos I can still enjoy my now dead azalea plant in a different way.
I ran into these photo tips in my travels through Bloggerville and thought I would share them with you since taking photos of our beautiful garden moments is so important.

Photographers Alison Parks-Whitfield and Susan Teare offer tips on how to create garden photos with pizazz:
1. Get a worm’s-eye view. Don't be afraid to get your knees a little dirty. You’ll find the undersides of flowers often have appealing textures. In addition, if you’re down really low, you can include the blue sky in your photograph, creating a stunning background (just keep an eye out for any power lines that you might not notice until later).

2. Keep an eye on the sun.
 Rather than waiting until the sun is overhead, position the flower so the sun is behind it, shining through the petals. This will create a striking photograph with rich, deep colors. Or go out at dawn or at dusk, when both the light and the coloring of the flower will be fresh. Hold up a small white card or paper to act as a reflector and fill in the light, enhancing it further. As a rule, it’s better to avoid taking photographs at high noon because the light is so intense at that time that colors are often washed out.

3. Find something new. Sure, the row of sunflowers is lovely, and even Vincent van Gogh would appreciate your photo of it. But try going beyond the biggest and brightest plants and you may discover an even better shot. Look closely for dramatic textures and patterns, such as the cone of a purple coneflower, or try a tight shot of a cluster of hen and chicks.

4. Remember nontraditional subjects. Wheat, dandelions gone to seed, long grasses and even weeds are photo-worthy when you focus on them. As always, pay attention to the lighting and composition, and you’ll be rewarded with some unique shots.

5. Focus — or don’t.
 In a wider shot, think about what's in focus and what is not. You might try reversing what should logically be clear (usually whatever is nearest the camera). Leave the row of black-eyed Susans in front blurred as you focus on the maple behind, or try focusing on only one small part of a flower, letting the rest go soft.

6. Add a creature.
 Consider working with a “model”— whether an insect that alights on a bloom, a cocker spaniel or your grandson — to offer both interest and perspective. Want to show just how big your prized dinner-plate dahlia is? Pose a smiling child next to it and there will be no question.

7. See a flower as the sum of its parts. Every flower is a beautiful whole, but consider each element, as well — leaves, stem, pistil and stamen. Zoom in on a portion of a flower that looks interesting and  “crop” the flower using your camera. Try a couple of different angles, tilting your camera slightly from left to right. You may be surprised to see what a difference even a little tilt can make at such close range.

8. Just add water. Drops of water, whether from a recent rain shower or your watering can, add drama to a close-up of a petal. In addition, photos taken when the rain has just ended enjoy richer colors thanks to the resulting clear, even sunlight.

9. Record a day in the life. For an interesting study, take a photo of a flower or garden at sunrise. Take another at noon, a third at 4 or 5 p.m., and a final one at sunset. Display all four pictures in a multiple-opening frame.

10. Celebrate autumn. Don’t underestimate the beauty of bare branches or crisp brown leaves on the ground. There is plenty of interesting texture in and around the garden waiting for winter.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Awesome idea for the garden :)

What are these thingies and how can they cause an explosion in your garden?
How about an awesome gift for the gardener who has everything?
I don't want to give it away . . . you have to visit Alicia at McCrenshaw!

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Creative seed starting containers

Looks like Spring has arrived in Central Florida and I couldn't be happier!  Time to start planting seeds in my part of the world!

In my travels around Bloggerville, I found this creative self-watering seed starting container idea from Brandy at Savin' Some using recycled soda bottles!

How cool is this?

Click on the photo to go to her post describing how she made it.

Thank you Brandy for this awesome idea!
Her blog Savin' Some is all about being frugal.

Do you have creative uses for recycled items and tips for starting seeds?

One of my favorites is egg cartons.  I cut them in half, poke holes in the little cups and use the top as a saucer.  They are readily available, a convenient size and a perfectly fitting saucer.  They use a small amount of soil, making it economical if you like to use those expensive seed starting soil mixes.

I have experimented with using actual egg shells to plant the seedlings in, making transplanting a breeze.  They fit perfectly in those egg cartons!

Another favorite recycled item . . . clear plastic containers that department store pastries come in.  Same concept . . . I cut them in half, poke holes and use the top as a saucer.  I love using those for starting pepper and tomato seedlings.

My best tip for seed starting is to water them with a sprayer . . . sometimes I will use heavily diluted fertilizer to get them off to a strong start.  It is so easy to kill the babies with too much water!

I will be posting some of my soil recipes in a future post.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Garden Inspiration

Click here to view this photo in a new window.

Although I like a property that has a natural park look to it with unmanicured mass plantings, I like the garden decor concept of "rooms" . . . definite themed sections of the garden . . . I love the garden in this photo for some inspiration.  There is something so soothing about white against the high contrast of green that brings a feeling of serenity.  A small water feature in the center would be awesome!

This photo comes from Fine Gardening . . . 
This is today's "Garden of the Day" . . . 
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Outdoor spaces


The seating area surrounded by lattice really caught my eye and gave me some ideas for our carport that is not so private.  The nice shady spot calls out for chill out time.

Even though we have had a very cold winter that has killed much of the greenery, most of the days have been pleasant enough to enjoy the outdoors, even if not gardening.  Now is the time to get those areas cleaned up, painted and redecorated.  

Our cleanup is underway and the first major project is putting up gate additions and finishing up the front of our wood fence to make the back yard entirely private.  The second project just may be something similar to that lattice seating area in the photo.  Before and after photos coming soon!

This photo comes from the website Design Sponge Online, one of my favorite websites!  

Check it out for lots of home dec inspiration for your inside and outside spaces.

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