What Plant is This?

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I was looking through my camera downloads for blog-topic inspiration when I noticed that I have many lovely photos of pretty flowers, but no idea what they are. Some were taken in exotic (at least compared to Colorado) locales, others at our local gardens. It’s past time I get around to identifying these plants. And if I have a need to identify my mystery plants, maybe you do too. Here is how I go about putting names to pretty plant faces. Continue reading

Vampire Plants

Humpback_anglerfishWhen I think of parasites, I typically think of creatures such as tapeworms, fleas, ticks, and leeches—nasty invertebrates that drain the life out of us humans. Then, I might recall that some higher animals can also be parasites, such as the deep sea anglerfish. You’ve likely seen pictures of anglerfish, with their huge, pointy teeth in a large head, followed by a tapering body. When these fish mate, the male permanently attaches itself to the female and lives off her bloodstream for the rest of his life, his sperm his only contribution.  (See National Geographic’s video of a particularly beautiful anglerfish species.)

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Plant Photography: Color

Helianthus annuus_Sunflower_DBG_LAH_6805

My final post on photographing plants, in all their forms, deals with one of my favorite aspects of photography—color. My dad was an avid photographer as well, but he preferred to shoot a medium format camera loaded with black and white film. Then he’d disappear into his darkroom and spend hours dodging and burning, doing his best to emulate Ansel Adams.

Me? I want color, and the more, the better. Happily, gardens are colorful places.

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Thigmo-what?

LAH_5161My pole beans, which got a rather late start, are finally climbing their way up the strings on my bean tower. I’m always impressed that the plants know just what to do. Those reaching tendrils that come into contact with the string immediate start to coil around it, securing themselves to the support. A few plants were still free, waving in the light breeze. I tucked them between the two strands of twine, so they too could wind their way upward.

A few rows over, my pea vines have their tendrils securely wrapped around the netting I put up for them. We all know that pole beans climb and pea tendrils wrap, but I wondered how they knew to do so. After all, most plants don’t have this ability.

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Garden Photography: K.I.S.S.

Malus 'Branzam' Brandywine_Crabapple_DBG_LAH_5147

It’s helpful to understand your equipment, to know how to set up your camera so your subject will be in focus and properly exposed. Knowing how everything works will allow you to avoid mistakes and the frustration that accompanies them. If you’re especially enamored of technical things, you’ll probably enjoy trying out all your camera’s menu choices, dials, and buttons, learning what it’s capable of. But just as most of us don’t pull out our phone simply to play with the settings, understanding the technical aspect of photography isn’t our final goal. Rather, it’s the means to an end. We want to create quality photographs.

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Plant Photography: Lighting

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Photography. The very word means “writing with light.” In spite of all our digital technology, light is still the most important aspect of a photograph. And light is often the difference between a nice picture and an outstanding work of art. The old masters knew this—think of Rembrandt, with the light  illuminating his subject:

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