My Secret Garden – Part II

Blog, Photography

It’s here… Summer!¬† Although it’s felt like it for a little while now, today it’s official.¬†¬† I know it is a Monday, but I hope you get a chance to enjoy today, the longest day of the year…

As promised, here is the second part to my not so secret Garden.¬† It is in full swing and I can’t wait to get out there again as a whole new batch of flowers are just getting ready to bloom, but until then, I’m still enjoying all the first bloomers like this one….


This is a clematis. Almost done on the vine, but still had a lot of life left in it. With the help of my light pad, Topaz Glow & Adjust. I came up with this… mother nature’s firework.

Many of our perennials, which is the majority of our gardens, survived the late spring cold snap we had… with the exception of the¬†hydrangeas, one of my garden favorites, adding it’s beautiful blues to the garden. ¬†So yellow lilies¬†it is… until the purple cone flowers get going.



No effects here… Practicing back button focusing has become a real plus. This basket was actually swinging in the breeze a bit and I was able to take the shot when it swung back into focus. They (you know who you are) ¬†are right, once you get use to BBF, you won’t want to go back …




The itsy-bitsy fly is not the only tiny thing in the garden.  The little red and white flowers in this hanging basket are only about the size of a dime.


Even indoors things are blooming! Beautifully back lit by the morning sun.

And now the¬†real show offs of the garden… The roses.


Cherry Parfait… and living up to its name! A painterly effect added at less than 50% ever so slightly accentuates the gracefulness of this rose without overshadowing its natural beauty.


It’s official name is Moondance, but I’m calling this¬†Vanilla Swirl. It goes so well the the Cherry Parfait. ¬†A 95/5 with the help of Topaz Clarity.


…and I’m apparently not the only one enjoying hanging out in the the garden. ¬†I hope you enjoyed the tour of our flower garden…

Until Next time,

My Secret Garden – Part I

Blog, Photography

Nope you haven’t missed any posts, I’ve just been too busy¬†growing my photo library… a lot! ¬†Since this is a photo blog¬†and it is a beautiful time of year… I guess it is not that surprising that I’ve been spending a lot more time behind the camera lately.


Our lovely guide (aka sister-in-law) Eva and my daughter. I read somewhere recently that a blurry object in the foreground is a no-no. I actually like the slightly blurred column here… I also like to veer off the beaten path from time to time.

Back to my garden(s)… ¬†Actually, it’s not really much of a secret as they are readily available for all to see. ¬†One sits in front of my house, and the other is a beautiful setting and formal gardens of Longwood. ¬† ¬† Part I: ¬†My visit to Longwood with¬†my daughter and sister-in-law. ¬†I traveled light (i.e. minimal camera equipment) because sometimes it is just really nice to be present with those you are with.

And what's an outing without a self?

And what’s an outing without a selfie?









But that’s not to say, I¬†didn’t keep an eye out for a photo-op when it presented itself…


Ok, let me just say I am pretty gosh-darn proud of this image. ¬†First, I resisted adding any effects… although tempted… a lot. ¬† This is straight out of the camera, taken in a wide open field, hand-held-no tripod. ¬†Okay, so maybe it’s 95%… the other 5% is the post I did in Topaz Clarity to bring back some of the vibrance lost from it being such a bright yet humid & hazy day, but that’s it. ¬†The flower, the backdrop, and those colors are 100% courtesy of mother nature.



Now this one, I could not resist. Before I even took the picture, I thought it looked like a painting.


A solitary peony with some painterly touches


I like to think of the sky has a natural light pad. Exposing for the flower, I naturally blew out the sky and created this lovely white backdrop.

A natural light pad! Exposing for the electric  orange of this flower (no idea what kind it is), I naturally blew out the sky and created a lovely white backdrop.


Moving indoors, a Longwood visit isn’t complete without perusing through the orchid house. ¬†Opposite of the orange flower, exposing for the lovely white cluster of orchid blooms (again, I can never remember the names) provided a dramatic almost black background. ¬†

X marks the spot

Don’t forget to look up! ¬†A slight variation on the black & white (or is it white and black) theme. This is the top of the lovely gazebo you saw part of earlier. ¬†Again, exposing for the black ironwork created¬†this natural black and white image.


I’ve been to Longwood a few times over the years, but this is the first visit where the lily pond actually had lilies! No painterly effects; surprised… me too. ¬†Another 95/5. ¬†I¬†am definitely¬†heading back next month¬†with my long lens when the pond is in full bloom!

And that was just a handful of some of the beautiful blooms ¬†at Longwood. ¬†I can’t wait to go back. ¬†Until then, I’ll be¬†spending a little more time on my photos from my own garden… the roses are putting on such a show and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Until next time,

Art In The Garden 2015

Blog, Photography

Paxson WayPaxson Way

Happy September… did I really just say that?¬† Where did the summer go?¬† But all is good!¬† Because this weekend 9/5 & 9/6 from 10:00 to 4:30 it is…

at Paxson Hill Farm

Nestled in the quaint countryside of Bucks County, Paxson Hill is a beautiful backdrop for this event. ¬† As you stroll some of the gardens & pathways, you’ll find artisans of all sorts ~ photography, jewelry, pottery, wood working, painting, and much more!¬† There are many photographic opportunities too… Paxson-Lillythe picturesque pond and animals (some typical, some not so typical)…¬†Paxson turkeys

I always keep my camera on hand just in case I get a break in the action to tour the gardens ~ like last summer’s purple cosmos (above).

I’ll be there again this year with some new works that I am really excited about.¬† The forecast looks great for the entire weekend… a perfect note to end summer on.¬† Hope to see you there!

3265 Comfort Road, New Hope, PA

Until next time,

If I had to pick… just one

Blog, Photography

I ‚̧ (heart) summer

Who doesn’t love summer… right.¬† There’s nothing like a lazy summer afternoon, warm breeze blowing and a refreshing summer brew to help cool you off… perfect actually to sit and write a blog post ūüôā … if only it were always that easy ~ as that moment has passed and now two, now three days and what seems like a thousand (but only 11 last count) edits later ūüėČ

That is probably because my thoughts for this post have been all over the place… hmm, maybe because so has my photography and all that goes with it. ¬† On the plus side,¬† I’ve been taking a lot of photos, continuing to learn my camera, learning new techniques for both in camera and post processing ~ using new textures and filters, and experimenting…¬† So, finally picking at random, one topic out of that mish-mash of topics above to blog about, I thought I’d share how this DIY lightbox that diy-lightbox I found in my dad’s basement led me to a favorite new tool (for now) ~ an LED light pad.

A favorite technique/effect of mine has always been the result from back lighting flowers (or just about anything that is somewhat opaque)The-Little-Things and the lovely shapes, color and lighting that come with it.¬† Unfortunately, mother nature is not always very cooperative: too windy, too bright, too cloudy, too… well, you get the idea.¬† Trying different light sources (a flash or a window) in the “studio” has not been all that successful either… close, but just not quite.

So I dusted off the DIY light box.¬† Unfortunately, the bulb, which looks something like a doughnut, gave off only enough soft bright light in a very small portion of the frame.¬† But in this very small space, I saw the effect I wanted to achieve… getting closer.¬†diy-lightbox-with-text

The next challenge, to get that light source to fill the entire frame.¬† Thinking I could just repurpose the box I had,¬† I asked Google, which turned up a couple DIY light boxes (too complicated/technical for me) and some manufactured ones (mainly used for viewing negatives and $$$) and a link to a photographer’s post (thank you Denise Ippolito) and how she used a light pad …and as it turns out, the key words in all of this were LED and pad.¬† There it was… an artist’s tool, something used mostly for tracing by tattoo and graphic artist.¬† This had so many pluses – adjustable brightness, super slim (i.e. super easy storage), maneuverable, and $ compared to $$$ – I chose the Litup (click on image for link) – and most important a continuous even bright white light that fills the frame.¬† I’ve only just started using it, but have so many ideas for this simple little device… and without all the too this or thats.

the-light-withinFlowers from my garden ~ the heart of flowers above and this trio are floating in water in a clear glass bowl on the light pad and processed with just a touch of Topaz glow.

Til next time,