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Garden Photography Workshop

Garden Photography Workshop

  I offer garden photograph workshops all around the country.  Built around my book “The PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop” and the photo lessons at the Learning Center at PhotoBotanic.com, the workshops offer an opportunity to sharpen your skills and focus your concentration with an assignment theme for reach workshop. You can do this on your own, by giving yourself an assignment, something to wor... Read More »

The Beauty of Natives

The Beauty of Natives

  As a professional garden photographer for more than 25 years, I have seen all sorts of gardens and have learned a lot from many expert gardeners, designers, and plant geeks. California native plant gardens are absolutely the hardest to photograph, though they are my favorite.  The reason for both is the same – they are so hard to find. I am thrilled when I find a photogenic one because I know it to be an... Read More »

Peeling Bark

Peeling Bark

I see what I see, even if I can’t show it very well on a blog.  Here, the peeling bark of a Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora) has been transformed into elegant orange, rust, and mahogany brush strokes with the Topaz Simplify3 filter.  It looks great in the print but it is hard to convey the effect in a small blog post. Of course the filter itself is not the point.  The image stands on its own.  In fact the ... Read More »

Seeing ‘Roger’s Red’

Seeing ‘Roger’s Red’

Some days, simply venturing out with the camera is truly a tonic.  With full intent to go capture some photo or another, I escape the office, get out of doors, needing, indeed craving for photos to wash over me, allow me to click a shutter, to respond and create.  And add some more products to the PhotoBotanic store. On this stormy autumn day I put on a rain suit so I could plunge into plants or plop on the ground.  ... Read More »

Tupelo Impressions, After the Fall

Tupelo Impressions, After the Fall

I have missed two entire months.  For the record, I fell off a ladder onto my studio floor on Aug. 30.  Six broken ribs, separated shoulder, fractured skull, and concussion.  Life can change in an instant. Much recovered by now except a residual paralyzed facial nerve that keeps my left eye from blinking.  It is taped shut and my vision is compromised.  This is the same eye that had the detached retina surgeries 2 ye... Read More »

Sunflower ‘Vincent’

Sunflower ‘Vincent’

Part of the commercial flower shoot for Sakata Seeds at the California Spring Trials were sunflowers, the variety ‘Vincent’.  To get them for the spring shoot in California they were flown in from Holland, where they waited for two weeks until the show, when I was on site to take pictures. No, they did not look surreal and deformed, but I was excited all day as they called to me from the edge of the staging  room set... Read More »

Lawn Reform

Lawn Reform

I am a member of the Lawn Reform Coalition, a group of garden designers and environmental advovates who are promoting new ways to think about the American fetish for lawns.  Since my own particular advocacy is for sustainability, and most recently, meadow gardening specifically, I thus welcome the opportunity to be a part of this group. I hope you will allow me a bit of personal pontificating about the idea of lawn r... Read More »

Autumn Leaves, Vermont Pond

Autumn Leaves, Vermont Pond

These leaves were photographed last autumn when I visited my cousin in Vermont.  I drove all across the state looking for fall color and then found this scene by a pond behind her property in rural Proctorsville.  Something to be learned about not driving around hoping to see, but staying still and opening your eyes. Some of the most interesting images to me in recent months have been two dimensional, flat tapestries... Read More »

Rosa ‘Apple Blossom’

Rosa ‘Apple Blossom’

It took 4 months to grow this picture; a single second in the garden to “see” it; and 8 hours of computer work to clean it up. The one second part is easy to explain.  Last Saturday was a garden day and when I walked the garden wondering where to start, what undone chore would be tackled first, I brushed under my ‘Apple Blossom’ rose, rambling and tumbling down from tree pillars.  That truss n... Read More »

Interpretations – Magnolia Glow

Interpretations – Magnolia Glow

A recent assignment took me to a very special magnolia in a very special, private garden.  The resulting photo was to be a surprise gift, and I was only allowed access during one afternoon when the owner was away. I previously wrote about this adventure on Gardening Gone Wild blog but did not go into much detail on how I decided to interpret what I found.  I will do this here, in Mental Seeds, where I allow myself to... Read More »

Golden Trees

Golden Trees

Mental Seeds blog is a promise to myself.  A promise of personal work.  A promise to find new ways to express what I see.  Even in those images I imagined before my eyesight changed. This image has been gnawing on me for years now, waiting to be revealed.  Taken from a group of photos I took near Como, Colorado while working on the American Meadow Garden,  I have always felt I had stumbled upon something special when... Read More »

M'Eyes, Weeping Tapestry

M'Eyes, Weeping Tapestry

I promised myself I would complete a portfolio of images documenting my perceptions after the detached retina.  There were a good number attempts to do this with my G11 camera in the first months after the surgery.  I never got around to working on very many of them. These photos are the weeping crabapple tree, ‘Molten Lava’ just outside my office door.  (Click on the photo to see a larger view.)  As I wa... Read More »

Dusk, Blackwater Pond

Dusk, Blackwater Pond

Blackwater Pond in the Cape Cod National Seashore, seen here at dusk last October, is rendered using computer manipulation of the digital file.  There was a time, and I can define that time more precisely: before my vision was altered with the series of retina operations, when I would seldom use obvious manipulation on my photos.  Oh, I was frequently tempted, but never had a clear reason to do so. Now, a full year a... Read More »

Seeing Slices

Seeing Slices

I am sometimes baffled by what I see. I will slap my face looking at a scene and wonder why am I not seeing what I expect to see.  The Tupelo tree (Nyssa sylvatica) in my front yard commands attention when it comes into fall color, and I expect to be amazed every year.  I expect to see a blaze of color, a shimmering collection of leaves. I didn’t see it that way this year because my eyes do not work together as... Read More »

Dawn at the Cape

Dawn at the Cape

Sometimes the less said about the creative process, the better.  Sometimes I just want to do my work and move on. If you like this computer altered photo of dawn at the beach in North Truro during my recent trip to Cape Cod, I will be most pleased if you stop reading now. Here is a larger size to better appreciate the alteration. Thanks for stopping by.  The photo should be appreciated for what it is.  Explaining it ... Read More »

Tapestry Swirl

Tapestry Swirl

Drifting through Beth’s garden in the quiet still morning I was unsure whether I would take any pictures.  I just wanted some time to appreciate her marvelous Oregon garden so full of choice plants and foliage textures.  Before you take a decent picture you have to see it; and I am unsure of my vision these days. My eyes are not right.  The cataract surgery went smoothly enough but I am still left with the pronounced... Read More »

A Blur is a Blur

A Blur is a Blur

I don’t know where the blurriness of my left eye has led me.  Did I “see” these blurry water reflections, or did I just get lucky ? Standing by the edge of this pond in Mettawa, Illinois late in the afternoon of a long day of shooting, I felt an unwelcome wind pick up and ripple the fine reflections I anticipated shooting.  Day is done, no more garden photos now. But wait, I can still take photos.  ... Read More »

Maple Seeds

Maple Seeds

It is somehow appropriate that I add to Mental Seeds with a post about seeds themselves.  Seeds hold the promise of renewal and after months of insignificant distractions and artificial deadlines I need to re-invigorate. My left eye continues to be blurry, now with a cataract resulting from all the surgeries for the detached retina.  In July we will finally know what I will see.  Now I just need to push onward.   Not... Read More »

Madrone Berries

Madrone Berries

The vision in my left eye is still quite blurry.  Unless I really concentrate on what I am seeing, my right eye dominates and I simply have a hazy sense of looming weirdness.  And unless I stick my head up real close to something, color washes out. So to see these Madrone berries I stuck my head right into the branches and let my blurry vision take over.  If I let both eyes see, there is only a small area in focus an... Read More »

Grace in Tapestry

Grace in Tapestry

As I was poking around my garden last fall, adjusting to my vision and letting the new wonders reveal themselves to me, I decided to keep my big smokebush, Cotinus ‘Grace’. It is a monster of a shrub, every year growing way beyond its allotted space in my mixed border.  Until last November I had decided it must go.   But as I stumbled around looking for new juxtapositions and inspirations for my photograp... Read More »

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