Lens-Artist Challenge #200 – Every Little Thing

“The older I get the more I realize

the things that cost nothing hold the most value.” ~unknown

Purslane Bud – Macro

This week, Amy invites us to share every little thing that makes you smile. I like this challenge because the further I move away from my days in Corporate America (it’s been four years now) into my “re-wirement” journey, the more I appreciate the little things life has to offer.

Most of those “little” things I find in my own backyard like this cute little chipmunk. He and his friends come out in the mornings and evenings to gather what the birds have dropped below the feeders. They move quickly and are quite entertaining to watch!

“There is good in everything

if only we look for it.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Chipmunks & Petunias

One part of my garden that brings me joy is this wall of Limelight Hydrangeas. We planted these in late 2019 and last year was the first year they bloomed. I can’t wait to see how many blooms they have this year!

“When a gardener gardens, it’s not just the plant that grows,

but the gardener themself.” ~Ken Druse

Limelight Hydrangeas

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know my favorite “littlest” things are the hummingbirds.

“A hummingbird is the spirit of pure joy. She is the messenger of beauty and wonder.

She reminds us to taste the sweet nectar of life.” ~unknown

There are so many other “little things” I enjoy, but I’m afraid there isn’t enough time (or space) to capture them all in this post. But hopefully these give you a glimpse of what I enjoy and maybe even brought a “little” smile to your face as well.

~donna

P. S. Next week, Ann-Christine will be our host. Be sure to visit her site.

P.S.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the button below.

For the Love of Photography – Sunny Sunflower

For those of you who have been following me for a while, you may remember a post from a few years back titled For the Love of Photography “The Accidental Sunflower Garden” .  The post was about two (2) beautiful sunflowers growing wild in our backyard thanks to a few leftovers from our backyard critters.  They were so much fun to photograph that summer.  One photo even managed to make its way into my Etsy Shop as both a greeting card and matted print.

So, you can image my delight when the same thing happened this year!  Lucky for me, this time they were growing on the lower section of our yard and within easy reach of my macro lens.

When I discovered them, there were three (3) scraggly little stalks each growing at different heights. From a distance they weren’t much to look at except for a few buds and one (1) bright yellow flower standing tall with its face pointing towards the morning sun.

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As I moved closer to the tallest stalk, I noticed the brightest flower was surrounded by a few other buds each waiting for their chance to shine.

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Sunflower Macro

Rain droplets on the Sunflower petals

 

Clearly, the sunflowers had another purpose in their short lives.  The garden insects quickly found them and began to nourish on their sweet nectar and delicate petals.

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Green bug devouring the Sunflower petals

Fortunately for me, the bees didn’t seem to mind my camera lens snooping around them.

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Bumble Bees gathering nectar

But my favorite shot is the one below with the detail of the disk florets beginning to take shape.  Don’t you just love the geometric shape growing from the middle outward?

Sunflower Macro Photography

Disk Florets beginning to take shape

It’s been a few weeks now and the flowers are beginning to shrivel up and the stalks are slowly drooping towards the ground.  I’ll miss my little sunflower garden once the blooms have all faded away.  Hopefully, if they’re left undisturbed, they’ll dissolve into the earth and will come back bigger, stronger and brighter next year!

Donna

Website: Donna Robinson Photography

🛒Etsy Shop: Donna Robinson Photo

 

Dad’s Backyard

Spring has arrived in Atlanta and it looks like it may finally be here to stay!  Cool morning temps are leading to warmer afternoons. The tree pollen is EVERYWHERE and flowers are starting to bloom.

My Dad has been in the same house for 40+ years and his backyard is covered with red azalea bushes.  He lets them grow naturally (no pruning or fertilizing) and they have become quite large but make a very natural backdrop around his driveway and swimming pool.  They started blooming this week and since I’ve been looking for new images for a Spring collection of my greeting card line (“The Art of a Handwritten Note”)  I decided to take my camera with me on a couple of my daily visits.

These were taken on Wednesday.   It was late afternoon and full sun everywhere so it was difficult getting the right exposure.  Look at all of the unopened buds!

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There must be hundreds of blooms on this one plant

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He’s had this ceramic pagoda for 50+ years.  He purchased it for another house we lived in when I was a young child. I remember going with him when he bought it at a local garden center.

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This plant is growing on the backside of the fence.  A little bare and scrawny, but I love how the blooms look against the weathered wood.

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Another perspective of the azaleas growing up the weathered fence.

The Dogwood’s are also in full bloom!

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Despite the ivy crawling up the trunk, this Dogwood is still thriving!

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An upward shot of the Dogwood.  I love how the pine needles and pollen peak through.

This next group I took yesterday.  I couldn’t believe how much more they had bloomed in just a few days.

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We’ve had a lot of fun in and around this swimming pool growing up!

 

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A different perspective of the pagoda.

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Confederate Jasmine growing wild through the fence.

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A Macro shot of the Confederate Jasmine bloom.

 

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Growing natural intertwined with the ivy.

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Macro shot of a cluster of blooms

 

As far as it goes with images for my greeting cards here are a few I may use.  What do you think?

 

 

Happy Spring!

Donna

 

Fall Fun With Macro Photography

The Fall colors finally popped this week in Atlanta, but I’m afraid they will be short lived with more wind and rain on the way, tonight.  The bird baths are full of both leaves and rain water and the garden (still needing some  TLC) is totally covered as well.  But, as the leaves have turned and dropped, Mother Nature has given me plenty of photo ops!

I haven’t used my Macro lens in a while so I thought today would be a good day to get outside and take some practice shots.  So, I slid my feet into my warm, fuzzy slippers and headed outdoors.

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Ugh, this bird bath is a total mess.  But, don’t the leaves, water and the color of the birdbath compliment each other?

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This little bird bath sits on the ground atop a few bricks…….we like to make sure the “critters” have water, too! And, because it’s on the ground I had to get a little creative to take these pictures…..thank goodness for the display view button!

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The Fall colors also gave me a good backdrop for my (still) blooming knock-out roses.

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Here’s a snapshot of my garden floor……like I said, it is totally covered with leaves!IMG_7627 111118 Fall Macro Fun copyright

Fingers crossed we’ll have a few more days of the Fall colors……..I don’t think I’m quite ready for the snow!

Have a great week!

Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Love of Photography – National Public Gardens Day at the Swan House

“Did you know there is a “National Public Gardens Day?”  I sure didn’t, but when I read about it on the Atlanta History Center website, and they said in honor of the day you could tour the Swan House Gardens…….FOR FREE….I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a photo outing.  And, since it’s way more fun having a fellow photographer with you I invited my friend and sister-in-law, Janice to join me.

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Front of The Swan House.  This photo really doesn’t do it justice.

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The driveway leading to The Swan House.   We tried to get in but our “garden tour” stickers were a dead giveaway that we didn’t pay for that part of the tour!

 

While most of the floral was in transition (azaleas and rhododendrons had long dropped their blooms) the summer greenery was vibrant.

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A beautiful trail leads the way

There was so much to see on the grounds…..there were even statues in the middle of the trail;

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And, historic farmhouses which had been moved to the property for preservation,

 

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The Wood Family Cabin. It’s original location was near the Chattahoochee River, not far from where the Creek Village of Standing Peachtree once stood.

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A closer look of the Wood Family Cabin. 

 

There were even life-size playhouses built for the original owner’s children!  This was my favorite……the Victorian Playhouse.

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It was such a fun outing and a great way to practice those photography skills!  I was so glad I brought along a second camera so that I could use my macro lens!

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Weather wise, I couldn’t have picked a better day as there was so much natural light…..no flash needed.

 

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Inside the Wood Family Cabin

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Looking through one of the cabins on the Smith Family Farmsite

 

Here’s to a new week with new adventures!

Until next time…

Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magic Lantern – Macro Photography

I’ve been experimenting with a new camera lens, Canon 35mm, f2.8 Macro.  What a great lens to use with flowers, food photography and up close still life! Surprisingly, it does take a little practice to get used to a fixed focal length, understanding exactly what will/won’t be blurred in the background and how light hits your subject…….definitely a good exercise for practicing a little of each of the photography rules.

So, how is it going? Here are a few of my practice shots:

On our front porch we have three planter boxes with Geraniums so I started with these.  As you can tell, the Pink Geranium really pops against the black wrought iron railing and the blurred Geraniums in the background.  I was able to get really close to these buds and as you can see captured the detail of the fur and pollen on the leaves.

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I moved to the backyard and focused in (no pun intended) on the Purslane I recently planted.  In the photos below, I was able to capture the detail of the star shaped pollen stem of the Purslane flower.  I love how the lens captures the greens, yellow and oranges of each of the flowers.

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I think my favorite Macro shots are of the rose bud below where the lens picks up the small specs of yellow pollen.  Do you see what I mean about paying attention to what gets blurred in the background?  I love the composition of the full bloom being blurred compared to the closed bud in the foreground (this is actually the same bud, taken from two (2) different angles).

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The above photos were shot while hand holding my camera, I can’t wait to see how photos turn out when I’m in a little more controlled environment using a tri-pod and controlled lighting.

If you’re looking to try your hand at Macro photography,  check out this link to Digital Photography School 5 Tips to Better Macro Photography.  This post by James Dempsey is a quick read and gives you the basics.   If you don’t have a macro lens, don’t get discouraged, those I-Phones and Androids are  great for Macro photography, too!  There are even small attachment lenses you can purchase to help achieve great results. Here are a few sites dedicated just for camera phones:   iPhone Photography School                and  How to Get Stunning Macro Photos With Your Mobile Phone

Do you have any tips and examples of Macro photography ?  I’d love to see them in the comments section.

Happy snapping!

Donna