This lively group of 10 tulips really wanted to be featured during the April 2021 bright squares challenge, but didn’t make the cut once they completely opened up.
In hindsight, it is obvious they would have been kinda perfect for past squares themes…such as flowers or circles or top or perspectives (who looks at tulips from above?). This month it’s way pasttime for their turn.
I woke up this morning to gloom and doom weather. By the time I was enjoying my coffee, snow had begun to fall in big fat clumps. What the heck? The simple answer: It is April 16th in New Hampshire where…besides live free or die…the state motto could very well be…wait a minute and the weather will change…. And so it does. My first thought: The poor daffodils!
These tulips arrived at my door yesterday afternoon – hand delivered by a friend and neighbor who lives downstairs in my condo building. I could “see” a big smile behind her mask.
What are these for? I asked. To wish you good luck tonight and thank you for all you are doing on the board!
You see, my small world is now a study in contrasts. Last night the NH Art Association hosted a virtual “opening” of a special juried exhibition and two of my photographs were among those chosen to hang in the show. She and her husband were among my friends and family who were “attending.” She was hoping I would win a prize (I didn’t, but never expected to…the honor of inclusion was more than enough). I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. It was just the bright spot I needed.
The other side of my life? Being on the board of directors of my condo association since December. It’s my new practically full time “job.” The experience has not been as entirely positive or rewarding as peering through the lens of my camera and writing blog posts. In fact, sometimes it feels like I am back in middle school – and I was never a fan of middle school. That’s probably all I should say on the subject, but those of you who have ever been on a condo board likely understand. So, if you notice I have been absent from oneletterup, now you know why. I would much rather be here, but it is what it is. However, I am taking flight (almost literally) from home next week for a long weekend to visit my kids for the first time since our covidcation last August.
I’ll bring my camera, but try to leave the craziness behind.
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #96: Cropping the Shot
This week’s challenge is a chance to explore a photo editing technique and the benefits of cropping the shot. Show us how cropping helped to improve an image and create a desired effect. Include the shot “before” and “after” so we can see the difference.
I often call this time of year “fun with flowers” since I am always gifted with beautiful bouquets on Mother’s Day and my birthday. Yellow blossoms…my favorite flower color…are usually in the mix.
This year was no exception. A bouquet of tulips arrived from my son…and I had a great adventure yesterday chasing the sun as it crept around the room streaming through the windows in our corner condo unit. I moved the vase from window to window as the afternoon wore on. Crouching…bending…balancing…catching the light from as many angles as I could.
Fifty four shots later, I happened to glance at the clock…oh wait I should make dinner....
Here are a few samples from “Fun with Flowers 2020″…
For this shot I stood above the bouquet, but wanted to highlight the yellow tulip.
Which I did…after the crop.
I captured another shot crouched on the floor looking up. Unfortunately it also included the corner of the window…
I still wanted to salvage the image, but obviously without the distraction of the window frame in the corner.
Cropping proved to be more of a challenge than usual.
These are two different cropped versions. Each emphasizing different aspects of how the light plays with the petals. As much as I enjoy cropping as a way to create, I really didn’t want to eliminate too much in this case.
Mother’s Day in the age of coronavirus has taken on a different shade…
Even before this new 2020 reality hit us between the eyes, Mother’s Day was sometimes lonely. Empty nesters like me missed our adult children more than usual. Memories of sweet smiles and shouts of Happy Mother’s Day Mommy, followed by hugs, a homemade card and when older…perhaps breakfast in bed.
Who knew back then how fleeting those times really were? I just relished the moments as they happened.
My adult children weren’t always able to make the trip back to our family home for Mother’s Day – although they often tried and succeeded (probably because my birthday often overlapped!). This year – with all the unknowns and fears hanging over us – it seemed even harder to be apart. Perhaps also because there was no choice in the matter. FaceTime of course helped, but there’s nothing like an in-person hug.
During a long ago trip to San Diego, California, I bought a print made by Sally Huss, a local artist. It grabbed my heart at the time. My children were still teenagers. And I thought…yessss….
Today it has taken on a whole added perspective and an even bigger YESSSS…
I’ll admit it was strange to view flowers in anything but color, but I decided to explore my favorite flower photos with an open mind. And eye.
I was intrigued to discover how much I was drawn to the black and white version of the two “tulip survivors” from our former home. The two that were still bursting through the hard packed side yard after more than 30 years.
Downsizing does not include nature. Except for a few small houseplants, you don’t take “nature stuff” with you…from a house to a condo. It usually doesn’t get donated or sold. For the most part, that’s okay. Some of the nature I don’t miss: weeds, massive wasp tree hotels, chipmunk holes, poop in the back yard from the cat next door, wasp nests behind the shutters, leaf piles, ants. Oh, right….and piles of snow that need to be moved. We left that “stuff” of nature behind.
The nature I do wish we could have taken with us? The flowers that came to life in our yard this time of year. The little purple crocuses that sprouted up around the maple tree; sometimes so early they poked through the last of the melting snow. Purple irises that originated in my great-grandmother’s garden in Cincinnati – making it to my parents’ house in NJ and then to our home of almost 37 years. They multiplied over the years and we transplanted them from one side of the house to the other. And then next to the garage. And later, we added trilliums, daffodils and black-eyed susans to the mix.
My husband and I moved to that house in early 1980. No kids yet. We were first time homeowners eager to start “decorating,” so we bought over a dozen tulip bulbs that fall. We ceremoniously planted them in a small patch of dirt next to the house (alongside the iris); with 2 little girls who lived next door watching over our shoulders. We didn’t know it at the time, but although tulips are “perennials,” they don’t last forever. Gradually fewer and fewer showed themselves every spring. Perhaps the salt runoff from the icy driveway killed them off. I think there may have even been a few years with no tulips at all. However during the last few years before we moved out, one tulip showed up. Hooray! A welcome survivor and salute to our first attempt at landscaping.
Lilies of the valley. I miss them most of all. Transplanted from my in-laws’ garden in the late 1990’s, they multiplied like crazy – gradually taking over the strip of dirt in front of the house. So delicate. So simple, green and white. Their sweet scent was like no other…when that huge patch was in full bloom, it took my breath away. Literally.
I drove by our former home a few months ago and spotted the crocuses. Next to the tree by the road…same as always. I slowed down, but didn’t stop.