Tag Archives: garden

A Rose By Any Other Angle?

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One of the first rules of photojournalism is to always take a wide angle, horizontal, establishing shot. If you don’t take it first thing, you get wrapped up in the detail photos and can forget. When I’d get back to the newspaper if I hadn’t taken an establishing shot they needed, the editor was not a happy camper. Trust me, practice taking an overall shot; for a newspaper or a blog post.

by Kimberly A. Cook

Spotted the first two rose blooms in my garden Monday morning. My favorite “Double Delight” rose. Grabbed the camera and proceeded to take a bunch of pics. Thought I would show the process of how I frame and reframe a picture to get different angles, light, backgrounds and close-ups.

Digital photography allows me to waste a million pixels and not care.

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Go vertical. Roses grow vertically, so turn the camera. Watch for the growth of the other stems. Leave some open sky. Work to have the rose on a lower third, upper third break for the sky, but this is still too centered. Since rose bushes don’t move, I have to move myself and the camera.

 

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Now move in closer and cut off the sky, using the dark wood as the background.  Cutting off the buds on the right not great. Rose is still too centered for my taste, but like the improvement in the color intensity.

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Don’t be afraid to move in close.  This shot leaves a little air at the top and the sides to let the photo breathe. The background provides some contrast and improves the color hue.

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Go close or go home! Get in there! Don’t be afraid to move in on a subject. I can still get closer, but the light might cause it to fuzz out and lose the edges. It’s a little soft focus here, but I like it.

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This vertical angle gives some color depth and moves the subject across the photo. The light is a little harsh on the rose bloom, even the 10:30 a.m. clouds can’t help the light diffusion you get between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. But overall, the darker to lighter tones give some interest. Perfect? Never! But I’ve got more pixels to use for practice.

All of this took about six minutes between grabbing the camera after planting dahlias and trimming the hedge outside of Spec Ops Cat’s favorite window. I never used the zoom, only the wide angle lens; I moved me instead.

Get out there and crawl around for some good pictures.  Photography and accidental exercise. Priceless!

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Spring, Cats And Chaos?

by Kimberly A. Cook

The blooms are coming! The blooms are coming! We are up to our eyeballs in buds, blooms and pollen here in the great state of Oregon. Sun breaks, rain storms, and buzzing bees. A big wind storm is on tap for tomorrow, so batten down your yard art!

It’s not just us humans who enjoy spring, felines get into the act too. Check out Simon’s Cat take on the joys of the season.

Have a great safe weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!

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The Gnomes Are Coming!

by Kimberly A. Cook

Obviously I’ve been much busier than I realized the last three months, because I missed the new “Sherlock Gnomes” trailer! Saw it on tv last night and had to share. We got another snow event warning late Thursday, so what better way to look forward to Spring than the return of the gnomes!

My Gnomeo and Juliet are safe in the garage this winter, along with the rest of the gnomes and critters. Some need makeovers for this summer. But I am so excited to have a new Gnomes movie. Unleash the popcorn March 23rd!

Have a great weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!

 

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Ready For Summer?

by Kimberly A. Cook                       (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

I am in complete denial. Yesterday I noticed the leaves are turning colors. Fall shades to be exact. Earth tones. Like pumpkins. While I may be able to ignore the calendar and the shortening of the light, the turning leaves are a beacon of the seasons.

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Official first swing of the summer – 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, September 26th. All is right with the world.  

 

Who stole my summer? It went from a record breaking rain year with moss growing on everything, including me, to a heat wave extravaganza since the end of June. Then forest fires with smoke, plus more smoke shared from Canada. So because of all those events and roofers who have been on my house for two months, don’t even ask, it has not been an average summer.

Between the cascading weatherproof membrane pieces, flying white waterproof sheeting, sliding pieces of block and tackle and packets of shingles this summer, I did manage to get the lawn swing spray painted so it looks brand new.

In the process I got so carried away I didn’t realize I had spray painted my toes silver. Should have taken a picture before I stuffed each foot in the sink and scrubbed. Amazed my pedicure of red sparkles still came back after the episode. Not letting it dry too long must have been the key.

Words to the unwise: Do not wear flip flops when you spray paint near your feet. Overspray happens. Just saying.

Which is why yesterday was the big day. I put the lawn swing out! For two days. Before it rains again. The roofers have finally quit throwing projectiles from above, so it was safe to assemble my haven of heaven.

But in the grand scheme of life, times are grand. I’m happy to have a roof, power and running potable water, unlike our fellow citizens in the U.S. Virgin islands and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria flattened our islands. But the Navy is moving the hospital ship USNS Comfort into place. The Marines landed days ago. Other support is finally getting to the island with the hard work of military personnel, the Coast Guard and FEMA workers getting the airport fixed and the harbors cleared.

Pilots of both planes and ships get cranky if you give them runways with gaping holes and harbors full of hull piercing metal. Great job getting the debris and junk cleared out to start the relief efforts.

In the Army I served with several Puerto Rican soldiers. They worked hard, taught me cuss words in Spanish, loved to play jokes and had the best laughs. Wishing hugs, hope and support to all in our islands.

Donate what you can, be grateful for the life we enjoy and prepare for Fall and Winter. The best thing about winter this year? It will finally end the hurricane and fire seasons!

That is worth celebrating.

For me, I’m enjoying my new nickname: Silver Toes.

Lawn swing ho!

 

 

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Summer Shenanigans?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Summer arrived last Wednesday and I spent the day power washing my Mom’s house. Thought the job would take a couple hours, but we’ve had such a mossy, wet winter the little power washer really earned its keep. I had mud up to my naked knees and over my head. The photo Mom took will never be made public. Trust me.

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Farmer Bun surrounded by The Fairy roses and his wheelbarrow full of blooms. Summer!

 

The weather was warm and the power washer worked after Mom figured out I had turned the water off due to a leak. Always helps to have an assistant. It became a kind of zen thing to clean the gunk off everything. Now I’m obsessed. Must do my front porch, patio, lawn swing before repainting, garden pots, my thundereggs, garden bunny – again.

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The Gardenia made it! This winter I put her in the garage for more than a month, never had to do that before. Lost about one-third of the plant, but she’s blooming now. Love it.

 

Between garage sales, finally good weather, farmer’s markets and five visits from my A/C repair guys, it’s been a busy two weeks, but I’m almost ready to play this summer. Thought I’d post some backyard pics to show you what is finally blooming after our long, long, really wet winter. It’s sun time!

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Decided last year I was getting rid of the strawberries. So this is what they did when I left them alone. Which is what they do every year when I leave them alone. Maybe they’re magic?

 

P.S. You can’t have summer without ice cream and my hairdresser got me hooked on “Breyers Girl Scout Thin Mint Ice Cream.” Going to need to train for a marathon to work that off. And then found a childhood favorite from “Umpqua Ice Cream, Maple Nut.” Tastes even better now.  Stock up on ice cream!

 

 

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Have Butterfly Garden Dreams?

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The birds are singing, tulips are blooming and I’m back on allergy meds; it must be Spring! Walked into my bedroom Sunday and heard a noise like a cross between a mini-jackhammer and a tiny steel drum band. Yup, the woodpecker is back and still in love with my gutter. The sounds of the season.

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Plant arrangement outside my sister’s house to celebrate Spring. Finally!

 

Last Tuesday when I was playing wood nymph outside instead of writing a blog post, I made a momentous decision about my backyard garden. Okay, garden is a bit overrated, it’s an assortment of garden pots. But it is my garden. Since I water it and don’t eat the limited produce and herbs, I’m giving serious thought to replacing it with a butterfly garden.

Not only can I help out the butterflies, but I can extend the Fairy Rock Garden closer to the patio. Given the amount of Fairy Rock Garden booty I’ve picked up over the long, damp, wet, gray winter, I’m need to annex some lots anyway.

The idea occurred to me surfing the web when I came upon a native plants nursery in West Linn, Oregon when looking for huckleberry plants. Not that I’m going to plant those, but I LOVE huckleberries. The nursery had a web page about butterfly garden plants. It looks like an amazing place to take my camera. Road trip!

What better neighbor for a Fairy Rock Garden than a butterfly garden? When I took Mom over to my favorite trail in Camp Sherman last May, a butterfly even landed on me. Think that is a big hint.

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Butterflies chowing down on plants by the river in June 2012 at Camp Sherman.

 

I’ve always loved butterflies, so this will be an adventure.  Everyone knows fairies ride butterflies for transportation, so I need to set up their transit hub. Stay tuned for updates on the butterfly garden transformation.

Got garden plans?  Got room for plants to feed butterflies? Dig in!

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California Dreaming?

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

It’s raining. Again. It’s official, this is the wettest February on record in Oregon. Since before the pioneers. This time of year we should be looking forward to Spring break, posies popping out of the ground and humming vintage Beach Boys songs.

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This plaque set next to the squad of bunnies in the store. Beach trips! 

 

Instead I took a couple pictures of the first pink saxafrasia blooms yesterday and they blurred. Not enough light. It was 2 p.m. in the afternoon! But there are some soggy buds on the trees and the brave daffodils are trying to rise into the air once again. I need to get them life vests.

Of course, it’s pouring in California too. Good news for them, their drought is over. Bad news, Mother Nature is still pouring on the water. Just to be sure I guess. Maybe she’s been chatting with Smokey Bear. (I call him Smokey the Bear but it appears he’s changed his name. Hard to keep up.)

Since I prefer to live in denial these days, I am going to assume the sun will come out again and we will have a fabulous Spring. Plans for planting my garden pots, more development in the Fairy Rock Garden and wearing less than four layers of clothes fill my mind. Naked painted toes! Shorts! No parkas! I get excited so easily.

We can do this. We can plan for sun. Warm breezes. Farmer’s markets. It will happen. Raspberries. Visiting alpacas. Fresh pears. Gliding back and forth in the lawn swing on a warm summer’s eve smelling neighbor’s BBQ and hearing the birdies sing.

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Farmer’s Market bounty. Everything comes back to food…..

 

In the meantime I guess we can take a hint from Spec Ops Cat and spend some time like he did yesterday. Find a cushy bed and a fuzzy blanket. Proceed to tunnel, twist and turn into a cat burrito. Cats are so smart.

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Yes, Spec Ops Cat is inside that lump. Cats rule! 

 

Wake me when it’s Spring!

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