Tag Archives: first

“First and Fresh”

“First and Fresh”

“They say you start weaving clearer, sharper memories after you’ve been to a place at least twice. Because then the reflection is more of validation. Let the rush come to you and let your senses be flushed the first time. There will be time for reflection after you’ve had your fill.”
― Psyche Roxas-Mendoza

For the past few days, I have been focussing my attention on the rhododendron in our backyard garden. It’s my first time with this beautiful flowering shrub and I’m enjoying watching it bloom.

What starts as cones at the tips of the branches soon changes to colourful clusters which burst into flower, one at a time. The blossom pictured above is an example of that process. One single flower, the first and fresh, has just opened. You can see the rest of the cluster just behind it. That cluster will open, one at a time over the next few days and remain in bloom for several days. As you can also see from a post yesterday, bees love these flowers and end up coated in pollen as they move from bloom to bloom.

From what I have read online, rhododendrons can be a challenge to maintain, as they require specific soil Ph, as well as moisture and the right amount of sunlight. I suppose this will become my ‘challenge’ plant. I’m hoping to keep it going for many years, it brings such brightness to our garden in a time when we eagerly await our summer bloomers, like peony, to brighten up our little oasis.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1 ISO 100

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“First Wake-Robin of the Season”

“First Wake-Robin of the Season”

“We are living a life full of first experiences, from a first kiss, to the first time giving blood, to conceptual and philosophical explanations of humanity’s firsts.”
― Kat Lahr

I should call this series of photographs “Firsts”, since most of my recent posts have been of the first blossoms of local wildflowers. It’s been a bit of a strange season, with a few vigorous specimens blooming a few days ahead of their neighbouring companions.

That has made me wonder why those few are so much more advanced. It’s not anything obvious like more sunlight, less competition, or better soil that seems to be the cause. Though I do enjoy the isolation of the single blossoms, as they are not drowned out by a large bloom. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been so drawn to creating my studio images of flowers in isolation. It allows the viewer to focus on the details of the individual flower.

This Wake Robin, or red trillium, as it is commonly know here, was a single blossom surrounded by a large patch of Wild Ginger, which I intend to return to, since it is also about to bloom. The lighting was a bit harsher and more direct than I had wanted, despite being in a fairly dense forest glade. The bright lighting actually enhanced the petals, giving them an almost metallic appearance. There were many more plants close to blooming. I figure they will be in full show in the next day or two, if temperatures remain as mild as they have been the past few days.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/40 sec, f/32.0 ISO 200

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“Dogwoods and Poplar”

“Dogwoods and Poplar”

“Thank goodness for the first snow, it was a reminder–no matter how old you became and how much you’d seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered.”
― Candace Bushnell

Today, a winter abstract. What caught my attention in this scene was the splash of brilliant red from the Red Osier Dogwoods that grow along the path, against the bright snow. The photo was made mid afternoon, so the snow has a slight blue cast caused by the shadows under the bright sky. I was tempted to pull blue levels down a bit, but I actually like this look.

The second element is the bright bark of the poplars which are brighter than the snow, since they are receiving direct light and are not in shadow.

Nikon D300
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 250

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“First Snowfall”

“First Snowfall”

“You wake up on a winter morning and pull up the shade, and what lay there the evening before is no longer there–the sodden gray yard, the dog droppings, the tire tracks in the frozen mud, the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in last fall. All this has disappeared overnight, and what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up. It is snow that can awaken memories of things more wonderful than anything you ever knew or dreamed.”
― Frederick Buechner

We had our first ‘significant’ snowfall here in southern Ontario a few days ago. We’ve had several snowfalls so far but they have been light dustings, which quickly melt off. Our recent snowfall was about twenty centimeters, or eight inches for my American friends.

The just temperatures were close to the freezing mark making for a nice sticky snow which stuck to surfaces and created the “Winter Wonderland” look. Also perfect for the kids to make snowmen.

The other phenomenon created by the temperature variances through the day was the production of beautiful, clear icicles, then the snow slowly melted and froze again while flowing.

I tried to capture that effect in the photo above, highlighting the icicle and the tiny bubbles frozen inside, backlit by the afternoon sun.

Nikon D300
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1/200sec, f/7.1, ISO 250

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“Coltsfoot” – Whitevale Dam

"Coltsfoot by Boulder"

“Little yellow flower
Like a dandelion shrunk
Yet she’s not its kin at all
She blooms there without leaves

Shows her face in early spring
Shines brightly like the sun
In my childhood, she was dear
Quite precious to be true 

She it was who truly said
That spring had just arrived
I picked bouquets in my small hands
And brought them home to mom 

Even now, quite old and grown
Coltsfoot is still quite dear
In early springtime it’s of her
That I try to catch a glimpse”

Coltsfoot is a pleasant little flower that I look forward to each spring. It’s the first to bloom and many people mistake them for dandelions. When the coltsfoot blooms, spring is just around the corner.

I found the beautiful poem above while looking for a quote suitable for this photo, which I touched up to look like a painting, Something I am quite fond of doing with some of my photos simply because I like the painterly look in some cases.

That a poem about coltsfoot exists is quite delightful and I’m surprised more is not written about it, as it was and is considered a key medicinal plant for treating lung aliments. To the point where the coltsfoot symbol was used to designate a pharmacy not too many years ago. The latin name Tussilago farfara is derived from latin tussis, meaning cough, and ago, meaning to cast or to act on.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200

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