Shooting Journal: Back in the Backyard

After a difficult year, my camera is again calling me to come and play. During the past 12 months, age and health issues, travel, and weather well as massive Photoshop frustration, must have borrowed the equipment, not to mention the desire.

When I look at my Flora gallery, it is clear that our back yard featured strongly in what pleases me visually. Finally two sunny days with pleasant temperature and humidity! So far in June, there have been only 5 days without rain, much of it extremely heavy. Waterways flood. Cars get marooned. Plants drown. Trees saturated with water crash with the wind. It seems ungrateful to complain with the western United states suffering drought and wildfires. Nonetheless, this break is welcome.

Our back yard in summer is like a secret garden, filled with life, color and greenery. From my office window, the nyger feeder is contested by goldfinch, purple finch, house wrens, cardinals as well as assorted " little brown birds". Out in the yard, squirrels and bunnies make free with my vegetables. I find my big green tomatoes with just one bite out of them. There's not been enough sun and warmth to ripen them yet. I don't mind sharing, but really! I've added a small sitting area behind the raised beds at the back of the yard, decorated it with colorful outdoor pillows. Sitting there reading, I can enjoy the activity in the yard.

Yesterday morning, coming out after days of rain, I found a collection fragile little toadstools between two of the beds, begging to be photographed. The morning was still cloudy, so I used 200 ISO and set the white balance to cloudy, took several shots with progressively smaller apertures. Somehow though, when I opened the images, they looked little like the feeling I had about them when i first saw them. Perhaps they were too delicate and fragile, too monotone, to make a pleasing image. Enter CS4, newly rehabilitated with enhanced Topaz plug ins. After playing around with the various shots, finding a composition that seemed to work, I used Topaz Adjust to make the image pop, so the fragile caps stood out from the background.

The sun emerged late yesterday and again today so I was encouraged to work at the patio table and take breaks in the sitting area. The echinacea and flowering chives are frequented by bees - mostly bumble - but pollinators too. Peering at the unproductive zucchini ( have you ever heard of that?), I spied a delicate blossom deep within the plant and hopefully captured the dreamy quality in the edit I added to the Flora gallery today.

At the moment, there are four different types of " little brown birds", as my webmaster/birdwatcher calls them. A few days ago, a nesting robin attacked an intrusive squirrel, sending him/her racing along the top of the fence in fear. Our yard is a lovely retreat, never boring. That said, however, it's time to widen the horizons again and search new inspiration, knowing the garden will be there at the end of the day.