Category Archives: Nature/Landscape

Bokeh with Flowers

As mentioned in my previous post, I challenged myself to adhere to a theme with each photo on this visit to the Meadowlark Gardens.  All have a blurred / bokeh effect in the background, making the subject pop in the foreground.  It’s more challenging than you might think with early summer flowers. They tend to be really low to the ground. To get a good bokeh effect, I have to get really low to the ground as well!

With the zoom lens in hand, and the sun going down, I made my way through the shade to catch the last bit of sunlight.  This cute little vine was dancing on the light breeze. I’m not sure what these are.  Maybe Mandevilla?  I should stop and look at the little cards some time. ( :D)

White Vine
Pretty White Vine (Mandevilla?)

I’m finding lavender around every corner – like everywhere around here.  It must grow prolifically in this area, which is awesome because who can’t get enough lavender?!?


Saying good buy to some old faves.  There were lilies growing in my garden beds at the old house. I miss them, but seeing them here brings back good memories. Good bye old friends. Until next spring…

Purple Lilies

I made my way to a patch of pink foxgloves. These flowers were stunningly vibrant. Foxgloves in full bloom stand about 24-30″ off the ground. Thus, to continue with the photo style of the day  I had to get low to the ground to achieve the right angle – practically lay flat.  It was worth it.  The resulting photos were among my favorites of the day.

Pink Foxglove
Pink Foxgloves

Snapping Beauty


Early Summer in the Gardens

June is a great month for weather!  But if you’re into daisies, June is pre-season (well, in Northern VA).  No worries, there were plenty of other beauties.

In my walk through the gardens yesterday, there was a wedding, which brought lots of really dressed up (and probably really hot) people peppered throughout.  My eye was on the splashes of color among the greenery.  I zeroed in on foxgloves, lilies, zinnias, pretty little vines dancing in the wind, and one of my favorites – Oleander.

Oleanders over a Bench
Oleander Adorning a Bench

Since I was feeling the zoom lens more than the wide-angle lens during my visit, I decided to do a little exercise.  With each photo, I attempted a depth of field for a blurred or bokeh effect on the background behind the subject.  They turned out nice.  I don’t use my zoom lens as much as I used to, so this was a fun exercise.

Yellow Zinnia
Yellow Zinnia – Depth of Field
Pink Zinnia
Pink Zinnia – Depth of Field

More photos to come…

Snapping Beauty

Great Falls, VA

Capturing the roaring rapids of the Potomac at Great Falls National Park (Virginia side) has been on my list since we moved up here last year.  I love this river, it has a special place in my heart.

There have been daily showers and storms coming through northern Virginia over the past couple of weeks. I figured I would take a advantage of a break in the weather to see the swollen Potomac dance its way over the rocks and through the Mather Gorge.

Great Falls, VA
Great Falls, VA

Thankfully the next wave of rain showers held off long enough for me to enjoy this beauty.

Great Falls, VA
Great Falls, VA

The river is swollen from run off due to local showers and storms. The water is pretty heavy with sediment giving it a brownish color.

Great Falls, VA
Great Falls, VA

In the past this river has flooded at this spot to a point that would be over my head where I am standing (no joke!).

Great Falls, VA
Great Falls, VA

Snapping Beauty

Sunshine Through the Leaves

With most of my visit last weekend to the JC Raulston Arboretum being in the shade (because it was 95 degrees!), I was exploring different angles and perspectives.

It’s surprising what you can find if you just look up, or sit down.   The sun was high in the sky, so when I looked up while standing under this beautiful shade tree, the sun was bursting through the leaves.  This provided an excellent opportunity to fuddle with the manual settings of my new camera.

The trick to capturing a photo while facing the sun, is retaining some detail of your subject. The sun is so bright that it tends to silhouette everything in the foreground.  Perfect opportunity to play with ISO and Exposure compensation.

Here was my first attempt. I didn’t get as much detail as I wanted on the leaves. I took a step to the left and adjusted the settings a bit.

Sun Through the Trees
Sunburst Through the Leaves (first attempt)

This is the end result, nice color and detail on the leaves with a beautiful sunburst coming through. No flash fired on this shot, btw.

Sun Through the Trees
Sunburst Through the Leaves

And that is how I enjoyed the shade on a scorching day in NC. 🙂

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Rose-Lined Paths and Secluded Shade

When visiting the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC, I am usually taking macro photos of flower and butterflies, but on this trip, I wanted to take my new wide-angle lens out for a spin.  I’m still getting used to the [awesome] 1.8 f-stop on this lens, thus my goal was to compose landscape photos that showcased the depth of field capabilities of a 1.8 f-stop prime lens.   With the sun being high in the sky (coupled with my aversion to heavy shadows), it did prove a little difficult, but here are some gems.

Shady Spot
A perfect shady spot
Roses on the Path
Rose-lined path

More photos to come…

Snapping Beauty


JC Raulston Arboretum in May

Visiting my mom in Raleigh, NC, last weekend. I had a chance to take my new camera to the JC Raulston Arboretum. I spent many hours there when I first started out in photography.  They always have a fantastic array of colors and textures to capture – at any time of year.

On this visit, my timing wasn’t perfect, however.  I was too late for the blooming apricot trees and tulips, but too early for the roses, daisies and black-eyed susans (and subsequently the pollinators that frequent them). No matter, the gardens didn’t disappoint.

The bromelaids weren’t blooming yet, but their foliage have such interesting patterns.


The lavender was in full bloom throughout the gardens. The aroma was wafting around every corner.


And this cool thing. These spires are supposed to grow straight up, but this one got a little jiggy.

Cool Flower Bud

It was fun revisiting an old favorite.  More photos to come…

Snapping Beauty