Monday, June 29, 2015

Hodge Podge

It has been two years now since I left my professional life behind me. Still, though, echoes of those glorious days teaching college freshmen how to write academic essays reverberate through my mind. Take tonight for example. I downloaded my photos from two cameras, did some editing, created the collage for Lavender Cottage's Monday Mosaic,  selected a few photos, uploaded them to Blogger then wrote on my New Post screen: "Dpn't now wh]t to rite." So here I sit wondering what the main idea should be for tomorrow's post. I always taught the freshmen writers that their papers must have a main idea that would be stated in a thesis sentence.

Scratch that. Hodge Podge tonight.

Lily turned 3 Thursday. Monday's mosaic has to be all about Lily and her friend Minnie Mouse. I had bought Lily the cutest little Minnie Mouse play costume dress all pink and polka dotty to wear for the party. She had it on for about 10 minutes then ran off only to reappear in the hand-me-down swim suit and no coaxing would convince her to change. By child number 3, moms have learned to choose their battles.

Sweet cupcakes with Oreo cookies new thin mints for mouse ears. I challenged my son-in-law to take his cupcake to work with for lunch, all pink and cute. I picked a sweet little bouquet of flowers for the birthday girl, but I think she liked the balloons better.

Now for the garden.

The automatic sprinkler for the perennial and succulent garden comes on at 6 AM, so early in the morning I decided to take some photographs of the still wet flowers.

We all like to take macro photos, so I am curious to ask what sort of lens do you use for you macros? Maybe I should be asking what sort of camera do you use?

I use my Canon EOS Rebel XS, now several years old. It is a 12 pixel, DSL with the standard 18-55 mm lens. Were I a professional photographer just starting out, I probably would have followed the advice I found on several photography web sites recommending to switch out the factory lens with a better quality lens. I didn't. I am not a professional.

Instead, I purchased a Canon 75-300 mm telephoto lens that I use often for the macro shots. Listen, I am old and I don't bend very well in certain positions, so I use the telephoto with, I think, most of the time good result. (I wish I could tell you the name of this bloom, but I can't remember it. It is in yucca family--I think).

Here is another example of an effective telephoto macro. You can even see the tiny spider webbing the agapanthus. 

The day lily looks fresh and I especially like the darkened background.

The Garden Spot is a bird sanctuary with lots of robins. I especially like this photo because of the depth of field with the robin in full focus while its surroundings are out of focus.

Taken early in the morning, I like the early morning sunlight on the pasture. I also like the bird house framed with both aspen and pine bows with a bit of day lily at the bottom.

Milk Weed makes for a pretty photo, slightly under exposed but only because I noticed that the lens was dusty. I could write an entire post on Mild Weed: wonderful childhood memories catching monarch caterpillars off of them to raise in giant glass jar to watch them go through their metamorphosis  or what a disgusting, annoying, invasive weed that they are now or how school children across the country are planting them to provide a more abundant food supply and habitat for the disappearing monarchs. But you already know that. 

Maybe I could write about photographic perspective or depth of field. Take these next four photos, for example.

Single shots of individual blooms make our gardens look WOW, for when I photograph individual blooms I am editing out the weeds that lurk below.

The blanket flower and the daisy are similar but different. 

Sharing a garden space, they are nice companions. Playing with focus on the camera, and you can change the point of view of the entire discussion.

It is nice to step back to shoot the full view of the garden bed give a better idea of what the garden actually looks like, weeds and all. 

Test Question: Can you identify this flower? Coral Bell? Correct. You do know your plants. 

Sometimes lighting plays tricks on especially the less than professional photographer. This is the same Cosmos. Any guesses as to its true color? Pink of course. One photo taken in morning shade; the other taken back lit with the morning sun.

Scabiosa or pin cushion. I love the the delicate center in this flower. Again, another macro with the telephoto lens.

Even the buds on the echinacea make pretty photos.

The columbine are ending their run. Only a few straggling blooms left. I'll be sad to see them go.

And what would a Hodge Podge post be without a rose? I'll end tonight's garden tour with a little no name rose that is original to the property, living the front courtyard. She blooms her little heart out every year all summer long giving these delicate gorgeous little roses that change from a very soft apricot color turning a fluorescent orange as she begins to fade. Love her. 

The little girls will be here tomorrow to ride Pop. I had to plans to take the little SUV to town for hopefully one new tire, but I may have to buy all 4. 

I spent a wonderful day in Denver Saturday with Heather. She was invited to speak at a lady's luncheon on trees. One of her clients asked her to speak at a fund raising luncheon for the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a organization that supports girls and young women by providing scholarships and she invited me along. We had a great day. After we took her mother in law back home, we went to Norm's Dollhouse, a dollhouse store on the far side of Denver. Way far away. A special treat for me.
Once on my way home at the end of the day and after I had navigated through the worst traffic challenges of the drive, I was headed for open high way and less traffic and I was feeling pretty good about my ability to navigate through the horrible Denver traffic. Then I heard something. I didn't like the odd sound. Good thing the SUV can warm me of impending dangers, like the sign that comes on "Low Tire Pressure." Low?" How low? I continued to drive until I was able to turn off and park--in a cemetery, no less. I called the Head Gardener who was over an hour away. Then I called my daughter. Bless her and her husband for they came and rescued me. James changed the tire for me and sent me on my way. I drove 56 miles an hour on I-25 for 70 miles on the donut spare. Ugh. I made it home safely, but now I need at least one new tire.

Enough Hodge Podge for tonight. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Love your comments. I read every one and hopefully I respond to you all. Happy Gardening this week. We will be weeding and getting the garden in shape so that we can take some time off for a week while we get out of town. Have a fabulous week.


  1. Really enjoyed your Hodge Podge. Cute Minnie Mouse birthday party for the little one. Your garden is beautiful. So many different blooms and colors. I have been thinking about a new camera. I don't change lens just because they are too heavy to carry around...getting older! And, I don't make a living with a camera. If it takes a "decent" shot, I'm happy. Gorgeous images you shared. Happy Monday!

  2. I'm sure if there hadn't been such beautiful flowers I might have gained a few pounds gazing and the confections!!! Grand post!! Have a wonderful day!

  3. So nice reading and watching all your Hodge Podge. The little Lily on her birthday preferring a swimsuit above the wonderful Minnie Mouse polka dress, so funny. The macro photos of your flowers are gorgeous. I always use a small digital Olympus camera. F. has an Olympus camera with many lenses which I seldom use. I just want to take my camera with me in my pocket on my walks or in the garden.
    So nice you had a lovely day with your daughter in Denver. I too love going out with my eldest daughter.
    Wish you a happy week in Colorado!

  4. Oh, I like hodgepodge or random posts sometimes, they can cover a lot of territory. The cupcakes were so cute for Lily's BD - did your SIL take one to work?
    When my expensive (beyond my capabilities) Canon DSLR bit the dust I purchased a Rebel as well and love it, especially since it is much lighter than the old camera. I have never thought to take macro shots with the telephoto lens and I do have a macro lens I pull out only on occasion. I don't use the lens that came with the camera and I stayed with Canon so I could use all my lenses. Nikon is very appealing.
    Nice to see your parade of flowers, thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Ann.

  5. What a precious birthday girl....she is adorable and looks like she had a lot of fun. And what amazing photos you are taking with your new camera lens. I am still learning to use my new camera and need to practice some more. I'm bad about picking it up and clicking away without taking time to try new settings. Enjoy your week my friend. (and you reminded me...I need new tires!) Glad you got home safe. Sweet hugs, Diane

  6. My camera is a high end point and shoot, a Canon Powershot something. It's the same camera that my nephew the professional photographer uses for his point and shoot needs. So my macro is built in! Still, I often zoom in from far away for my closeups, I just like how it looks.

  7. I've enjoyed your Hodge Podge. Sometimes essays are appropriate, sometimes they aren't. Blog posts can be essays or conversations, in my mind. I enjoy both.
    Your garden is providing you with lots of pretty things just now. Your little one is a darling, and how funny that she chose her own outfit over yours. Glad you got some help with changing the flat tire.

  8. Your flowers are so beautiful Ann, and happy birthday to your Lily.

  9. My camera is old and is just a point and click but it still takes pretty good photos - I can just slip it in my pocket and it goes everywhere with me recording memories. You have a lovely selection of flowers in your garden and the cupcakes look totally delicious and fattening!

  10. What a great Hodge Podge. Your Lily looks adorable as Minnie Mouse. Happy Birthday to Lily! Your flowers are simply beautiful! The trip to Denver sounds like fun, but sorry about the tire. Great post! Enjoy your day and have a happy week!

  11. Yikes! I'm glad you were saved and got home okay with the wimpy spare!
    Your garden looks great, as always!
    The mouse decorations are FUN!

  12. Life is a hodge podge so this was great to the Minnie Mouse party and party girl....want one of those cupcakes and your garden is looking beautiful with all the flowers blooming.

  13. My camera is a Canon powershot SX500 IS It has a 30x optical lens. It does a good job with the zoom but what I miss on this particular camera is the small view finder. All it has is the 2x3 screen which makes it difficult to see what you are photographing when in sunlight. Which of course, a garden is pretty much always in! I bought it online and didn't notice that. I also can't remove the lens to change out if I want a larger zoom, which would be nice to have. I miss my old Canon AE1. I could look for one of those in the digital but then I would be spending some serious money. '

    Your garden flowers look so pretty and you did a great job photographing the close-ups. I love Lily's party. She is so beautiful. I am going through a bit of a pink phase myself right now and am wearing my pink Sketchers as I type. LOL. A girl needs a little pink now and then. Have a beautiful day Ann. Thank you for visiting my blog, I so enjoy our chats. Carla

  14. What an interesting post, Ann! Lovely photos, from the wonderful birthday collage to all the beautiful flowers.
    Happy Fourth of July!

  15. Glad that you were off the road before it went totally flat and were rescued! Lovely flowers and an even lovelier little Lily. Oh so cute!! :)

  16. I'm still giggling over the "I'm old I don't bend well" part of the post. I have a 100 mm macro, but you know, I rarely use it...go figure. I love my 1.4 [get the more expensive one, it's well worth it] 50mm Canon's not good for macro, but for bokah...well sigh and cross my heart.


  17. I'm still giggling over the "I'm old I don't bend well" part of the post. I have a 100 mm macro, but you know, I rarely use it...go figure. I love my 1.4 [get the more expensive one, it's well worth it] 50mm Canon's not good for macro, but for bokah...well sigh and cross my heart.