Pink overlooked

31 01 2009

I found five pink stragglers in my archives. No more pinks for awhile. I’ll move on to another color, another subject. Promise.

I’m now taking requests for a color for the next collage. Anyone? 

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.



This post is brought to you by the color pink.

31 01 2009

I apologize in advance if this ginormous collage crashes your system. I realize I got a little carried away with my collection. Pink just plum took over. 

(Oh, and do be patient while the collage loads. It might take a little longer than usual, but I promise it is worth the wait.)

If your system does lock up, you could also blame my blogger friends (and my Dad):

Jan at
Heather at
GG at 
Dad at his eBay store here (which was apparently ransacked because there is nothing posted) 

Their recent comments gave me the impetus to post the colossal collage below.

“oooooooooohhh What a show, Cindy! I literally said that all the way through. Ooooh. Gorgeous. We’ve had some sunshine on and off the past few days. I think you need to get out of your basement more. Only 49 days until spring!!” — Jan

“Oh, man! You’re always taking my breath away like that, jeez!”   —Heather 

“Absolutely GORGEOUS! Your photo of the back of the day lily is particularly interesting. Have a wonderful weekend.”  — G G

“The begonia shot is: Beautiful! Astonishing! Unbelievable! Gorgeous! Breathtaking! Damn, that’s a purdy pitcher! Please put me on your e-mail announcement list for every workshop. I won’t be able to attend, but I’ll be there in spirit if I know when and where (I’ll need the schedules so I’ll know when and where to send my spirit).”  — Dad

I replied to Heather that I would soon be posting a rather long “pink collage” that could potentially crash her system. She replied, “bring it on!” So that’s the skinny and here we are.

Okay, the color pink wins by a long shot (so far) in the number of times it shows up in my garden photo archives. I thought orange was prevalent, but I was so, so wrong. I can only imagine how many times purple will show up—I tend to gravitate toward that color in my garden, even though I wouldn’t dare actually wear that color. Actually wearing that color or any shade of burgundy makes my skin itch. But that’s a whole ‘nuther topic. We artists are very sensitive to color, you know. 

Well…now that I have revealed this little-known (and useless) fact about me, I should also tell you that I will not drive a burgundy car—and my anxiety doubles if the interior is burgundy, too. I discovered this about myself about 20+ years ago. So just guess what color car I am inevitably assigned when I rent a car. Yep. Burgundy. Or red (which I don’t have as much an aversion to after driving a sporty little Jeep in California two years ago…red = acceptable…burgundy = don’t go there). It doesn’t matter if every car left on the lot is white. The rental agent will start walking, keys in hand, directly to the only burgundy car in the place. I kid you not. Ask my cousin Bill. (He recently confessed that he now asks for “anything but burgundy” and “no rental plates, please”—the second request came about after I read something about never-do-wells stealing from rental cars because they know they’re driven by tourists with some good loot in tow.) And if someone traveling with me is renting the car, they usually don’t care what color it is, but I always comment, ” betcha it’s going to be burgundy, mark my words.” Then the rental agent will lead us to only burgundy car in a sea of other colors. I kid you not. I’m jinxed. So now when I rent a car, I request “anything but burgundy, please.” This request is met with raised eyebrows more often than not. And I feel compelled to explain, “I’m an artist. I’m sensitive. No burgundy, please.” On one trip to San Diego, Michael went to rent the car while my friend Norma and I waited in the parking lot. It was late in the day and we said if burgundy is the only one available, then we’ll take it (but we won’t be happy about it). I said, “I just know it’s going to be burgundy.” Michael got the keys and met us across the parking lot and was laughing uncontrollably. But wait! Under the vapor lights…it could be…it just might be brown…yeah, it’s brown. We got out of the parking lot and saw the real color…yep, you guessed it. It was burgundy. Once again.

Now I must admit I don’t mind using it in my graphic design pieces. Burgundy has always been a nice corporate-y business color. And I don’t mind if other people wish to wear burgundy or drive a burgundy car. Just don’t ask me to ride with you. Especially if you’re wearing burgundy in your burgundy car with your burgundy seats. I will then offer to pick you up in my passive silver car with its quiet, unassaultive gray interior. I will not apologize for this particular peeve of mine. It is what it is.

Now back to pink. There is an off chance that I actually have something pink in my closet to wear. If not, I should. I do believe all women look good in pink (in particular shades depending on their skin tone and hair color), even if they don’t think so. I speak from experience as a portrait photographer. It’s a very flattering shade on women. And sometimes on men, too. There’s something youthful and joyful about the color pink, especially in the garden. And I love all the pinks in my garden—from pastel pink to just-look-at-me! magenta. 

Ever wonder where the preference of “pink for girls” and “blue for boys” came from? I found this on

“In Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the 1920s. From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because being related to red it was the more masculine and decided color, while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color, or related to the Virgin Mary. Since the 1940s, the societal norm apparently inverted so that pink became appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued in the 21st century.”

The use of the word for the color pink was first recorded in the late 17th century, describing the flowers of pinks—flowering plants in the genus Dianthus

Just 49 more days until spring, huh? Can it be? Oooh…now it’s just 48!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Rhymes with orange

30 01 2009

For several months now I’ve been trying to catalog my images better, bit by bit (there are thousands and thousands of photos). While organizing my garden photos folder I noticed that I have a plethora of orange-hued flowers so I put together this collage of all things orange-ish to brighten your winter day.

Tangerine. Coral. Day-glow orange. Push-up popsicle orange. Sunset. Pumpkin. 70s shag carpet orange (I did window display at a department store while in college and there was multi-shaded orange shag carpet in each window. Do you know how hard it is to design around that color scheme? I covered it up every chance I got—with a decorating budget of zilch, unfortunately. I asked for $5 once for a huge set of markers and my boss freaked out).

Orange peel. Safety orange. Salmon (did you know that the “l” in salmon is silent? The correct pronunciation is “sam-uhn.” Don’t believe me? Click here).

Frou-frou-big-bowed-bridesmaid-dress-apricot (yes, I had to wear one once upon a time). Carrot. Persimmon. Vermillion. Orange-red. Rusty can orange. Burnt orange. Tomato. Panama Brown orange (the color Dad insists his old diesel VW Rabbit was—sorry, Dad, it was ORANGE)

After a week of designing at the computer in a cold basement, pausing only to look out at winter gray skies (save for that remarkable sunset on Wednesday), I needed a jolt of color to inspire me. What better color than orange?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Wednesday sky

28 01 2009

The sunset tonight was stunning and I have the pics to prove it! The view out the front door and down our street was of the flaming yellow band with stormy winter clouds overhead. The view from the side yard was the sky awash with push-up popsicle orangey-pink and blue. It was all a crazy jumble of pink, gold, heathered blue, dark gray, purple and white with a variety of cloud formations, too.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.



28 01 2009

Gotta love the name of the American Begonia Society’s upcoming annual conference—Bewitched, Bothered, and Begonia’d.

This is one of the few photographs I shot at the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) this past weekend. There wasn’t a whole lot in bloom (or much that was well lighted and within easy reach around the tourists!), but I did get this nice graphic shot of a thick-stemmed Begonia in bloom.

There are over 1,500 named species (so far) of Begonias. Their horticultural classifications include Cane-like (very popular; also called “Angel Wing” Begonas), Shrub, Rhizomatous, Semperforens, Tuberous, Rex, Trailing-Scandent and Thick-Stemmed, according to the American Begonia Society website.

The USBG has a 4-session Creative Flower Photography workshop starting in early February. Read more about it here.

FYI: I’m toying with the idea of putting together my own half-day and full-day garden photography workshops this summer. I promise my fees will be reasonable. Anyone interested? If so, e-mail me at and I’ll put you on the e-mail announcement list.

(My fantasy is that this would take off and I would be jet-setting around the country to teach workshops at the invitation of garden clubs, camera clubs and botanical gardens! One can dream…)

I’m signing up for the once-a-year-only USBG Production Facility Open House on March 7. Read more about that event here. USBG Friends get in free; non-members pay just $5—pre-registration is required. It’s the largest greenhouse complex supporting a public garden in the U.S., and with 85,000 square feet, I’m sure I’ll find something to photograph!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Bees, revisited

27 01 2009

Back in May 2007 I posted a photo collage of bees and wasps I have photographed in my garden as well as public gardens in the U.S. and Canada. You can revisit that post here.

Below is one of my favorite bee photographs taken at Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, just north of Victoria. If you’re a garden lover, put Butchart Gardens on your must-see list. It’s spectacular! And if you love photographing gardens, flowers and insects, you’ll run out of time before you run out of subjects. I spent more than an hour just photographing the Dahlia Border garden in September! This was our second time at Butchart Gardens.

See more flowers from our visit to the gardens this past September in the links below:

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Yearning for blooms

26 01 2009

I just came across this lovely intense pink water lily I photographed in July at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. Sigh. How much winter is left?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Cabin fever

21 01 2009

If you’re wondering what I do when I’m not gardening or photographing gardens, here’s the skinny:

1) I stay indoors far too much, working on projects for my graphic design business, and wishing I had my hands in warm dirt under a blue sky, in temperatures between 70-75 degrees.

2) I water (or try not to water too much) no less than 50 houseplants (including far too many cacti and succulents).

3) I spring clean (repeatedly) and earlier than usual, hoping to rid my abode of yet more clutter.

4) I try to stay warm in a cold basement studio, yearn for warmer days, and wish I had stayed longer in sunny San Antonio with my family. When I turn on the heater, I have to decide—warm hands or warm feet? I opt for warm hands because it’s hard to design with the keyboard when your fingers are rigid from the cold.

5) I force bulbs in the kitchen to give me some tangible connection to gardening.

6) I try to look past the sadness of the garden in its current state and envision what it will look like again come late March and earlier April.

7) I get caught up on my reading (including all those gardening magazines and plant catalogs I’m inundated with daily).

8) and I blog about non-gardening things on my “everything including the kitchen sink” blog here:

Go check it out. Then you’ll know that I’m not really dormant. Lots of things are happening on the other site. Tea parties. Portraits. Decorating. Musings. Thrift stores. Jobs for clients. Traveling. Ponderings. Field trips. Road trips. Family. Observations. Eating. Cooking. Parties. Gallery receptions. My cats. My fish. Graphic Design. Photography tips. Business stuff. You name it, it’s probably there. I’m just trying to fill the days with non-gardening things until the wonder of spring.

Westheimer Avian Conference

10 01 2009

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

I shot this image the first evening of our road trip back to Virginia while we were at a stop light on Westheimer in Houston (I confess—we were just leaving a Half Price Books & Records store—I bought just three books, I promise—and they were all just $1 each from the clearance section). This was just one small section of telephone wire at the intersection and the area was clearly a magnet for all different kinds of birds. There were thousands of birds lined up on every wire! I shot about 20 shots through the window before the light turned green. (Michael was driving, by the way, so I didn’t put anyone at risk.)

I came across an interesting essay that answers the question, “Why do birds form large winter roosts and flocks?” on the Sibley Nature Center blog.

Love birds? Check out this bird-filled post here from my July 2008 archives, this post here on chicadees from summer of 2007, and this post here on mourning doves from spring of 2007.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Toto, we’re not in Texas anymore…

9 01 2009

Michael finished work early today and we decided to grab our cameras and drive over to Green Spring Gardens to see if we could get some shots before the beautiful afternoon light faded. It has been gray, drizzling, damp, rainy and quite depressing for a few days, so today was our first sunny blue-sky day and we didn’t want to waste it. It didn’t seem that cold going out to the car, but by the time we got to the park, it was freeeeeeezing. I still managed to shoot over 100 images despite the fact that I wasn’t dressed for the cold (am I ever?). No socks (sorry, Mom), and just a shawl over my shoulders (fool). No gloves, either. And I got a bit muddy while getting the eye level shots of the sweet little snowdrops. Sigh. I should have stayed in Texas until the weather warmed up here. Is it spring yet?

Click here to see snowdrops that I photographed last April at Green Spring Gardens.

Green Spring is one of my favorite local places to photograph. Below are links to all my posts about this wonderful park during the 2008 gardening season:

A very fine (birth)day, indeed! (can it get any better than this?)

Japanese Anemones (such an elegant flower):

Photographic smorgasbord (lots of bugs in this post!):

Convention ’08 (even more bugs here):

In bloom at Green Spring Gardens (a very colorful day!):

I will be the gladdest thing (images from a hot day in July):

Duh…more flowers, of course! (a beautiful May day):

Love-in-a-mist (one of my favorites):

A day of bliss (yes, it truly was):

Glorious poppies (and how!):

Swaths of color (capturing the first spring blooms):

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Visit my main blog at, where I post portraits, event photography, personal essays, and other non-garden-related entries.


Alabama sunset

4 01 2009

Alabama, my birth state—I was born in Selma, best known for the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches. I shot this image Tuesday evening, December 30, heading toward Huntsville to spend the night with Sue & Steve while en route to Virginia.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Happy New Year!

1 01 2009

Happy New Year to all my readers and fellow bloggers!

Michael and I just got back from our 28-hour road trip late Wednesday night. I spent five weeks working and visiting with my family in San Antonio. This year we got to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family. Michael flew back after Thanksgiving, then flew down again for Christmas. We hit the long (28+ hour) road back on Monday, getting here about 1/2 hour before the ball dropped in Times Square on Wednesday night. We were unpacking the car in really, really blustery cold weather and mid-way through, we both shouted “Happy New Year” to each other and continued unpacking. We’re such party animals, aren’t we?

Now comes the fun part of unpacking camera gear, software, backgrounds, light stands, tripods, glamour shot clothing/wigs/accessories, clothing, toiletries, more books we don’t need, Christmas gifts, etc….and then hooking up the computer again (and attaching the four external hard drives, card reader, tablet, etc.). Oh…and the cactus and succulents I bought at Kactus Korral on the trip down to Texas (where in the world am I going to put those?). And then there are my personal clothes, which seem to have reproduced in the last five weeks. I blame my father for this situation. He introduced me to cheap clothes at the Salvation Army and Goodwills throughout San Antonio. Did I know that these places sold clothing? Yes. Did I know they were in such good shape and included (depending on the location—upscale neighborhoods reap better goods) big name labels such as Coldwater Creek, Chico’s, Ann Taylor, Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren, and the like? No. It never occured to me to look. We even got my mother hooked! I bought her an Ann Taylor blouse and she couldn’t believe the shape it was in. We went back and she ended up filling a cart up with clothing! One store has a 50% off sale on clothing every Wednesdays. We were getting blouses for anywhere from 50 cents to a maximum of $2! I also bought a load of things for the studio and my glamour session portraits. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the car was packed so full that we hesitated to even stop for snacks because there was no more room for one more thing (okay, well, except for that impromptu stop to buy cheese at the Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, Tennessee—let’s blame Michael for that stop, shall we?). There’s always room in the car for cheese, isn’t there?

I’ll be posting some photos shortly of our thrift store bargains, more family photos, shots from the trip home, and of course—-shots of all the cactus and succulents from the Kactus Korral that need potting up and a location in which to bathe in the (not much of late) sunshine! Stay tuned…