Wake-robin

30 04 2012

Wake-robin (Trillium erectum), also known as Birthroot and Purple Trillium; photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Yellow Trillium

30 04 2012

Yellow Trillium (Trillium luteum), native plant photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Mouse Ear Tickseed

30 04 2012

Mouse Ear Tickseed (Coreopsis auriculata), photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Allium Bulgaricum

30 04 2012

Allium Bulgaricum (Nectaroscordum siculum), photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. This ornamental allium is easy to grow, deer-resistant, and hardy to zone 4. They thrive in sunlight and bloom in May and June. Also known as Mediterranean Bells, Sicilian Honey Lily, Ornamental Onion and Sicilian Garlic; native to the Mediterranean.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Bearded iris

25 04 2012

Bearded iris (Iris germanica)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Sister violet ‘Freckles’

25 04 2012

The rare and unusual Sister violet (Viola sororia) ‘Freckles’, with heart-shaped evergreen leaves and tiny snow white blooms speckled with deep purple spots, is similar to a wild violet. This hardy perennial likes well-drained soil in full to part sun (mine is in shade for a good part of the day). It’s a great plant for naturalistic shade gardens and it spreads by seed and underground rhizomes. I planted my first bunch a few years ago in an egg shaped wire sculpture perched atop a big urn. This year the plant has escaped from its cage and began spreading on the ground. It returns every year, without fail—a tiny, unassuming, quiet little flower, flying under the radar.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Someplace cool & green & shady

25 04 2012

I kind of like this ghostly-fern-glowy-greeny-magical-fairyland-shot so I thought I’d share it!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lily-of-the-valley

25 04 2012

Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis), photographed on the woodland trail at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Florida pinxter

25 04 2012

Rhododendron canescens (common name: Florida pinxter, Hoary azalea, Piedmont azalea), photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA; highly fragrant flowers bloom in spring, great shrub for full sun or part shade in a woodland garden, grows 15 ft. to 30 ft. in height and 3 ft. to 6 ft. in width

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)

24 04 2012

Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Pressed plants as art

24 04 2012

These individual one-of-a-kind pieces of art are actual Texas wildflowers collected from the wild and pressed, dried and preserved as two-dimensional ecological décor. My friend, Shirley Loflin, is the collector and artist responsible for preparation of these most interesting botanical specimens. She is a naturalist and author who, along with husband Brian (who just happens to be a former employer of mine as well as my photography mentor), have written several articles and books on the natural science of Texas.

The concept of this art series grew out of the requirement to preserve “voucher specimens” for the herbaria at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas. A voucher is a botanical specimen carefully mounted on archival materials of high quality, and completely identified with both common and scientific names. These vouchers are documentation of plants photographed in the wild for their books: Grasses of the Texas Hill Country, Texas Cacti and their latest, Texas Wildflower Vistas and Hidden Treasures.

Shirley and Brian have been writing about and photographing Texas as a team for more than 20 years. In addition, they lead natural science photography tours and workshops in a wide variety of locations in the Americas.

Their work may be found at www.loflin-images.com, www.thenatureconnection.com and www.bkloflin.wordpress.com. Their books are published by Texas A&M University Press and may be found at most major booksellers.

Shirley’s botanical art is available for purchase in her etsy shop, www.etsy.com/shop/thenatureconnection.





Common Mullein

24 04 2012

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), photographed last year at Green Spring Gardens. Mullein is a biennial that can grow up to 8 ft. in height. The first year, it produces wooly greenish-gray leaves; the second year, tiny yellow flowers bloom.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sacred lotus

23 04 2012

Photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens last summer

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The Garden Song

22 04 2012

Wish my flowers could sing like this! Listen to this sweet melodic song by my favorite troubadour, John Denver! I made this my garden club’s official song.





Baptisia x ‘Purple Smoke’

22 04 2012

Purple Smoke Wild Indigo (Hybrid of two species native to eastern U.S.) against a backdrop of Firecracker plant blooms (Russelia equisetiformis) photographed this morning at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA—love the color combination of purple and coral with spots of lime green in this shot!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Columbine cluster

21 04 2012

Columbine (Aquilegia), photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Golden Zizia

21 04 2012

Zizia aurea (Virginia native), also known as Golden Zizia or Golden Alexanders; photographed this morning at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 3

21 04 2012

These were some images I shot with my Nikon Coolpix before the reception started. Stay tuned in the coming days for recipes and recaps from Barbara Kelley (who wears the hats of editor of the Hearing Loss Magazine that I design, deputy executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), friend, sounding board, cheerleader and caterer extraordinaire) on her Kelley Hospitality blog here. Just some of the appetizers she made for the event: photo #1—mozzarella balls with cherry tomatoes and pesto pinwheels, fruit skewers, and open-faced cream cheese tea sandwiches adorned with red and yellow peppers and edible flowers; photo #2—Lemon crinkle cookies garnished with fresh strawberries and blackberries; photo #3—Brownie blooms and bird nest confections (with malted milkball eggs!) and finally, photo #4—Key lime tartlets.

In the last photo, Elizabeth LeBarron (National Chapter and State Coordinator for HLAA) and my friend Karen Wyatt (Karen Wyatt Skin Care) apparently consulted with the same fashion stylist (who had pink and orange on the brain) when they dressed for the reception. Neither had ever met before the reception and were immediately drawn to each other—so much so that Elizabeth borrowed Karen’s necklace to grace her outfit. I made the necklace for Karen and although I didn’t like her color choices at first (she had this exact outfit in mind to wear the necklace with), they kinda grew on me after all!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Re-post: ‘Lady Jane’ tulip

21 04 2012

Originally posted 4.10.2009

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

skinnytulip





Re-post: Siberian iris

21 04 2012

Originally posted 4.23.2010

I played with depth of field while photographing this Siberian Iris at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this morning. I shot more than 30 images of this same flower, and found this one to be my favorite. While the flower is sharp, the background has a very shallow depth of field, making the bloom appear to float—love me some of that bokeh!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Bearded iris

19 04 2012

Bearded iris (Iris germanica©  Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 2

18 04 2012

A reception wouldn’t be complete without food, and with Kelley Hospitality in charge, mine was p-e-r-f-e-c-t! Visit Barbara’s hospitality blog here. Thanks to Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography for all the great photos!





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 1

18 04 2012

WOW. That’s how I can sum up my photography exhibit reception on Sunday at Green Spring Gardens. My friend Martha says her favorite moment was when I came by her and simply said, “I am just soooooooooo happy.” I kept repeating it like a Stepford character. I’m just soooooooooo happy. Really, I am just soooooooooo deliriously happy! Sales and attendance were way beyond what I expected (or dared to hope for).

Remember, the show is up for two more weeks—you have until April 29 to see it if you haven’t already done so. For more details and directions, visit my show site: www.gardenmuseshow.com! FYI—I will have an etsy.com store up and running soon. I’ll be selling matted and framed images, greeting cards and jewelry (and any other crafty endeavor that strikes my fancy!). Stay tuned for more info on that venture. More photos to come from the reception…

Reception photos © Ed Fagan, Columbia Photography

Martha, my friend who came up for the weekend from San Antonio, Texas, confidently pitches the “buy all eight greeting cards for $20 and get a nifty floral gift bag” deal to a potential customer.

Above, from left: dear friends Holly and Tom, yours truly (with my trusty Coolpix) and lovely Sue-in-blue, who flew up from Huntsville, Alabama

With a lot of help from family and friends (Karen B., her daughter Margot, my sister Debbie, sister-in-law Nancy, Karen W. and Martha), the table decor—inspired by spring and all things gardening—became the perfect backdrop to showcase Barbara‘s wonderful sweet and savory appetizers! The only downside—putting all those decorations back in their place in our townhouse.

Above, left: The view of the banquet tables from the “savory” side. Right: Barbara Kelley, caterer extraordinaire, displays her Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcakes, topped off with homemade fondant butterflies made by Karen B., daughter Hannah and me.

Above: The photo pendants were a hit, much to our delight! My friend Paula and I made about 30 of them and we sold more than half of them. I’ll be preparing more to sell in my etsy.com store, which I’ll be working on next month. We hung them on satin cords (longer length), vinyl cording and silver-plated chains and sold them sans chains as well.

Barbara and Hollace made open-faced tea sandwiches and adorned them with edible flowers—which required some cajoling to get attendees to eat. I heard several times, “are you sure we can eat these?” Michael proved they were edible by devouring a complete pink rose (photo to come). Another guest poked at the mozzarella balls (!) and asked if they were real (!) Thank you to Sue for helping me festoon the cupcake stand with garden-inspired fabric and ribbon. We went through a lot of hot glue on that project!

Above: getting the store set up before the crowd comes through the doors. Thanks to everyone who set up the shop—Michael, Karen B., Karen and Joe W., Pete and Nancy, Martha and Debbie. We filled up 3.5 cars with matted/framed prints, greeting cards and buffet decor elements. From left: Holly and her friend Helen examine the necklaces on display; center: Michael explains how to use his credit card machine to Karen B. and her daughter Margot; far right: me explaining something (?) to my friend Leda

Above: seven of the eight 5.5 x 8.5 greeting cards available for sale. Not shown, my “Unfurled” image with a ‘Negrita’ Tulip

Above: another shot of the buffet—tea sandwiches, fruit skewers and pesto pinwheels

Above, left: the jewelry display with my brother-in-law Pete in the background. Peter and his wife Nancy (Michael’s sister) drove up from the Columbus, Ohio area. Right: one of my favorite people—friend and neighbor Michael P. —deciding with “hairy legged” insect photo to purchase (thanks for giving Vault and Whirly Girl a good home, Michael!) Below: lines began to form—how cool is that?

Above: It was so great to see my former roommate (from way back circa 1998 or so) Wendy and her husband Mark—I last saw Wendy at Potomac Mills mall when her son Eli (now 17) was still in a stroller! We reunited on Facebook (but of course) and they truly surprised me by driving down from West Virginia just for the reception! She has asked me to do a presentation to her second grade class on “how to learn how to see” things in nature. Now that I can do!

During this entire process, I have had such a tremendous show of support from family and friends. Since the show went up, I have had guests coming from Florida, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama and Maryland. I am so blessed to have these people in my circle!

In preparation for the show and reception, I’d like to thank a slew of great people:

A very special thanks to Jeff E.—thank you for the kick in the pants to get “exposure for my exposures!”
Dorothy Norpel
, F.R.O.G.S. (Friends of Green Spring Gardens) show coordinator, for giving me the opportunity to exhibit
• Mary Olien and Janet Hammes of Green Spring Gardens for their support of my work and Janet in particular for letting us in early on Sunday so we would have ample time to prepare for the reception (and also for purchasing several images!)
• All the employees and volunteers of Green Spring Gardens who answered questions, fetched a ladder, made a sale, answered my myriad questions and honored my requests
The Green Spring Gardens horticulture staff who are masters (and artists) at what they do—for always having something new and beautiful for me to photograph (not many people know that more than 75% of the images in the show were shot at Green Spring Gardens)
Dad
for his financial input, patient framing guidance and being the best cheerleader/dad/patron of the arts a girl could have
My sister Kelley for helping me select all the images for the show and being the genius behind the idea to name the images
Tom and Holly for loading up 98% of the framed images in their van and transporting and unloading it all—you just don’t know how much I appreciated that!
Dear Camilla for flying up to help me hang up the show and her invaluable creative direction (not to mention her long-time friendship)
• Karen W.
and Michael for helping hang the show from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (thanks also to Karen for constantly promoting my work, whether it’s jewelry making or the exhibit—there’s a reason you’re a key component of the K.I.T.A. club, ya know!)
Carmen and her sister-in-law Ester for driving eight hours from Greer, South Carolina just to attend the exhibit
Mary Ellen
for flying from Wisconsin
My sister-in-law Ronnie and her husband Ed for coming to see us and the exhibit en route from Florida back to their home in Cleveland
My sister Debbie and our friend Martha for hopping planes from San Antonio to share in the big weekend
Karen B.
for helping design the buffet tables, create the table covers and decorations, making fondant butterflies for the cupcakes, sleeving greeting cards and for every single creative project she is willing to tackle alongside me (I enjoy all our creative time together, KareBear) and for her patience in heading up the store
Mo Sherman
for spreading the word to his Virginia and Maryland friends and for being so supportive of my work
Sue
for flying here from Huntsville, AL, helping me make the three-tiered tea sandwich stand and putting matted prints in sleeves (and for her never-ending cheerleading!)
Hannah
for help with creating the butterflies and manning the store with her mom
Margot
for her flower arranging skills, buffet decorating and helping in the store
Paula
for helping me make those pretty photo pendants that were such a hit (and for her and Ken spreading the word of the exhibit to their friends and colleagues)
Nancy
, Pete and Martha for helping frame (assembly-line style) some last-minute pieces
Karen W.
and Joe for preparing and bringing a great breakfast spread to the house Sunday morning so we wouldn’t pass out during the day
All the help transporting to and fro in four separate cars from Michael, Pete, Joe, Nancy, Karen W., Martha and Debbie
Barbara
and Hollace for the amazing reception food—it was colorful, tasty, imaginative, filled with love, and I couldn’t imagine a catered event going more smoothly than this one did—you are a pro, Barbara!
Karen B.
, Margot, Hannah and Martha for minding the store and taking care of sales, wrapping, etc. (I know it was a crazy, unexpected time and I thank them profusely for all their efforts; nothing I can do can repay their generosity of time!);
Michael for running errands to get more change, to the house for more supplies and bringing fans to cool off the place (we learned that they turn off the air at the Horticulture Center on weekends!)
Karen W.
, Debbie, Martha, Karen B., Margot and Nancy for all their help decorating the buffet tables and setting up the store
Jeff S.D. for his constant support and helping me determine pricing (why is this always so hard for an artist?)
Brian for his mentoring and valuable input, always
Kudos and thanks to my hard-working friend Ed for so thoroughly and beautifully documenting that wonderful day with nearly 700 images (shot from above, below, from the side, on a ladder, on the floor and from the ceiling)!

If I have left out anyone in the never-ending gratitude list above, it is not intentional. Finally, thank you to all my local friends, faraway friends, Facebook friends, WordPress fellow bloggers and design clients for being a constant source of support and enthusiasm for this pet project of mine. Thank you to all my local friends who were able to make the reception and for your purchases as well. I thank you profusely and Green Spring Gardens thanks you, too!





Composition and Macro Photography Workshop at Green Spring Gardens

3 04 2012

On Sunday afternoon I did a composition and macro mini-workshop (my first ever!) at Green Spring Gardens with more than 30 members of the Northern Virginia Outdoor Portrait Photographers meetup.com group. I started with a “what’s in my bag” tips and tricks presentation, followed by a tour of my photography exhibit in the Horticulture Center and a great Q&A session (with excellent questions and observations from the members), and then a brief outdoor photo excursion with the group.

Outdoors, I showed them how using a diffuser makes all the difference in getting saturated color in their flower photographs. In the photo below, we used the diffusers and a silver reflector to show how it’s possible to get great shots by harnessing the sun when shooting a human subject, too. I thoroughly enjoyed doing the presentation and look forward to working with the members again in a future portrait or flower photography workshop. Thanks to Rob Bergsohn, the group’s founder, for organizing this event. You have assembled a really a great group of enthusiastic and talented photographers!

Workshop reviews:

“Very informative and excellent opportunity to learn from a masterful artist.” —Tommy Duffy

“Great fun, very nice folks, and Cindy was knowledgeable and fun as well. Her work is amazing.” —Michael Wine

“Cindy was great! She shared just a ton of info and was extremely helpful answering everyone’s questions. The only thing holding this back from a 5 star rating was I would have like to shoot more and had time to get her help/feedback. Her photography is outstanding, if you have never seen it, take the time to view her work, it is truly worth it.” —Doug Stroud, Doug Stroud Photography

“Cindy gave us her all, shared her macro background, walked us thru her exhibit, and then took us outside for a hands on shoot. We each received packet of handouts and info as well! Thank you Cindy and Robin!” —Sally Wood, Sally Wood Photography

“This was such a nice meetup. Thank you Cindy for taking us all out on that fine day. I learned a lot and saw a lot of inspiring work. Thank you!” —Dino Tiongco Photography

“Thanks to Cindy for sharing her insights and trade secrets. Her work is amazing and this meet up was a great opportunity to learn first hand from a wonderful person and photographer. Thanks, Robin, for organizing this event.” —Prateek

Photo © Michael Wine