Waterlily stamps featured on Jeopardy!

1 10 2015

Thanks to the eagle eyes of my friend Barbara Kelley for catching this screen grab on Jeopardy (Sept. 21). I also got an email from Mark Saunders (USPS PR guy) alerting me to this fun thing!

Answer: What are water lilies?

Another fun thing—the ferns were featured in Jeopardy last year! How cool is that?

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Featured in the Washington Post!

9 07 2015

John Kelly interviewed me about photographing water lilies for his column in today’s edition of the Washington Post. Read his article in the link below.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/on-hot-summer-days-the-lotus-blossoms-of-kenilworth-beckon/2015/07/08/abc180ce-259b-11e5-aae2-6c4f59b050aa_story.html

JohnKellyArticle





Water lily stamps debut in Ohio on March 20

26 03 2015

Last week my water lily FOREVER stamps were unveiled at the Garfield-Perry March Stamp Show in Cleveland, Ohio. First photo: digital postmark first day covers and booklet of stamps; second photo: autographed program and cancelled stamps from First Day Ceremony: autographed by Jay Bigalke, American Philatelic Society, Editor of The American Philatelist; Paul Davis from U.S. Postal Service, who sang the National Anthem; Harold Chapman, President of the Garfield-Perry Stamp Club, who gave the welcome; remarks by Cynthia Druckenbord, Vice President of the Cleveland Botanical Garden; (then me!); and then Melvin J. Anderson, U.S. Postal Service Northern Ohio District Manager, and I got to unveil a giant poster with the water lily stamps (Third photo, shot by my dear friend Michael Powell).

The water lily stamps are available in booklet form at post offices across the U.S. You can also order them online.

Stamps in Booklet Form: LINK

First Day Covers (set of four): LINK

First Day Digital Color Postmark (set of four): LINK

Water Lilies DCP Keepsake (four digital color envelopes and stamp book): LINK

Water Lilies Press Sheet (with and without die cuts): LINK

Water Lilies Stamped Envelopes with Seals: LINK

Water Lilies Framed Stamps: LINK

StampUpdate





USPS Facebook Announcement

7 03 2015

Love the look of the keepsake envelopes with the pretty watercolor-y typesetting!

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Re-post: Halloween Pennant dragonfly

9 01 2015

One of my favorite dragonfly shots…previously posted in July 2008—photographed at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. For more about the Halloween Pennant dragonfly, click here. Read photographer Bill Horn’s tips for photographing them on his Photo Migrations website.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. 





Let’s Chip It!

27 10 2012

Thanks to fellow Pinterest-user, Vanessa Lam, I learned about Sherwin-Williams new color-palette-generator at http://www.letschipit.com. I can see that this new toy is going to be a huge waste of time huge benefit to my design, craft and photography projects. I love collecting color palettes to reference on my Pinterest boards, but now I can create my very own. Here’s my very first palette using a photo I shot at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens a few years ago. Way too much fun to use!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Halloween Pennant dragonfly

8 07 2012

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina), photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

 





Tropical water lily

8 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





East Indian Lotus

8 07 2012

From the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens visitors center:
Clustered in a pool near the visitor center is the pink-tinged East Indian lotus, descended from ancient plants whose seeds were recovered in 1951 from a dry Manchurian lakebed. Induced into germination by the National Park Service, the seeds are believed to be one of the oldest viable seeds ever found. A recent estimate places their age at 640 to 960 years. Unlike water lilies, the lotus (genus Nelumbo) has waxy leaves that rise above the water and shed rain. Its showy flowers drop petals to reveal seedpods that look like shower heads. Its seeds ripen above water.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lotus leaf

8 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

 





Love is in the air…

7 07 2012

Silver-spotted Skippers (Epargyreus clarus) mating on a Lotus leaf at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this morning

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A few more from the archives…

6 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly on water lily

6 07 2012

I think this is an Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera), photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Water lily

6 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Trypophobia, anyone?

6 07 2012

I was just researching Sacred Lotus seed pods (which is what you’re looking at in the photo below) and discovered there is an unofficial phobia name for people who have a fear of holes—Trypophobia. Read this interesting article about unusual phobias by Georgie Lowery on HubPages here.

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On the subject of “trypophobia,” Lowery writes:

My grandmother had a silk flower arrangement that she often placed on her kitchen table. I remember it had pink and light blue flowers in it. It also contained something that caused me an extreme amount of discomfort. So much so that she eventually removed it from the arrangement. It was a dried lotus seed pod.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I did an internet search for ‘fear of lotus seed pods’ and came up with something called trypophobia, which is derived from the Greek word trypo, meaning having holes that are punched, drilled or bored. It’s considered an intense, irrational and often overwhelming fear of clusters of holes. It is an unofficial phobia, meaning it is not recognized as a medical condition.

Other trypophobia sufferers have reported intense phobic symptoms with other things involving holes as well, including sponges, holes in wood or honeycombs. Some people’s reactions to holes, including mine, intensify when the holes have something in them, such as a sunflower with its seeds. Researching for information on trypophobia returned some photos that officially gave me the heebie-jeebies, namely the photo of the Surinam toad, who incubates and hatches her eggs from holes on her back. There is a video that shows the tadpoles hatching, but I’m not posting it here simply because I might have to watch it to get the the link.

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Granted, the little seeds do look like a multitude of creepy little alien eyes, but clearly I don’t suffer from trypophobia since I photographed it without incident. Hmmmmm…you learn something new every day, doncha?

Trypophobia-inducing photograph © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Water lily

5 07 2012

Unidentified water lily, photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sacred Lotus blooms

5 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sacred Lotus

5 07 2012

Click here to see more photos from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sacred lotus

23 04 2012

Photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens last summer

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Chinese Maple leaf canopy

13 01 2012

While preparing for my March/April 2012 solo photography exhibit at Green Spring Gardens, I stumbled across this image I captured at Garvan Woodland Gardens a few years ago. I was on a road trip with my friend, Sue, and we visited her Aunt Gaye in Little Rock, AR. I’m considering this image for a 12×12 print for the show.

Mark your calendars for March-April 2012 for my exhibit!
This will be my first art exhibit since college days (way back when!), so I’m very excited. The exhibit will be in the Horticulture Center in the park. The reception isn’t until Sunday, April 15, from 1-3 p.m., but the show runs all of March and April, so if you’re in the area, that’s ample time to stop by and see the show if you live nearby or plan to be in the Washington, D.C. / Northern Virginia area during that time!

Green Spring Gardens is conveniently located off of 395, at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria, VA 22312. The Horticulture Center is open weekdays from  9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12 – 4:30 p.m. Parking is free and the park closes at dusk.

All works will be for sale, with a portion of proceeds going to Green Spring Gardens. I also plan to have unframed and matted images available for sale during the reception. The show consists of 12×12 images, 12×18 images and 8×12 images, all matted and framed for the show. I’ll also have more than a dozen gallery wrap canvas transfer images (a very contemporary look with no framing needed!), ranging in size from 12×18 to 20×30.

The show includes a great deal of images I’ve shot at Green Spring Gardens, as well as images from Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C., Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Virginia, Brookside Gardens in Maryland, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C., McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Maryland, Garvan Woodland Gardens, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and in my own front and backyard gardens.

Stay tuned to this blog for an announcement of my show website with more details and a sneak preview of some of the images that will be featured. The website will also include ordering information if you’d like to purchase an image (whether matted/framed or matted/ready to frame) but can’t come see the show in person.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





North and south of the equator

19 12 2011

Skipper Butterfly and Bumblebee on Buttonbush bloom, photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eye candy, batch #4

14 12 2011

Sigh…culling through my archives, in preparation for my March/April 2012 exhibit, is making me want to photograph blooms and bugs right now.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eye candy, batch #2

11 12 2011

Pulled from the archives of my personal refrigerator magnet poetry, I give to you my handcrafted attempt #1:

January snow blanket melts
cold February moon gone
March winds a memory
a luscious light envelopes
tiny crocus petals whisper spring
most delicate green grass emerges
rain sweetens the earth
bird song filters down
from the impossibly blue blue sky
warm breezes weave through
a gorgeous tapestry of color

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

5 07 2011

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The culling process

1 07 2011

When I return from photographing any subject, I immediately delete (or cull) out the images that are out-of-focus, too overexposed or underexposed, and the occasional experimental image that didn’t quite pan out. I’m immediately drawn to specific images—sometimes it might be a great composition, a combination of colors that moves me, or an expression on someone’s face. These are the very first images I prepare for my high resolution stock files and for this blog. Sometimes when I revisit a session, even years later, I will occasionally find an image or two that didn’t get my attention initially but now deserve a second look. Below are just a few that made it out of oblivion to the light of day!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





From the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens archives…

29 06 2011

Since I didn’t get the photographic bounty I usually do at Kenilworth, I thought I’d repost images I’ve created in past years. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

KenilworthCollage2





Spent blooms

28 06 2011

In past years the Lotus flowers have bloomed just in time for the annual Water Lily Festival and Festival of Lotus and Asian Culture at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on the third Saturday in July. This year the flowers, particularly the white variety, seem to have peaked much earlier than usual. Most are past their prime blooming stage, but there were lots of opportunities to photograph spent petals in those beautiful Lotus leaves! There are plenty of pink blooms that haven’t flowered yet, though, and there are several ponds that are chock full of beautiful magenta-colored water lilies. Click on the panoramic image below to enlarge for full effect!

The place was a flurry of activity this morning, with children on field trips and student volunteers doing everything from garden chores to turtle counting. They caught the turtles in nets, pulled them up, filed a notch in the shells of those that weren’t captured previously, then released them back into the ponds. Michael saw a foot-and-a-half-long snapping turtle pulled to the surface and then released. Before I knew they were doing the turtle counting procedure, I saw a four-inch-long Red-eared slider by the edge of one of the ponds and was able to get the “record shot” at right (definition of a record shot: certainly won’t win any awards, but they’re proof I was there!). We’re pretty sure the dent on his right side wasn’t the work of a turtle counter since Michael said they were making the file marks on the shells near the back of each turtle and the notches were very tiny.

As I was wrapping up my very brief photo session at the park (it was too sunny to shoot any winners; no clouds to help out, either!), I looked behind me on the path and saw something dark, shiny, at least four inches long, with lots of legs. My first thought was “very large spider!” I moved closer and saw it was a crayfish (crawfish or crawdad if you’re a southerner like me!), hanging out on dry land. I got this one (slightly blurry) record shot of him and he skidaddled (slowly and backwards) back into the nearby pond. It was officially my first crayfish/crawfish/crawdad sighting ever!





Lotus petals

28 06 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Buttonbush

28 06 2011

I photographed this Buttonbush cluster (Cephalanthus occidentalis), also known as Button willow and Honey balls, this morning at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. A native wetland tree, it can grow 10-15 feet tall and spread 15-30 feet. The mid-summer blooms are rich in nectar that attracts butterflies and other insects.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Same time, last year: Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2011

Originally posted June 27, 2010

I was fervently hoping to get some shots of the dragonflies yesterday at Kenilworth, but they were very active and rarely settled long enough for me to photograph them. It was getting hotter and I was just about to give up. I set my tripod down to rest and something compelled me to look to my immediate left—a little more than a foot away from my head, at eye level, was a Blue Dasher clinging to a bare branch sticking out of the pond. I moved really, really slowly and was able to fire off about a dozen shots before he dashed away.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





And one more to call it a night…

28 06 2010

Here is one more shot from my photo field trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on Saturday morning. It’s a good thing we went earlier than planned (thanks to my friend Jeff, who forwarded an e-mail stating the lotus blooms were peaking earlier than usual). We were surprised that there weren’t as many full blooms close to the pond edges to photograph. Most of the ones that were accessible were past their peak and already losing their petals. I really could have used a Nikkor 200mm micro lens (it’s on my wish list, but it’s about $1700-1800) to reach the ones in the pond (really, wading boots would be much cheaper than that lens). The water lilies, however, were in beautiful form!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Water Lily and Duckweed

28 06 2010

This hardy water lily might be a Nymphaea ‘Rose Arey’, but I’m not positive. I photographed it at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this weekend. View my past posts on the gardens in the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/07/23/early-morning-at-kenilworth-aquatic-gardens/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/kenilworth-park-and-aquatic-gardens/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/my-kenilworth-bounty/
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/kenilworth-gardens-7222007/

http://www.cindydyer.com/KenilworthGardens/


© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2010

I was fervently hoping to get some shots of the dragonflies yesterday at Kenilworth, but they were very active and rarely settled long enough for me to photograph them. It was getting hotter and I was just about to give up. I stopped to rest and something compelled me to look to my immediate left—a little more than a foot away from my head, at eye level, was a Blue Dasher (the fella in the second photo) clinging to a bare branch sticking out of the pond. I moved really slowly and was able to fire off about a dozen shots before hedashed away.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Pair of Water Lilies

27 06 2010

Water Lily

My whole life is mine, but whoever says so
will deprive me, for it is infinite.
The ripple of water, the shade of the sky are mine;
it is still the same, my life.

No desire opens me: I am full,
I never close myself with refusal—
in the rhythm of my daily soul
I do not desire—I am moved;

by being moved I exert my empire,
making the dreams of night real:
into my body at the bottom of the water
I attract the beyonds of mirrors…

—Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by A. Poulin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bumblebee on Water Lily

27 06 2010

Hey, this is a nice angle…lemme crop out that brown leaf on the left…and now wait until the sun goes behind that cloud…mmmm…nice and graphic…black, white, green, yellow pop in the center…let’s try a vertical…focus, click, view screen…nah, horizontal is better…focus, click, view screen, change aperture, focus, click, refocus, click, click…now if only a dragonfly would land right smack in the middle…then it would be perfect…oooh, oooh, a bumblebee!…quick, refocus, click! Just one shot before he buzzed away, but here it is. (Cropping it as a square made for a more dynamic image in this case.)

Ode Tae a Bumble Bee

Wee hoverin’, fleein’ ferlie fello’,
Wi’ yer stripes o’ black and yello’,
Yer ever sae bonnie, so ye ur,
Like a spring lamb—only smaller and withoot the fur,
But see if ye ever sting me oan the bum again,
Ah’m gonnae jump on yer heid so Ah um.

—Stuart McLean (from No’ Rabbie Burns)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Water Lilies

27 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2010

The Dragonfly

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly on Lotus bud

27 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Dasher Dragonfly on Water Lily

27 06 2010

Serendipity! I was photographing this water lily at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens early this morning and was silently praying that any one of the myriad dragonflies buzzing about would land and pose for me. And it was so. Michael was talking with a woman by the water lily ponds near the park entrance and she mentioned that she and her husband visit the gardens often, most recently accompanying a photographer friend who had just gotten a new long and pricey lens. She said that he set up his tripod with his camera, attached the long lens to it, then turned his back. (You can see where this is headed, can’t you?). Off went the whole contraption into the shallow water lily pond—lens, camera and tripod! He immediately insisted everything was okay with the camera and lens. (I can just imagine I would say the same thing—not so much to calm my nervous friends, but more to keep from breaking down right there and sobbing!) Um, yeah…let’s hope he was right—-but I’m just not sure digital equipment can survive a dunk in a pond without needing some kind of intervention afterward.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Revisiting the Kenilworth archives…

18 06 2010

Next month, the lotus blossoms will be at their finest at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. And yes, I’ll be there once again (even though these lovely blooms choose to do their thing on the hottest day of the summer, year after year. Ah, well, no pain, no gain, right? Even for photographers! Here are some images I shot last year.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Re-post: Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

31 12 2009
Previously posted in July 2008—photographed at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. For more about the Halloween Pennant dragonfly, click here. Read photographer Bill Horn’s tips for photographing them on his Photo Migrations website.© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Early morning at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

23 07 2009

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

Click here to view images from July 20, 2008.

Click here to view images from July 22, 2007.

For more Kenilworth photos, click here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Kenilworth Collage 7232009





Re-post: On color…

10 07 2009

I promise I’ll have some new works posted by this weekend. Perhaps some new images of lotus blossoms from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens? Or maybe something from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden? I’ve been going through my oldest archives and have found this collage I posted two years ago that makes me really, really happy when I view it. I also love the quote. Hope you don’t mind the reruns!

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.” — Georgia O’Keefe, American Painter, 1887-1986

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

punchocolor.jpg

Check out my garden-photos-only portfolio at:

http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135





Re-post: My favorite dragonfly photos

9 07 2009

I photographed these two Blue Dasher dragonflies at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia, this time last year. These were both photographed in natural light without fill flash. You’ll get your best shots (of almost any subject, but insects in particular) on an overcast day.

Check out Eric Isley’s article, Dragonfly Photography 101, for great tips on capturing these beautiful insects, as well as David Westover’s (very detailed!) article on How to Photograph Dragonflies with Flash.

Today I discovered 5 min Life Videopedia, which features short videos on all sorts of topics. Check out this informative one posted by Go Wild TV on photographing dragonflies (love the photographer’s accent, too!).

Click here for a list of 326 short photography how-to films on 5 min Life Videopedia.

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I’m overdue for a field trip to Lewis Ginter (just about 1-1/2 hours away). I haven’t been there since April. Their Butterflies LIVE! exhibit is open (until October 11), so I’m sure that will be ripe with photographic subjects. Then again, I think the lotus blossoms are starting to do their thing at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (less than 30 minutes away). Decisions, decisions, decisions!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

See more of my photographs from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/spring-blooms-at-lewis-ginter-botanical-garden/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/04/19/glorious-day-at-lewis-ginter

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/how-can-something-this-beautiful/





My Kenilworth bounty

27 05 2009

The previous posting about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens prompted me to look through my photo archives. I’ve been to Kenilworth three summers in a row (and 100% sure I will do so again this summer). While I have posted on my trips to the gardens, I didn’t gather all of them into one collage until now.

If you’re in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area, be sure to visit the gardens, particularly in July. The main attractions are obviously the lotus blossoms, which bloom during the truly hottest time in our area (sigh), but I’m sure there are water lilies in bloom throughout the summer.

You can view my previous posts on Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens by clicking on the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/kenilworth-park-and-aquatic-gardens/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/kenilworth-gardens-7222007/ 

What a muse that place is!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

KenilworthCollage2





A Wilson Bridge Too Far

27 05 2009

Last Thursday I accompanied my friend Jeff to an office complex in Fairfax where five of his floral images are on display as part of the office decor. The woman in the top left photo with Jeff (below) is Sylvia Zuniga, who purchased the prints for the Fairfax Intelligent Office location.

The poppies were photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia, and the lotus blossom was photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

A few weeks ago Jeff shared an essay with me that he had written to accompany his photos for his entry in the Nature’s Best magazine photography contest last year. The essay was about one of our field trips to photograph the lotus blossoms at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. I’m sharing his essay here, along with a photo I shot of him in the garden.

A Wilson Bridge Too Far by Jeff Evans

The Plan: A Sunday morning trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. to photograph the sacred lotus, which is found in large numbers in the ponds of the gardens, not to mention dragonflies, butterflies, and other insects drawn by the water and plants such as milkweed which surround the ponds. Maybe even photograph a water lily or two. An early start would allow us to beat the crowd and have good light.

The co-conspirator: Cindy Dyer, good friend, head of the neighborhood garden club (fondly dubbed Head Weed), and excellent photographer.

The Route: Easy enough—the Beltway from Springfield across the Wilson Bridge to 295 to Douglas to Anacostia Avenue to the park. Easy-peasy. And early on a Sunday there would no reason to expect much traffic.

Jeff@KenilworthBut this day…this day fate would not be a kind mistress. This day she would reveal the capricious nature of her temperament, the kind of day where she seems to channel the spirit of Ghengis Khan…and Conan, and acts as if the greatest joy in life is to crush her enemies, to see them fall at her feet—to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. And this day we were the enemy. Woe unto us.

Because you see, the Wilson Bridge was scheduled for an opening that morning. And not just any opening, but an opening for a ship no doubt named “Slow As Molasses On a Cold Day.” We sat on that bridge, on the bridge mind you because of how close we had been to making it across, for at least 45 minutes, as the sun moved higher in the sky, and the light grew harsher. Woe onto us.

And then, safely parked in the parking lot at the park, I hear myself saying, “you know, the breeze feels really nice.” Doh. Double Doh. You appreciate the power of even a light breeze on photography when faced with flowers and leaves big enough to seem to want to act as living kites and float away into the sky, that seem to want to dance like teenage girls at a Ricky Martin concert. Oh, the gnashing of the teeth and the cursing of the Powers That Be. Woe unto us.

But hey, you play the cards dealt you right? And I had brought a secret weapon, an artifact so powerful that it might transcend the fickle will of Fate. A light, white, plastic artifact that puzzled some and earned startled exclamations of appreciations from others. A step stool, about three feet tall, to maybe help me get a little better perspective on both lotus and lily. Tall folks looked at me like puzzled dogs hearing a high-pitched noise. But short people knew. They understood. And thus armed, the battle was joined.

I don’t know if I won the war, but I at least won a skirmish or two. Got a punch in here or there. They’re there, on the enclosed CDs, in high-def and low-def. Take a look and know–-I fought the good fight. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Jeff “Blood and Guts” Evans

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

JeffInstallation





Worth standing in the July heat for…

20 07 2008

While the sunlight was just too intense to photograph the Lotus blooms at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. this morning, I had a great time (often in the shade, as you might imagine) observing and photographing the dragonflies near the visitor’s center. I got my best results using a 150 macro lens on my Nikon D300.

I just found a great online resource for identifying dragonflies. It’s the Digital Dragonflies Catalog, by Forrest L. Mitchell, and sponsored by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. If I go on the assumption my dragonfly is a Skimmer, then I would click on the photo opposite the “Libellulidae” box and find one that looks like it. (I haven’t found one that matches it yet). Any takers?

Another good online reference is Mangoverde Dragonflies.

Whatever kind of dragonfly it is, it was certainly a great model. Even when startled enough to fly away, it always came right back to this spot. I think I shot well over 100 views (let’s blame my photographic delirium on the heat, shall we?). His (her?) stripes were a beautiful metallic rust-red and shimmered in the sunlight. Every shot I got shows a different position (tail up, tail down, tail straight up, just landing, flying off, etc.). He pulled out every trick in his bag and I recorded every one of them! This is one of my favorites. And, as always, a special prize (honest!) to the first person to correctly identify (with supporting evidence, of course) this beautiful dragonfly!

UPDATE, JULY 24: While photographing the American Horticultural Society’s National Children & Youth Gardening Symposium on the University of Delaware’s campus this morning, I thumbed through a book on butterflies and dragonflies written by author Jane Kirkland, who was the dynamic and wildly entertaining keynote speaker at the opening session. The first page I flipped to had a photo of this exact dragonfly! Thanks to Jane’s book, I now know this is a “Halloween Pennant” dragonfly. This was an omen that I had to own the book, so I bought it and had Jane sign it for me! Jane created a field guide for teachers entitled, “No Student Left Indoors,” and she is also the creator and author of the award-winning nature discovery books— Take a Walk Books. You can read Jane’s blog here. Jane has also appeared on Animal Planet TV and PBS.

For more about the Halloween Pennant dragonfly, click here. Read photographer Bill Horn’s tips for photographing them on his Photo Migrations site.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.wordpress.com





Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

20 07 2008

Bright and early this morning (too early), Michael and I headed out to photograph the sunflower fields at the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD, then headed over to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to photograph the Lotus blossoms. We first learned about the sunflower fields from my friend Nanda, who went to see it after reading about it in the Washington Post here. We’ve gone the past two years and have gotten there either before the blooms appeared or too late in the day when they’re spent and facing downward. This year, thanks to advice via e-mail from fellow blogger and local photographer Patty Hankins, we finally got to photograph the flowers at their peak! (Patty shot some really beautiful images; you’ll see them on her blog). I’ll be posting the sunflower photos later.

After an hour and a half of photographing sunflowers, we headed to Kenilworth in Washington, D.C. And once again, we arrived during the Annual Waterlily Festival and the Lotus Asian Cultural Festival (I thought it was next weekend). Since it was later in the morning than we had expected to get there, it wasn’t the optimum time for photographing Lotus blossoms because of the harsh sunlight. Despite that, photographing the myriad dragonflies ended up making it well worth the trip anyway!

To see the Lotus blossom images I shot at Kenilworth in 2006 and 2007, click here and here.

Here’s an article from the Washington Post about this “oasis in the city.” If you’ve got the room (and the pond!) to grow these beautiful flowers, read these growing tips from Doug Green. And take a look at Patty Hankins’ Lotus blossom photos and glean some great photography tips on her blog here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.