Friday, April 06, 2007

Looking better

I've been frustrated by my inability to get good images of the garden, especially close-ups of individual buds or flowers, to include with the blog. Yesterday I e-mailed Pam, whose images at Digging I've admired (and envied) for months. I asked her some questions about what kind of camera she uses and for any other advice.

I was amazed to hear from her that she is using basically the same camera we have (a Canon Powershot A85). She made some suggestions about using the macro feature and about stabilizing the camera and the results, if I don't say so myself, are an immense improvement (and I've finally got the close-ups with the background out of focus that have been eluding me!). The thanks go to Pam, both for the inspiration to attempt to improve the images and for the encouragement to try to get the best out of my camera. Thanks Pam.

In addition to taking her advice, I spent some time with the manual (I've tried to parse it before but it puts me to sleep) and at the same time my techie husband went off to do some experiments that mostly involved increasing the resolution of the images we were shooting and changing the compression factor from normal to superfine.

The image at the top is the corner of the long L-shaped bed in the upstairs backyard; the pink rose is Climbing Pinkie, growing up through and spilling out of a steel teepee-like thing (I'm sure there's a name for it — tuteur?). Below is a cluster of Climbing Pinkie buds, with one bloom open; the plant is covered in bud clusters.

This is the first flower on the yellow columbine plant that the foundation crew had to dig up last spring when they were building the giant french drain through the garden. They positioned the drain so carefully that the columbine was the only plant that was disturbed and they dug it up and I've saved it in a pot ever since. I just got it in the ground this week and now it's flowering.

And these are the buds at the end of one of eight bloom stalks on the clump of red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora). I mention the number of stalks because last year it didn't bloom at all. Not one stalk. I was ready to dig the whole clump up (it's been in the ground for 12 years and I thought maybe it was too old to bloom) but now it's redeeming itself (although the salmon color of the blooms does clash with the pink roses on either side. Oh well).

And finally, this is one of many clusters of flowers covering the Anacacho orchid tree (Bauhinia congesta). I'm going to try to get a close-up of one of the unopened bunch of buds when the light is better later; they look like tiny bananas to me.


Pam/Digging said...

You're welcome, Susan. Your new close-ups look very nice. I especially like the one of the columbine. I can actually see the wrinkly "skin" of the flower, and I always enjoy a close look at those rocket shapes.

I'll look forward to more close-ups of your garden from now on.

sonia said...

Wow, Susan. Your close-ups look wonderful. I am so happy to see garden in all it's glory. I hope it holds up for your party. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I could say "Green Thumbs" but mine are being hidden until our beach addition is complete.

Robin said...

Susan,when I started reading about your asking Pam about her pictures I was hoping you would give the details. I love her pictures too. I am also learning how to improve my shots and attended a class last night. I love garden photography!