Cinderella’s Stepsisters

Never as dewy and fresh as that wretch Cinderella, the sisters tried mightily to capture the attention of a prince or lord. They dressed in their best red finery and decorated themselves with a fan for the sake of modesty. For this was the last dance before they became too old to be considered a good catch!

All the girls at the dance chose to don red that evening in an effort to be stylish.  Another color would be unfashionable. Nonconforming to good taste and sensibilities! Too brash. A girl in an unpredictable color cannot attract the attention of a quality suitor.

Drizella and Anatasia gossip.
Drizella and Anatasia gossip.

Oh, but pity the stepsisters.

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They may fit into society in a manner Cinderella can only dream about. Cinderella is pale, but she does not live in the shadows like her step-sisters. She may be weaker and smaller now, but her grace and value is evident. She will make a lovely bride!

(I bought the pink Turk’s cap on a whim a few years ago. Because I am full of whimsy. Whimsy, people. Anyhow, it’s totally a slow grower. Not particularly fruitful, either. I like to eat the berries. The pink varietal isn’t a good producer. But it is a different color, which counts for something in my dry shade garden.)

Gardens at Alcatraz

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I enjoyed learning about the gardening program prisoners back in the day at Alcatraz. And I’m glad that the current caretakers are continuing the tradition of beautification and protection of the tiny island

My challenge with these pictures was to combine the macro shots with a sense of location. Sometimes I shoot macro stuff just to show the detail of something. But this time I thought it was important to give a sense of the total environment.

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And here’s one shot to show the scene as I was interpreting it.

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Cosmos in Bloom

A few years back, I tossed some orange cosmos seeds in a bed out front. I’ve been collecting the seeds and spreading them ever since. I’ve now got a few yellow cosmos–mutants!

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I got a cool background in the next one by holding the flower still while the wind blew the other plants around.

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These are pictures I took while experimenting with creating dark backgrounds. I mean, sure. Unless there are enough stops between the foreground and the background, you can’t really get a super dark background. But, I wanted to see what the results would be like under different lighting situations than I had in my shade garden.

Continuation of yesterday’s lighting technique

Inland sea oats
Inland sea oats

I followed the same technique as yesterday’s Bloody Mary pictures to take some shots of plants in my front yard. It was a little more difficult to perform this operation in just sunlight as opposed to using an artificial light source in that I can’t control the sun.

I had to make sure there was lot of light on the item I wanted in focus and substantially less light on the background. And then I used a very fast shutter to make sure only the brightest objects were recorded clearly.

Pink Turk's Cap
Pink Turk’s Cap
Red Turk's Cap
Red Turk’s Cap

These native plants grow in the xeric shade garden on the east side of my house.

Fisheye Lens and Flowers

I took a trip with my kiddo this weekend. I asked him if he wanted to visit the mountains or the beach. He chose the mountains, so off we headed to El Paso.

For the first time ever, I rented a lens…a fisheye lens. Of all things! I wanted to see what I could do with the distortion that kind of lens creates.

I took the one below of a blooming palo verde tree in Concordia Cemetery. It’s not as in focus as I would like. To be fair to myself, this was taken the first hour I was working with the lens. I have to remember that this is all a learning process!

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I also tried out its capacity for close-up pictures of individual flowers. I really like how these turned out. You can see the whole background, but it is oddly blurry and bent. To me, it offers some interest to the background detail while keeping it from competing with the main image.

Ocatillo flower on the Franklin Mountains
Ocatillo flower on the Franklin Mountains

In one of my photography books, an author is bothered by the darkening of the corners of photos when using very wide angle lens. I find the effect sort of charming, like a vignette effect or something. It’s not something I would change in the editing process. Here’s an example of that vignetting on the upper corners of this picture of a globe mallow:

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And here’s another pretty flower from the Concordia Cemetery.

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Lilies at the San Angelo International Water Lily Garden

The garden was an enjoyable little stop. I was in San Angelo on business, so I had limited time to explore the town when I arrived in the late afternoon. If you have a little time while in the downtown area, I’d recommend a visit.

Slimes are plants, too!
Slimes are plants, too!

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It’s still too early in the season for most of the lilies at the garden. They said the garden is best visited in the heat of the summer.