Archive for the ‘flower’ Tag

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?   4 comments


Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

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One evening, I was wandering around the garden with my new D600 and a sweet hunk of glass, the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, when Susan told me of a bee sleeping in a nearby purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), a plant with many uses not the least of which is… attracting bees.

Now, I don’t know what they put in that stuff, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen bees passed out after collecting a load of pollen. One time, we witnessed a bee waking up on a flower, stumbling around in a bit of stupor, then clumsily flying away to what we presume would be his home base.

Gardens are lovely because as you spend more time in the relatively confined space, you begin to focus in on little things that you might ordinarily miss. And if you sit long enough, nature comes to you, and you begin to recognize the patterns that individual creatures take through the landscape.

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Where Food Comes From (3)   3 comments


Where Food Comes From (3)
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Continuing on the theme of Where Food Comes From, we have a new subject for you to identify. Can you guess what this is? (* Answer below.)

We had been concerned about this plant over the winter, as it looked a bit gangly. But as this year’s new growth flushed in, the plant became much larger and fluffier just before sending out these beautiful flowers laced with various purple tones.

We don’t harvest the leaves of this plant while it’s blooming, but otherwise, we clip off the leaves, rinse and dry them, and then sauté or pan-fry them in butter and olive oil. (Okay, more butter than oil for this treat!) Don’t make them too dark, or they’ll get bitter.

After about five minutes, you take the leaves out of the butter and cool them on a paper towel. IF there are any remaining after we snitch them, we put the leaves on pasta, on salads, or any other dish that could use a come-up. It always surprises us when the toasted leaves make it to the plate.

* Somewhere on the ‘net, a woman asked what to do with all the excess sage she had growing in her garden. Someone else responded with the above idea, and voila… no more excess sage.

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This is another macro-focus-stack image, derived from five separate images taken at various focus points along the plane. Using Auto-Align Layers and then Auto-Stack Layers commands in Photoshop CS6 produces a good result with few artifacts.

Where Food Comes From (2)   5 comments


Where Food Comes From (2)

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Okay, so the identity of this one is a bit of a trick question, as it is not edible. What is it? *, and what is its relation to food production?

This plant, located in several places around our garden, has a large central tap root and huge, lush leaves. It puts out these delightful flowers ranging from purple to white, yet the plant does not reproduce via the flowers, as it is sterile. (Whatever you do, though, do not cut the tap root, or the plant will pop up everywhere!)

It is highly advised not to eat the plant, as it can lead to liver failure with its hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. However, with a country name of “knitbone”, topical application can encourage cell division leading to faster healing.

Why did we plant about ten of these big boys? Because the leaves make excellent, nitrogen-rich compost and fertilizer! The large tap root, which can extend dozens of feet into the soil, pulls nutrients from well below the surface, concentrating all the mineral goodness into their leaves and stems. Whether we add the leaves to the compost pile, drop them where they are, or make a “tea” from the leaves, this is one of the best forms of ‘free fertilizer’ for the other, edible plants.

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* Russian Comfrey (Symphytum × uplandicum)

This image is created from a focus-stack of eight images, with a Nikkor 105mm macro lens.

My Leaf – My Rules   16 comments


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In our garden, every visiting bee is a precious resource. It’s an interesting turnabout, since many of us were raised to fear their sting. Now, we encourage them in, give them a wide berth, and let them go about the business of pollinating the plants. No bees == No fruit.

This little guy was taking a break on some black bean plants, allowing me the chance to shoot from all angles. As I swung around for a front-on view, he kicked his leg forward to grab the leaf. I imagined that he was getting a bit possessive about it, so I deferred the closer shot and backed up a bit.

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Working the Wisteria   5 comments


Working the Wisteria

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While shooting the interior of the house featured in “Life Amongst the Ruins“, I noticed that heavy growth of wisteria had taken over the back of the house. With its vibrant color, I thought it would make a good subject against the backdrop of weathered wood siding. It’s a fascinating plant in that for a week or two each spring, the colors really pop. After the decline of the blossoms, though, it begins to resemble nothing more than an invasive vine.

It wasn’t until I was post-processing this image that I noticed a little visitor. If you look closely just above the vine, near the bottom of the first slat, you’ll see someone who loves the flowers even more than we do.

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Temporary Beauty   9 comments


Temporary Beauty

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In North Carolina, as well as in other parts of the south, azaleas in bloom are the harbingers of spring, not unlike farther north with the return of robins or the melting of snowpack. Unfortunately, the blossoms only seem to last a short while before they drop to the ground, leaving only green foliage for the remainder of the summer.

“Natural beauty is essentially temporary and sad; hence the impression of obscene mockery which artificial flowers give us.” — John Updike

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Too Loaded to Fly   10 comments


Too Loaded to Fly

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On another nice, spring day (not like we’ve had winter here), I found the local bees working on our new lemon tree. This little guy was so loaded down with pollen that he could barely lift off. He’d fly up, lumber around seemingly in slow motion, and then set back down on the flower.

What to do if your flight is delayed? Go back and get more, of course.

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Someone Left The Cake Out In The Rain   5 comments


A large, droopy sunflower just after a summer rain.

© 2011 Rob Hanson Photography, All Rights Reserved

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After one of our recent, infrequent rainstorms, we found this sad sunflower looking as though it had seen better days. She was much more vivacious when seen in Mwah! Air Kisses.

With its dinner-plate size and bright colors, it reminded us of the old Richard Harris song, “MacArthur Park.” It’s getting close to time for harvesting the seeds… only this morning, we found a squirrel hanging off of her, an unseemly end to such a beauty.

Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/60s, 24mm, f/7.1

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Waiting for Linus   4 comments


A small pumpkin sits below a blossom in our pumpkin patch

Waiting for Linus

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Sitting on one of the hay bales and sneaking outside the fence, we found this little guy. As Linus would do, we’ll continue to take care of the pumpkin patch, hoping for the arrival of The Great Pumpkin later in the year on Halloween night. To that end, we’ll try to keep the patch as ‘sincere’ as possible.

“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” — Linus Van Pelt

News:

Congratulations to Jim Nix, from Austin, Texas. Jim was the winner of the recent contest held on this blog, and for playing, Jim will receive a free copy of Topaz Lens Effects.

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Posted July 4, 2011 by Rob Hanson Photography in contest

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Mwah! Air Kisses   4 comments


A brilliant sunflower blows air kisses to the crowd.

Mwah! Air Kisses

Image © 2011 Rob Hanson Photography, All Rights Reserved

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In an adjunct garden just behind our deck, we’ve planted sunflowers, and their location allows us to come face-to-face with the tall plants. Our intent is to get to the seeds before the birds do. Uh-huh.

A recent rain played around with the fragile flower petals, and we found this one blowing a kiss to the audience.

I was surprised to learn that the onomatopoeic word, Mwah has actually made it into Webster’s dictionary.

Single exposure from Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/800s, 240mm. Photoshop CS5 and Nik Color Efex Pro

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