March 20, 2011

My 2011 Resolution

The time for New Year's resolutions to lose weight and get better organized is long past, but I think the start of spring is the perfect time to make gardening resolutions.  It's the start of a new garden season, and some long standing bad habits must be addressed. Improvement is possible.  In fact, in earliest spring, all things beautiful and better are possible.

So, with careful thought and the hope that I can stick to it, I share my 2011 Gardening Year's Resolution with you:

I resolve to photograph my garden only in early morning and late afternoon.  I will put down the camera at high noon.

No more shots of jeweled blooms and glistening leaves washed out by the blast of a high sun.  No more hours spent photoshopping the exposure levels and manipulating the details I wanted to see because the shot is swimming in white glare.

Too bright! I hate explaining how pretty this caryopteris is if only you could see it better.

The caryopteris in lower light.
This is not so simple to do.  My daily routine involves a morning spent leisurely getting going, and my late afternoons and evenings have their own rituals.  It's mid morning when I get outdoors, and on a sunny summer day the light is too bright.  Like the deer who plague my yard, I am a little habit-bound.

But I can change.
GAAA!  Red is hard to photograph, but this peony 'Blaze' looks like plastic in the harsh direct light from overhead.  The metallic purple fireworks of 'Schubertii' alliums add to the eye hurt in such direct light.

I will have to rework things a little, but I am game to try.
  1. I resolve to keep the camera by the back porch where it will always be ready.  
  2. I resolve to get up, have my coffee and go outside (e-mail, facebook, the newspaper, and garden blog checking will wait). 
  3. I resolve to always keep a pair of boots by the back door so I don't get dissuaded by the fact that the grass is too wet to go out there.
  4. I resolve that the last tool I use in the garden at the end of the day will be the camera.  Then, and only then, I'll put the other tools away.
I don't aspire to be a great photographer, and I'm not much for macro shots of the private parts of flowers.  I just want to do justice to what I see out there and let you see it too.

That's my 2011 resolution.  If I can lose weight too, I'll be really happy.


  1. Laurie,
    Love your resolution. I struggle trying to take photos in the back garden in the morning and vice versa because of the house causing shade. High noon is killer to those photos unless it's really cloudy. Then, you might make it work.
    Looking forward to your awesome photos.

  2. I should adopt your resolution. I am too lazy to do the photoshopping if it is not for art's sake, so that part is out, but the early rising is a great resolution. Getting out there is the problem. Same with late afternoon, hard to find the time. I guess that is what resolutions are for, making the time.

  3. Ah, I see your husband has the art lingo down as well as the technique. Excellent!

    I have a lot of pictures taken in high glare too. If only I could get to sleep before 1 or 2 am... if only I didn't do a million other things before picking up the camera..

    But if you can do keep this resolution, you will inspire the rest of us. If not, well, there is a lot of glare in the midday sun, and that's how the garden looks at that time, and it's an accurate portrayal.

  4. Yes, high noon is a killer for photography! There are times when you just have to make it work - like last summer when the anole was eating the katydid...I made it work. Not the best shots, but it was too good a moment to let get away. Best of luck on your resolution. You're a determined woman, I have no doubt you'll make it happen ;)

  5. It sounds like a good resolution to me. I love to be out early and late. I usualy am chased inside by the heat of the day. Best of luck. We just won't mention the loss of weight that is always hagning over our heads.

  6. The sun's glare is just really topugh for a point and shooter like me - a cloudy day can be wonderful for getting good shots of difficult colors, like blue, white and hot pink. This time of year especially, should it ever warm up, I can't wait to get outside, because something will have happened overnight.

  7. Great resolution, and I am going to try to as well. Since I will be 24/7 at KG for 7 weeks, I should have no excuses. The weight though, that might be more difficult!

  8. Laurrie, I just know your resolution is going to result in some great shots of your beautiful garden....I had to learn the same lesson a couple of years ago, the ONLY way to really great those great shots is to drag yourself out of bed way earlier than you want to, and get out there :-) For me it was also a case of really spending some time studying the manual of my camera and figuring the settings for exposure/shutter speed...

  9. Old habits die hard... especially for those afflicted with OCD (or CDO - alphabetically).
    Good luck!

  10. Gardener on Sherlock, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one struggling with lighting outside!

    Donna, I actually like being outside very early, just need to get my lazy self out of bed. Your photos are always so great, I can't believe you don't edit them.

    Sweetbay, you're right about the reality of the garden at noon... that's how it really looks. But my camera (or technique) distorts the clarity and sunniness and makes it look so bad!

    Cat, thanks for the encouragement. I always love your photos, the quality is so great.

    Lisa, it really is best to hunker inside in the middle of a hot day and wait for the garden to cool back down later!

    Cyndy, I'm a point and shooter too, and it has to be simple, nothing fancy.

    Deborah, I didn't realize you would be north for so long... you will miss Barbados just as you miss Kilbourne Grove right now!

    Ellen, I am learning. When I look at the quality of some of my photos from four years ago, eeek. Not just lighting and time of day, but the composition was really poor then.

    Gail, so sorry about your affliction, thank god it has escaped this side of the family.... now go alphabetize your canned goods.

  11. A great resolution, Laurrie. I, too, take a little while to get going in the morning, and especially when dawn comes earlier and earlier, I find myself taking photos at absolutely the wrong time of day. I also resolve to take more long-range photos of my garden, not so much for blogging as for my own records--every fall I kick myself for not taking photos of all the empty spots where I intended to plant tulips. And...I'd like to lose a little weight along the way, too:)

  12. Laurrie I struggle with this too! I tend to take the mornings slowly and by the time I get outdoors the light is too harsh, and in July I found the heat is too much! I admire your resolve to change your pattern and hope to see many photos in the coming months.

  13. Rose, recordkeeping is a big advantage of taking a camera out into the garden. My photos really help me document what happened when.

    Marguerite, we'll see if I can really change my morning habits!


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