After I left a rather gloomy comment on his blog, my photographer friend, David, whom I met at the Garden Writers Symposium, gave me a challenge. He suggested I go out, armed with my camera, to find color in what I thought was a barren winter landscape. Two days ago, the weather was cold, so I kept my foraging to 30 minutes like he suggested. Here is what I found. The first photo is a burst of evergreen: Magnolia grandiflora’s shiny emerald leaves. Can you see the tiny bud in the center? Call it hope of spring to come.
As David pointed out, even gray has its subleties. See the detail of the lichen on the trunk of this oak; a play of light and dark. If you look closely, there is even a bit of gold in the lower left. Gray field fencing fronts a red tractor wheel. You can just glimpse the Caterpillar yellow brush hog behind the tractor.
I also found Lamb’s ears growing in my garden unscathed by the snow and cold weather. I love the leaves’ gray-green softness, and the plant is a perennial favorite of my children. I hope I captured it with the camera.
As I puttered around our acreage, I noticed that closeups often yielded the best results. It was a matter of perspective. If I stood back and looked over the landscape, I saw mostly gray and brown. However, if I sharpened my focus, looking closely with the camera’s “eye,” I saw so much more. Soon, details I’d missed cropped up everywhere from sunlight through rose leaves, golden and bronzed, to the pink and gray granite hiding behind winter grass.
Now, dear readers, I suggest the same for you. Like Flylady says, tie on your lace up shoes, and go outside. You’ll get a little exercise for your body and your soul. Take your camera with you if you have one. In these gray winter days, try to find a little color for yourselves. If you don’t have a blog on which to post your pictures, print your photographs and hang them (framed or not) somewhere you will see them. A memo board next to your computer would be ideal. Also, if you have pictures from summer, print those too. Surround yourselves with beauty and remember to go outside (if you can) as much as possible. Natural sunlight wards off the winter blues. For those of you who have too many gray days, get a full spectrum light bulb and sit under it for 30 minutes a day. This helps too.
Thanks, David for helping me get some new perspective. I appreciate it. I only wish you lived here and taught photography (like your schedule would allow for that.) Garden blessings, everyone. I’m headed outside to ride bikes with Bear.
I do love the skill, intensity and integrity with which you attack an assignment, Dee. The images are awesome, and through them I feel I have an even better glimpse into the physical world around your home. Amazing how much beauty and goodness you can find in a half hour when that is what you actively seek. Thank you for sharing such a fun project, and for your kind words. BTW, I’m working on ways to make my schedule allow for some time devoted to teaching, and beginning to shape the outlines for a couple of different seeing/photographing workshops.
Again, Dee, awesome.
And PS to Kathryn: I went and saw your pictures made for this exercise too. They were a real treat. Loved the sliver of a yellow ball in the black and white dog’s mouth. Nicely seen.
David, your photography always inspires me. Woo-hoo on the teaching. Please come visit the prairie again if you can.~~Dee
Mr. McGregor's Daughter
How funny, I just went out in the garden today to take photos of my winter color. I had to do it today as the garden will be snowcovered again by the weekend. You have a lot of color in your garden, too. I don’t grow Lamb’s Ears, but whenever I see it, I have to touch it.
The Lamb’s Ears look really good right now. I don’t like them when they get all overgrown in the summer. I also don’t like the blooms, but their silvery foliage in winter is very nice. I’ll come by your place and see what you’ve posted.~~Dee
Hi, Dee! You did it! And very nicely. I especially appreciate the one of the path next to the trees. So inviting…This was a fun exercise!
Thanks. It’s amazing what different people see. Loved yours too.~~Dee
hello and thank you for gracing my little new blog here in France! I have great respect for all talented gardeners, especially those who have success with roses,but, really all plants! I will be moving to a new house nearby, where the garden is crying out for help almost as much as the house itself!
Also, I will venture out into Beziers, a hilltop city dating back to the Romans and also to the neolithic period of 4000-2000 years BC. Kind of cool to think man has been making a life here so very long ago.
Your photos are fabulous and I am thrilled to have a new connection within the blogosphere. One of the best aspects of blogging is the amazing way we are all interconnected,if we choose to be!
And yes, I love tongueincheek- her photos are to die for and she has a natural gift for writing. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Have a great winter day!
Betheanne, thanks for coming by. I’ll be stopping by your place again soon. It is fun to read about France when I’m here in Oklahoma. Yes, the links in the blogosphere are fun.~~Dee
Oh, wow what a great idea and beautiful photos in the bargain.
The last few days I’ve barely lifted my head except to see what else needed to be accomplished.
Probably missed seeing the beauty around me. When these tornadoes and storms pass ……
Martha, I hope your cleanup is finished, and you get to enjoy your surroundings.~~Dee
Hello from a fellow Oklahoma girl! I just came across your blog through BooMama’s. Great pictures – I like the detail!
Thank you for stopping by. Please come again soon.~~Dee