Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Little Dreaming & More Fiddling with Camera Settings

I've been gathering photos for my upcoming shade gardening presentations. I'm amazed at how many photographs I have no recollection of taking - unlike the days of film when I could probably tell you what I was wearing when I took each shot. Maybe it's because so many of them are done in such a mad dash, or there aren't any other senses involved. Maybe it's because I just do a quick scan when I come back in the house - deleting the garbage and then leaving the rest until I need them. (And, no it's doubtful it's drink - most of them are taken before breakfast.)

Anyway, I'm glad there are lots to choose from - and certainly enough to show people how plants will develop throughout the season. Nothing like choosing some perennial based on its two-day bloom period when you have a small garden to be left with a big scruffy mess for the rest of the year.

So, as you would suspect, it is still cold, still snow-covered and still January. So, spending hours reviewing green photographs has been a bit of tonic. Looking at all these plants, got me thinking, what would I grow if I could snap my fingers and have it so. And, this is what I've decided I would design my garden around (if it wasn't too cold, too dry, etc.)

A Gunnera - photo taken in Vancouver - isn't it fabulous?! If I can't have something, it might as well be big, lush and leafy.

Here's another snapshot taken in Dominic Botanic Gardens (part of Kew). Now, this we could do, if I had enough property and was willing to replant every year....but then I remembered this shot

taken at the Montreal Botanical Garden - quite a nice northern compromise - the hosta is Jade Cascade.

Enough of the green already - I've been playing with the camera settings again - to see if I can get close to capturing wintry scenes. It was a fabulous day last Friday - just above freezing - and no wind to speak of. The light was bright, but not too contrasty. It was down to Lake Ontario to see what we could see. The toughest part was trying to find the lake as it bled into the sky - there's a tendency to tip the camera when you photograph water - of course if you can't even see where the lake stops and starts, I suppose it doesn't really matter. Here's the photograph taken on Auto 1/800 second.
Here it is on snow 1/500sec & I must say - this is a better representation of how I thought this scene looked.
Again still on snow 1/500 sec. I'm liking this.

Automatic 1/800 sec below.

Automatic 1/800 sec.
Snow 1/640 sec - much better job of capturing the winter light on the water.

Ok - back to the Royal Botanical Garden - a chance to try out my new snowpants! It was cold -25C or so. Lathered up my face with petroleum jelly - supposed to keep skin from freezing and there's the fun bit where all the linty bits from your scarf stick to your face.
So, bright day, high contrast - and this time, I think I prefer the automatic settings - maybe it's that picture postcard blue colour I crave who knows.
Automatic 1/1000 sec.
Snow 1/800 sec.

Automatic 1/1000 sec.

Snow 1/800 sec. Although when I think of water colour paintings of winter scenes, they are more apt to be like this. Certainly gives the artist more range in the browns of the woods.

The wind was really up - taken on an automatic setting - not bad - but sky is definitely watery.
You cannot believe how good it felt to be in this sheltered area out of the wind.

The RBG is restoring the native habitats for many of the creatures that used to live in the marshes. To keep invaders out they use old Christmas trees as a barrier. They've been able to move the carp out of several areas and restore plant populations. The carp were brought in the ballast of the large ocean going freighters coming into the Great Lakes. The scientists were amazed once the carp had been moved out - and no longer disturbing the bottom of the marsh so that light could get through that seeds of plant species thought to be long gone were able to germinate.

A couple of hardy souls skating away.
And a Where's Waldo photograph of a Blue Jay.

Back to the car, with two quick stops - one to Timmies for hot chocolate and then back to Oakville, where we stopped to see this ice house. The gentleman who built this fine structure raised the American flag in honour of the inauguration of Obama. Note the curved window.
The door was a little over a meter high.

But once inside, it's high enough for Kevin who is 6'5" to stand.On the other side there's a special storm window to combat the prevailing winds.
Kevin asked what his wife thought as he went up and down the neighbourhood collecting snow. He replied, "He didn't care what either of his 2 x-wives thought. Chair, electricity, and radio, what more could a guy want?


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Barbara, I love the shots of the snow along the water! An an igloo, what fun. You are having just too much fun with all of your snow.
Thanks for the help with identifying the Towhee for me. I am excited about having them around the house and now I know what they are :).

Gail said...

Barbara, What a rich post...First as a new owner of a DSLR camera I am so interested in your photos and the settings. I am at the bottom of a steep learning curve and moving very slowly up the hill!

The plants~~ The Gunnera is stunning! Oh to have a big water feature and a Gunnera! Or to be able to grow the lovely hosta!

The icehouse is too fabulous...can't wait to show my husband.

Wonderful pst...Gail