Thursday, October 30, 2008

Changing Light

Autumn sunlight allows the photographer to create truly unique images. In the northeastern United States, the golden hue the sun provides when it is low in the sky provides an incomparable warmth for pictures. This time of year is my favorite for capturing portraits.

Observe the effects of how this light highlights hair and boosts the glow of complexions. Mind how the light boosts colors and molds form.

Use the colors from nature to add interest to your backgrounds. Use a wide-lens aperture to take advantage of light and blur the background for softness and interest.

Shadows in fabrics and around facial features makes it seem as if you can reach out and touch the subject.

All seasons we must use directional light for the greatest effect. Light should be guided by a tree line, porch or other object. Light coming from all directions is less appealing, making the subject flatter and duller.

Light flowing through the garden and other natural spaces has the same affect on natural subjects as it does on humans. Now is a good time to take "portraits" of the season last flowers, leaves that are clinging dearly to trees, and other elements of the landscape.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From Sunlight to Warm Rich Color

I love this time of year, as the last of the early fall sunshine fades to warm rich color. New Hampshire is past its "leaf peeper" peak. Many of us live in New England to experience this transition every year. The last pink buds on my fairy rose are in bloom. The mums are beginning to dip and the asters are fading to brown. I bought a new perennial sunflower this year that has happily lasted well-beyond my intentions. Its flowers now kiss the ground under the weight of the cool autumn raindrops. The intense reds, yellows and oranges of the beeches and maples around my property are now a burnished russet, reminding me of the colors of warm baked pie crust or caramel apples from our recent harvests. These warm satisfying earth tones will soon be gone, replaced by bare trees and then white crystals. But, for now, I feel warmed inside by these rich colors. Pumpkins sit on stoops, waiting for kids to ring nearby doorbells for trick-or-treating in a few days. And then it will be time to prepare for my favorite holiday and I reflect upon how thankful I am that nature has given me this feast for my soul.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thinking Books...

I found this great quote while looking for ways to publicize my new book online:

"I was reminded of the neatest thing about writing a book in the first place: the author’s obsession, developed over years and often nurtured in solitude, finally becomes a shared point of reference through which readers can look anew at some aspect of the world."

While interviewing the gardeners for my book last year, I felt that I had learned to see the world in new ways. My love for gardening grew. I better understood my place in nature. I am excited to share my views and those of my new gardening friends with others. I set out to write a book with a positive spin that showed the peace we can find when we connect with nature. I hope that I have accomplished that and will help others look anew at their gardens.

Putting the Garden to Rest

The leaves are falling. I'm getting ready to buy straw to lay on the beds. Most of the vegetables have been pulled up and the garden is turned over. I'm clipping back perennials and doing some last bits of pruning on the bushes. Winter is on its way. Every year at this time, I reflect on my garden accomplishments of the past year.

I filled in some holes in the garden with new perennials. This will be a main focus next season as well. I moved my vegetable garden, but I won't know if this was an accomplishment until next year. The vegetables were sparse and tasteless. Was this due to the new location or the odd cool and rainy weather we had? I built a "fairy garden" with my daughter and the fairies brought us two presents -- a smooth pink marble and a small beaded necklace. (The excitement was palpable when my daughter discovered the gifts. I would say that building her love for the magic of nature is a HUGE accomplishment.) I moved a few bushes and grasses, making room for more healthy growth. I added a new garden that will eventually serve as a grand entrance to my back least that's how I envision it. And yes, I can't forget...I finally figured out how to successfully cultivate compost. But... I guess my biggest garden accomplishment was out of the garden. I finally published the garden book I've been working on for a year and a half.

So, do the accomplishments outweigh what didn't get done? I haven't finished the garden path I started to my daughter's reading garden two years ago. I have piles of garden rejects -- twigs and branches, whole trees, and other scraps -- that remain behind numerous garden beds, creating an eye sore. (Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised next year and have a great supply of compost beneath the brush!) A tree is falling down in my woods. I didn't even know where to begin with that and hope that maybe it's really on my neighbor's side and not mine. I look forward to watching the snow drip from it. The invasive weed I hoped was eradicated last year was back this year. I didn't give it as much attention is I ought to have and fear that it will be back in full force next season.

A gardener's work is never done, but now it is time to put it all to bed. In another couple of months I'll begin puring through catalogs again, making sure I've got all my notes about the gardens in order, and dream of new projects.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Gardener's Soul

Published at last! I've taken a break from blogging to finish up my now published book, "The Gardener's Soul: Nature's Path Toward Inner Peace." Information about the publication is available through Createspace, an affiliate of

I hope to be back to my garden blog on a regular basis! I've missed everyone.