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Well, I’ll leave that up for you to decide… 🙂

“Faith” (White Nemesia) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/5, 1/320s, -0.7EV, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser


“Hope” (Pink Herbaceous Peony) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4.5, 1/320s, -0.3EV, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser


“Love” (Dicentra spectabilis, Pink Bleeding Heart) Nikon D300, 260mm, F/5, 1/640s, -1.0EV, ISO 200


  1. Boy, it is very difficult to pick a favorite from these. I love them all.

    • Thank you, Mom! For me…I’m partial to the peony, but that should come as no surprise to anyone. 😉

  2. Oh, wow, my coment is first! 🙂 If I should choose then I choose the middle one because peonies are not easy for photographing at all. They are fragile, last only a day and usually are infested by ants which no one wants to bring home. Moreover this one has gorgeous yellow center which I never saw on peony. Excellent work! The other two are also great and sequence for them is no. 1 and then no. 3. Number 1 for clean composition, great colours and light. Have a wonderful end of the week!

    • Ha! Well, my mom actually beat you to it by a mere 60 seconds! 😉

      Thanks so much, Tomas! Your comments are very much appreciated! 🙂

      I love the peony, too, as peonies are my favorite flowers and since this one happens to also be pink, that makes it even better. The yellow center and the way it was lit was actually the reason I chose this particular bloom. I spent quite awhile getting the composition just right to encompass the feeling of ‘Hope’.

      To be honest, I’m a little disappointed in the first image as I had better lighting the first time I shot it but wasn’t happy with the composition and some distracting elements in the background. When I went back to correct those issues, of course, the lighting had changed and it was ‘flatter’. I waited another day, but Mother Nature hasn’t been cooperating! So, I did the best I could with what I had. I still may give it another go if these blossoms, in the cross configuration happen to stay a little longer.

      And, a wonderful week to you, too! 🙂

      • Now this is interesting. When I posted the comment I saw it as the only one in the list of comments, hmmm. I read some of other comment and I add my report that peonies were dissapointing this year :D, still it was the first time when I convinced myself to take some photos of them and I still hope that some of those photos will make it through my tough sort out process 🙂

  3. LOVE!!! 🙂
    (So glad your foot is OK, too! 🙂 )

    • Ha! You SURE about that Michaela?? 🙂

      Thanks, M. Yes, the foot is doing well.Definitely turned a corner this week and the x-rays on Monday show the bone is healing nicely. I’ve been out of the ‘boot’ for a week and using an ankle support brace and things finally feel ‘normal’ again. Bone won’t be fully healed for another couple of months so I will have to continue to be careful (“NO running”, said the orthopedist) but I am well on my way. Phew! 🙂

  4. Love the peony. My peonies were disappointing this year. I think I got about 5 or 6 blooms out of my four small bushes. And I firmly believe when we lose hope, we have nothing left to lose, so it is our greatest possession.

    BTW, I am excited to report – I’m sure to your surprise coming from me- I have many hydrangea buds this year!!! Yahoo! Can’t wait for bloom time.

    • Thank you, Karma! 🙂

      Yes, I agree. NOT a good year for peonies at all. However, my herbaceous varieties performed better than my Tree Peonies (only got a few blooms on those and they are usually COVERED). For some reason, even though I did get blooms on the herbaceous kinds, many ended up ended up being bleached out by the heat. It was like I had planted only white varieties! Very disappointing. This peony plant blooms later than the others and FINALLY showed some color. The light on it was just perfect. So, maybe we can ‘hope’ that next year is better! 🙂

      Woo hoo! I love hydrangeas as well and have planted two new varieties this year: Cardinal Red (a RED hydrangea…imagine that!) and one called ‘Blushing Bride’ which starts off white and then blushes pink. All my hydrangea bushes are LOADED with buds so I think it will be a banner year.

  5. Lovely shots! Very nice 🙂

  6. Nice, I am saying the greatest of these is ‘Love.’ Based on your title, is that how you see it?

    • Thank you, Mr. Jones! 🙂

      There isn’t a wrong answer here, but according to 1 Corinthians 13, the greatest would be ‘Love’. Now, I like the bleeding heart and all, but I truly love peonies. Maybe that counts? 😉

  7. What a great idea for a series, M.P. –
    and what a great looking series as well!
    Have I used great once or twice already?
    Because I feel completely justified in doing so!

    • Thanks, Inky! 🙂

      I seem to be doing these posts of ‘threes’ lately…hmmmmm

      You can say whatever you like but I suspect it is the anniversary bubbly that is talkin’… 😉

  8. Don”t make me pick!! They are all outstanding. If you MADE me pick one it would be the middle one. The lighting is to die for.

    • LOL! Okay, I won’t make you pick but since you succumbed to my demands anyways it really is a moot point now… 😉

      Thank you, Derrick. You are very kind. 🙂

  9. Oh gosh. I can’t decide. They are all stunning.

    But if forced to it, the middle one. The lighting is amazing and I love the delicacy of the petals. Plus that shade of pink is beautiful.

    • Thanks, Robin. You are very sweet. 🙂

      My heart belongs to PINK! 🙂

  10. I really like the isolation of the Bleeding Heart photo. Stands out as the best to me.

    • It was actually just that isolation that prompted me to take the photo in the first place. The last lonely heart, if you will. And I simply couldn’t resist the amazing backlighting.

      Thanks so much, Scott! 🙂

  11. Do really love the middle one myself, and the way the yellow really seems to glow… Was it naturally that bright, or did it require some “assistance”… 😉

    • Thanks so much, Bri!

      The way the blossom was lit, the center did have a lovely, natural glow. However, yes, I did do some dodging and burning to bring out that feeling even more for the center as well as the lighter areas of the petals.

      I’m sort of a purest when it comes to photo editing. I feel that dodging, burning and contrast changes are all acceptable since those are things that old-time photographers would do in a dark room. Do I sometimes play with the other photoshop tools at my disposal? Yep, but I do try to keep that to a minimum. There is just too much use of filters, etc., out there that it is becoming impossible to separate the true pros from the hobbyists.

      • Haha… Oh I know… I have to reign myself back in sometimes with the editing… But I do try to stick with the more “dark room” based processing techniques too these days, and try to retain a more natural feel… Occasionally I have a relapse though… 😉

  12. It’s all about the love for me! 🙂

  13. Lovely. I couldn’t begin to pick a favourite!

  14. Hands down -pink peony!

  15. All three are lovely, but the bleeding heart is my fav 🙂

    • Thank you, A! Not surprise…you are a soul exuding love… 😉

  16. I prefer the solitude of the bleeding heart. It’s so striking against the dark background. The lighting on the peony is fantastic.

  17. Hi Tracy,
    My goodness these are amazing!!!! The peony is pure perfection and the Bleeding Heart is the prettiest Bleeding Heart photograph I have ever seen!

    • Hi Carol! Your comments are extremely kind – thank you so much! 🙂

  18. I just love your peony photo, pink peonies are just….heavenly to look at, – and so sweet the little flower heart is, what brilliant photos.

    • Aw, thanks so much, Birgitte! You are always so very, very kind! 🙂

  19. A hard job to choose one of these brilliant photos. But OK – I think the second is my favorite – the colors and composition is so perfect.

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