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Tag Archives: herbaceous peony

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

“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

When I wrote in my last post how I have a number of garden umbrellas to protect¬† my peonies from our unpredictable New England weather, I imagine some of you (and not just FS Photography) were thinking, ‘Of course you do.’ ¬†

I assure you, there is a method to my madness! ūüôā

Powder Puff

“Powder Puff” (Herbaceous Peony, Unknown Heirloom Variety) 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/11, 1/60s, +0.3EV, ISO 200

Aside from extending the life of the flowers, another advantage to the garden umbrellas is they act like large diffusers! This fact I noticed the other day while out walking the gardens. Had the umbrella not been in place, the light on this gorgeous blossom would have been too strong as it was just after high noon.


“Anthology” (Herbaceous Peony, Unknown Heirloom Variety) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/11, 1/160s, ISO 200

Now normally, I would prefer a bloom sans ant, but since ants have always had sort of this symbiotic¬†relationship with peonies it was time to give them their proper due.¬†There is a long running debate on whether or not ants are necessary for peony buds to open and¬†most likely the correct answer is, ‘No’, but I firmly believe that Mother Nature doesn’t do something for nothing.¬†

I think the¬†ants¬†are there to provide some natural protection against harmful insects and that is why the buds¬†secrete a sweet sap to attract them in the first place. You can believe what you like but I know, the years I’ve¬†seen ants crawling all over my¬†peony plants are the years I’ve enjoyed the most blossoms and the least insect damage.¬†

So, thanks little buddy! ūüôā

Spoken For

“Spoken For” (Chinese Garden Umbrella) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/10, 1/20s, ISO 400

New England spring weather is not kind to peonies! It seems every year just as the gorgeous blossoms burst open they are either prematurely withered by unusually high temperatures or a series of torrential downpours blow in melting them all away. Sigh.  

A few years back, after having enough of playing that game, I discovered some quaint, Chinese-inspired garden umbrellas specifically designed for peonies. Woo hoo! Now, my precious beauties are protected! ūüôā¬†¬†

I only have 5 umbrellas to service 20 peonies so fortunately, they do not all bloom at the same time.  

Under My Umbrella-ella-ella

“Under My Umbrella-ella-ella” (Herbaceous Peony ‘Raspberry Sundae’ w/Chinese Garden Umbrella) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/8, 1/200s, ISO 640, Color Efex Pro ‘Glamour Glow’ Filter

After taking the above shot, I wanted to achieve a different perspective so I naturally grabbed my 10.5mm fisheye and got low and close.

Mai Tai

“Mai Tai” (Herbaceous Peony ‘Raspberry Sundae’ Under Chinese Garden Umbrella) Nikon D300, 10.5mm F/2.8G Fisheye, F/13, 1/640s, ISO 400, Color Efex Pro ‘Glamour Glow’ Filter

Kinda looks like a giant¬†cocktail umbrella, don’t it? ūüėČ

My first photographic love will always be flowers and, if they are pink and they are peonies, well then, in my book that is a winning combination for sure! Good thing we are in peony season then, huh? ūüėȬ†

I particularly like the unusual perspective and backlighting of this gorgeous blossom. Deliberate underexposure created the dark background, while a gold reflector highlighted that wild yellow center which otherwise would have been lost in shadow. This ranks up there as one of my favorite peony shots. Ever. 

“Take a Bow” (Pink Herbaceous Peony, Unknown Variety) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/8, 1/200s, -0.7EV, ISO 640

So, there it is, folks. The final Project 365 image! ūüôā¬†

The concept seemed simple enough at the beginning…post (at least) one image every day for 365 days. Never could I have known the journey I would take!¬†¬†¬†

Here I am, 365 days (and 396 images)¬†later, the task complete.¬†Woo hoo! Elation abounds! ūüôā¬†¬†¬†

Will I stop? Yes and no. I will not commit to posting an image every day for a year. Been there, done that. I¬†firmly believe projects need a finish, otherwise, what’s the point?¬†¬†¬†

However, I have found that I do love posting my images and writing stories to go along with them, so I will be continuing with the blog. Hooray! ūüôā I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the people I have met along the way and am especially grateful to the ones who took the time to comment and encourage me to be a better photographer than I was.¬†You guys are awesome!! ūüėĬ†

As I look back over the year, I can clearly see that my skills have grown by leaps and bounds from that first day. I have become quite comfortable with¬†all the equipment¬†I am fortunate to own and I have been pushed to go beyond my comfort zone.¬†Yes, there have been lows but more often, there have been highs. I couldn’t be happier with the body of work I’ve been able to create!¬†

My goal for the blog from this day forward is to continue posting images and commentary a few days¬†a week. (To stay in the loop,¬†I highly recommend subscribing to receive notifications of new posts via email). Creatively, I need a break and I want to get back to the days when shooting is something I consider fun and not a requirement. I’ve learned I need to find a happy middle ground.¬†¬†

I hope you all continue to follow along, continue to inspire me with your images and continue to tell me what works and what doesn’t. Without you, I’m¬†merely a girl with a camera and no purpose. What’s the fun in that? ūüėČ

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