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Tag Archives: Kousa Dogwood

I’m just getting around to processing the photos I took back in early July but surprisingly, this post appears to be rather timely. Afterall, one could say we are smack dab in the “dog days of summer” so why not think about dogwoods?

My white Kousa Dogwood did not disappoint and just like last year, I wanted to try to photograph the gorgeous blossoms in a unique manner, despite the fact that my once small tree is now enormous and the flowers are getting a little out of reach! (Oh, the difficulties of being vertically challenged… 😉 )

Good thing the branches are flexible and can be pulled down allowing my macro lens closer access.

I’m not one to let “sleeping dogs lie” so here, are my favorites:

“Dog(wood) Days of Summer” (White Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/6.3, 1/40s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser


 

“Top Dog” (White Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/5.6, 1/50s, ISO 640


 

“Wag the Dog” (White Kousa Dogwood Bracts, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/5, 1/160s, ISO 1600, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.0EV


 
Pretty, aren’t they?

However, before this summer “goes to the dogs” , I must “dog it” and get back to the pool where I am always “happier than a flea in a doghouse” . 😀

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I don’t typically post a yearly wrap-up but, Scott Thomas’ latest photo assignment, “Best Photos of 2011” had me looking back today. Hmmmm, was a pretty lean year for posting… I must do better in 2012! 🙂

To make it easier, I approached this task with the desire to select the best photo for each month starting with November 2010 through October 2011. Three months proved more difficult and I allowed myself to select more than one image.

Here we go! 😀

Back in November 2010, fresh from a trip to Disney, I had posted a series of photos from Hollywood Studios. The giant scrabble board complete with green army man was my favorite:

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (Oversized Scrabble Board with Green Army Man, Pixar Place, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 34mm, F/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200, ‘Poster Edges’ CS3 Photo Filter

In late December, we were hit with the first of many Nor’easters. Even so, the abundance of heavy, wet snow couldn’t put a damper on our holiday spirit!

Frosty

“Frosty” (Snow-covered Holiday Wreath) Nikon D300, 82mm, F/5, 1/60s, +0.7EV, IS0 200

I couldn’t pick a favorite from January. Both images hail from our October Disney trip since by then, I simply had HAD it with winter! (Molten Mickey post is here).

“Coquettish” (Lesser Flamingo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, -0.3EV, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro Bi-color Filter

“Molten Mickey” (Turn-style Gates at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 52mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, ISO 250, Nik Color Efex Pro Detail Stylizer & Bi-Color Filters

February brought some fun with my 105mm macro lens and 3-ring extension tube set. I wanted to see just how ‘up close and personal’ I could really get!

“Missing You” (Dianthus Stamen & Petals) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/11, 1/30s, -1.0EV, ISO 640

The macro fun continued well into March

“C is for Carousel” (Stargazer Lily Stamens, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D30, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/8s, ISO 1000

After a visit to the doctor in February got me back into a fitness routine, I was in serious need of motivation to ‘stick with it’. I found exactly that in April! 🙂

“Motivation” (Marc Jacobs Swimsuit) Nikon D300, 36mm, F/4.2, 1/20s, ISO 640

Critters are often featured in my photos and this adorable little chipmunk stole my heart in May:

“Home is Where you Make it” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 640, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash, -1.0 EV

June turned out to be all about flowers. I couldn’t decide between these three beauties:

“Yamaboushi” (White Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/200s, ISO 320, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, +1.0 EV

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

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

As a die-hard foodie, I love to cook and sometimes, I actually remember to take a photograph of my creations! We chomped on these delights all throughout July:

“Summer Cubed” (Watermelon, Mozzerella & Procuitto Bites) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/30s, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

Feeling very proud of myself for not only sticking to my fitness committment but also exceeding my expectations despite breaking my left foot, I decided to show off the results of my hard work in August!

“Good Form’ (Female Fitness Portrait) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Silhouette II’ Filter

Another entry for August… when I wasn’t sweating on the elliptical, I made sure to enjoy the summer sunshine and was rewarded with a unique photo of a bee in flight:

“Flight of the Bee” (Carpenter Bee in Flight) Nikon D300, 280mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 640

I got all ‘artsy’ in September with a series of cucumber tendrills…

“Undulation” (Abstract Cucumber Tendrils) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4, 1/320s, -1.0EV, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

…and finally was able to say a proper Au voir to summer in October.

“And the Sun Sets on Summer” (Rudbeckia ‘Gloriosa’ aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/7.1, 1/125s, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Photo Stylizer’ Filter

So, that’s it folks…a small photographic slice of 2010.

Yes, it was a VERY good year! 😀

As a gardener, I’ve learned there are a number of factors, many of which are completely out of my control, that influence how ‘good’ a growing season will be. Some years, I’ve seen off-the-chart clematis blooms while others, not so much. And it seems when one particular plant species is underperforming, sure enough, another will out-do itself.

For example, this year the peonies in my garden didn’t quite fair so well with less-than-normal yields on each plant and short-lived blossoms that faded quickly. However, in direct contrast, the dogwood trees are simply stunning! 🙂

Our tree is 12 years old and it is completely engulfed in flowers. It looks lovely by day as the sunshine strikes the white pointed bracts and ethereal by night, when subtly lit and reflecting into the dark water of the pool below.

“The Flying Nun” (White Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/1000s, ISO 320

The challenge for a photographer, especially one like myself who has been shooting flowers for more years than I care to admit 😉 , is to capture the beauty of nature in a unique manner. Type in ‘kousa dogwood flower’ in any internet search engine and pages upon pages of image results will display, many of them looking exactly the same. Sigh. Where’s the creativity, people??!

“Yamaboushi” (White Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/200s, ISO 320, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, +1.0 EV

So, I set out to shoot these beauties in a manner I’ve not seen before. I admit it took alot of walking about and much contemplation (studying backgrounds, lighting and camera angles) to achieve what I wanted. What I love about the first image is the way the light is cradled inside the delicate cup shape created by the white bracts, causing it to literally glow against the darker background.

What I love about the second image is the soft tones and curves that focus our attention on the true flowers (considered ‘ornamentally insignificant’) which are the small yellow-green inflorescences in the center. (Surprised? 😉 ) Those same bracts now appear as fluid as fabric, gathered and held together at the center by Mother Nature’s very own version of  ‘bling’.

All in all, a doggone good day for shooting an old favorite. 🙂

I waited all day for the weather to break. No such luck on this officialfirst day of summer. 😦

With no other choice, I donned the raingear and headed out into the wind tossed drizzle. The cry of a Catbird called me over to the suet ball feeder (which was completely empty, hence his incessant complaints) and happens to be right next to a White Kousa Dogwood. Well, okay then. There is as good a place as any to start.

I actually find the blossoms of the dogwood difficult to photograph. I’ve shot them ‘en masse’and ended up with images looking like nothing more than a white blanket of green polka dots. So, I searched out individual blooms that (a), weren’t damaged or discolored, (b) weren’t currently covered in bugs and (c), would be more interesting-looking than an overgrown, white four-leaf clover.

“Dogged by the Rain” (White Kousa Dogwood) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/4.5, 1/100s, -1.7EV, ISO 320, SB800 w/Gary Fong Lightsphere Cloud, -2.0EV

What I like about this shot is the angle, which takes the eye on a roller coaster ride (or, on a day like today, it’s more like a water slide), starting at the four red tips, down across the creamy-white bracts and back up to rest on the bumpy green center (which is actually the flower bud).

Anyone bring a towel?

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