Nichols Arboretum Spring Walk

“Down a Lovely Woodland Path”
A refreshing morning walk at Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Michigan during mid spring when all was lush and green!
“Rhododendron Path”
This area of Nichols Arboretum with the gorgeous rhododendron bushes is one I often seem to miss each spring because of the short blooming season, but this year I was able to enjoy the full range of blossoms and colors!
“Rhododendron Bushes Abloom”
Spectacular deep vivid and light pink rhododendron blossoms on beautiful spring day at Nichols Arboretum!
“Rhododendron Blushing Beauty”
Soft and subtle pink rhododendron blossoms hidden in the shade!
“Orange Rhododendron in Hiding”
This image is a personal favorite. The deep orange hues of these blossoms and gorgeous greens of the foliage were just amazing this year and I was so happy that I could capture it

After quite a bleak winter and early spring of 2020 I thought I would bring you some beautiful, colorful, and relaxing images. I have stayed home almost exclusively for many months now, and will continue to do so, but I was able to venture out on a handful of occasions into local nature areas and these are just some of the refreshing and happy moments on my walk in Nichols Arboretum during late spring.

I wish for all of you around the world the peace and strength to get through this difficult time and I hope that some time in the near future things make a huge change for the better!

Happiness, Health, and Much Love to All!

“2015 My Year in Review”

Here we are at the end of 2015, and what a year it’s been! As I’ve done for the past four years in a row, I am posting my favorite images of this past year. Not necessarily the best, but my personal faves. It was hard to narrow it down to only ten, but I finally did after a lot of going back and forth. These are not in any particular order and are of several different subjects. I hope you enjoy them! If you would like to look at my 2014 year in review you can check that out here. Best of 2014

Jim Goldstein in his Blog Project has hosted the year in review or top 10 images on his blog for a number of years, and I always look forward to it!  There are photographers from all around the world with amazing images! I hope you’ll check out his blog and take a look at the wonderful array of photographers and gather inspiration from their images! His post should be up in the early part of January 2016!

"Kayaking at Miners Falls" Gorgeous blue waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in summer!
“Kayaking at Miners Falls”
Gorgeous blue waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in summer!

 

"Great Lakes Autumn Waves" A beautiful and windy day on Lake Superior near Munising in autumn!
“Great Lakes Autumn Waves”
A beautiful and windy day on Lake Superior near Munising in autumn!

 

"One Very Fine Day" This was a fabulous day in Marquette Michigan on Presque Isle Park!
“One Very Fine Day”
This was a fabulous day in Marquette Michigan on Presque Isle Park!

 

"Life is But a Dream" This was one special sunset on Lake Michigan! The waters were like glass, and the whole world seemed alive with the colors of sunset. There were several people kayaking and canoeing on the smooth water! Dreamy!
“Life is But a Dream”
This was one special sunset on Lake Michigan! The waters were like glass, and the whole world seemed alive with the colors of sunset. There were several people kayaking and canoeing on the smooth water! Dreamy!

 

 

"My Sweet Lady" This year was a great year for peonies! I particularly loved this huge specimen!!
“My Sweet Lady”
This year was a great year for peonies! I particularly loved this huge specimen!!

 

"Grape Hyacinth"2 One of many beautiful Grape Hyacinth this spring!
“Grape Hyacinth”2
One of many beautiful Grape Hyacinth this spring!

 

"Beautiful Cedar Falls" I had the opportunity to go to Hocking Hills in Hocking County Ohio this summer. The many waterfalls in the location and the amazing rock formations were wonderful! The summer was a dry one, so the water flow wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but it was beautiful to me anyway!
“Beautiful Cedar Falls”
I had the opportunity to go to Hocking Hills in Hocking County Ohio this summer. The many waterfalls in the location and the amazing rock formations were wonderful! The summer was a dry one, so the water flow wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but it was beautiful to me anyway!

 

"Afternoon in Shades of Gray" This scene in late fall with a beautiful snow just begged for black and white processing!
“Afternoon in Shades of Gray”
This scene in late fall with a beautiful snow just begged for black and white processing!

 

"Sweet Potato Mash" I had a year with a lot of motion blur abstracts, and this is one of my favorites!
“Sweet Potato Mash”
I had a year with a lot of motion blur abstracts, and this is one of my favorites!

 

"Song of Light" A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass! One of my favorite bokeh- nature abstracts this year!
“Song of Light”
A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass! One of my favorite bokeh-licious abstracts this year!

 

As we end this year and head into 2016, I’d like to wish everyone and their families all the best in the New Year. I wish you all good health, good times, plenty of adventures and family to enjoy it with!

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.  ~ Edward Abbey ~

“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

 

 

“Afternoon in Shades of Gray”

It was a dark and dreary afternoon when suddenly a light appeared from behind a………………..

"Afternoon in Shades of Gray"   A  wonderfully moody  black and white version of  "On a Golden Afternoon"
“Afternoon in Shades of Gray” A wonderfully moody black and white version of “On a Golden Afternoon”

Well, actually it wasn’t quite like that, but it sounds good! 😉

This past weekend we got our first real snow of the season. It’s funny how this whole autumn has been. First it has been much warmer than usual, second the fall color came in and left much differently than in previous years. There were even a few trees with color still left on them, at least until the snow came along!

On this occasion I went out in the late afternoon to have a look at what I was hoping would be a winter wonderland. I didn’t quite find that, as some of the melting had already occurred and also wind had blown quite a bit of the snow off of the upper areas of the trees and branches. Still though, there was some snow left still clinging to the trees, and plenty still on the ground! I think we had gotten about eight inches total.

I made this photograph you see below (as well a a few others) in the few short minutes before sunset. The sun came out from behind the clouds just enough to illuminate areas of the trees and give a golden cast and brighten the snow!

After processing the image below, I decided to process it again into a black and white, or really a shades of gray version and see how I liked it. Well, I liked it a lot! See what you think.

"On a Golden Afternoon"  Beautiful golden light on a snow laden landscape, just before sunset.
“On a Golden Afternoon”
Beautiful golden light on a snow laden landscape, just before sunset.

 

Do you prefer this photograph in color or black and white?

 

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“Peonies at Nichols Arboretum”

I’d like to share with you one of my favorite times of year at Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The time when The Peony Gardens come to life!

In early June, depending on the weather, these beautiful show stoppers begin to make their appearance. For the next couple of weeks you’ll have the opportunity to stroll through and enjoy these gorgeous peonies!

Below you’ll find a few of my images of the Peonies at Nichols Arboretum with a brief description underneath.

I have many more photos of peonies of every variety in my online galleries if you’d like to take a look!

Flowers and Wildflowers

and even more images at: Flowers

"Dusted in Yellow" Beautiful red peonies with a large golden center, fully opened to the morning sunlight!
“Dusted in Yellow”
Beautiful red peonies with a large golden center, fully opened to the morning sunlight!

"Nestled Peonies" A lovely group of pink peonies nestled within their green foliage!
“Nestled Peonies”
A lovely group of pink peonies nestled within their green foliage!

"Pink Sorbet" That's what this gorgeous puffy and full blossom reminds me of. I also love the mottled pink color, not found in other peonies that I've seen before!
“Pink Sorbet”
That’s what this gorgeous puffy and full blossom reminds me of. I also love the mottled pink color, not found in other peonies that I’ve seen before!

"Ahead of the Crowd" Lovely light pink and peonies with ruffled petals against a background of white peonies!
“Ahead of the Crowd”
Lovely light pink peonies with ruffled petals against a background of white peonies!

"Peony Garden Stroll" Some peony admirers strolling through the Peony Gardens at Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor Michigan!
“Peony Garden Stroll”
Some peony admirers strolling through the Peony Gardens at Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor Michigan!

I hope you enjoyed this stroll through a very special place, and time of year! A morning of Peonies at Nichols Arboretum!

“Robert Frost in Michigan”

One of my favorite poets of all times is Robert Frost. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might already know that! 😉

Frost wrote so many wonderful poems, my favorite is “The Road Not Taken”.

Most people associate Robert Frost with living in and being from New England only, but what you might not know is that he also spent a bit of time in Ann Arbor Michigan, and loved it!

In 1921 Frost accepted a 5,000 fellowship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He once said to a friend of his “I like Michigan people and I like Michigan”.  He stayed in Ann Arbor at the University lecturing, attending receptions and arranging poetry readings with other American poets of the time, and meeting with groups of students.

He used to love to wander the streets of Ann Arbor at night when he couldn’t sleep, which was often because he suffered quite badly from insomnia. On one of those walks he found a Greek Revival House that he thought was “charming”. This house which used to be in Ann Arbor on Pontiac Trail became his residence while here. The house was later moved to preserve it’s history and is now located at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan.

This is the house as it looks today at Greenfield Village:

"Robert Frost House"
“Robert Frost House”

 

Frost wrote two poems during his stay in Ann Arbor.  The first one is:

SPRING POOLS

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

“Spring Pools”  captures the natural rhythm of seasons in transition with flowing water and reflections as well as the transformation of  flowering tree buds to the deep dark green foliage of the summer woods.

"Time to Reflect"
“Time to Reflect”

 

This poem was written around the time he had a bout with the flu. He took to writing at that time for three full days. He stayed in this house  by a roaring fireplace on the couch and wrote, quite enjoyably to his hearts content!

In a conversation with Edward Latham a number of years later, Frost recalled the circumstances of that writing: “I lived out on Pontiac Trail then. One night I sat alone by my open fireplace and wrote Spring Pools. It was a very pleasant experience, and I remember it clearly, although I don’t remember the writing of many of my other poems.”

In the 1920s Frost became quite a well known figure in Southeast Michigan. He lived in this house from about 1924 through 1926.

I mentioned before, that he wrote two poems while in Ann Arbor. The other poem is called “Acquainted with the Night”, which I won’t insert into this post right now. I might bring that at another time with an image that reflects his words.

Robert Frost did also mention that He felt as though he did some of his best and most creative writing while in Ann Arbor!

I personally think that is really awesome!! 🙂

 

“Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Bloom”

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens are part of the University of Michigan system located in Ann Arbor Michigan. They contain beautiful botanical gardens, lovely wooded and open natural areas with loads of trails, wetlands and also several habitat areas for research. There is also a conservatory which is open all year round. Which we certainly need here in Michigan!

During the summer months though, everything comes to life in vibrant color!

I originally planned to talk about the many varieties of plants and flowers in this post, some wild, others cultivated. Instead I decided do that in another post, especially with the large amount of images I made.

When I began processing some of the many images from the gardens, I felt compelled to work on these that you see here, first.

Let’s start with the physical entrance to the main flower garden. A beautiful metal gate. I have photographed it previously, but this time I decided to take only a part of it. Instead of the focus being on the gardens behind it, the focus shifts to the gate itself with only a reference to what lies beyond.

Also while processing just a few of the images, they seemed more abstract in nature. Very colorful, lots of bokeh. Some peaceful, some even a bit chaotic.

I tried to get an ID on the maroon colored flower, and wasn’t able to. There were no markings there as to what it was, and after many Google searches I finally gave up. If anyone has an idea I’d be happy to hear it!

So for now enter here at the metal gate, and take a different look at this main garden which is brimming with summertime color. We’ll start with just a few images today.

Enjoy!

"Through the Garden Gate"
“Through the Garden Gate”

-Purple Coneflower Dream-  800x600
“Purple Coneflower Dream”

"Illumination in Yellow"
“Illumination in Yellow”

"Sunlight on Maroon"
“Sunlight on Maroon”

“Rockin the Gingko”

 

Beautiful golden ginkgo leaves create a carpet on the ground!
Beautiful golden ginkgo leaves create a carpet on the ground!

 

“Cascading White” B&W

While doing some botanical photography recently I took a quick stop at the orchid section of the conservatory before heading to the desert climate area for some succulent images.
I thought I’d like to process these orchids in a strictly black and white form, giving them more of a contrast. They really came out with what I feel is a contrast of darkness and light in a very literal sense!
On 500px I uploaded a very similar image, although not the same one, but in color if you’d like to take a look at that.
So if you’re having a dark and rainy today like we are, and want some some black and white drama, here’s the image for you. All we need is a little thunder and lightening to go with it! 😉

 Orchids in monochrome

Orchids in monochrome

“Summer’s Snowflakes”

In today’s post I thought I’d take us back to a little bit of summer delight ( I know, summer seems a lifetime ago for some of us) LOL! Enjoy a lovely and delicate image of the humble Garlic Chive in bloom!

Quite a large patch of this beautiful flower that I call the snowflake of summer was growing on the outskirts of a an herb garden last summer. I grabbed a couple of shots back then. This image is the color version , but I also created a monochrome version, which while beautiful, didn’t seem quite right for today’s post.

As I gaze out my window while writing this, I see a single sign of spring. The grass is getting greener, but other that that, the north winds are blowing quite strong, and a cold front is here! Our temperatures have dropped like a rock! Who knows, there might even be a stray snowflake or two later in the night.

But for me, I can always look at a snowflake of a different kind. One that evokes the scents and feelings of a light and warm summer’s day. Maybe you might also be in need of a little bit of soft and beautiful summer feelings! If so take a look at this image, then close your eyes and imagine the scent of green plants, a field of delicate white flowers. The sound of birds chirping, and butterflies flitting from one flower to another. Take a deep breath, then exhale slowly.

Are you relaxed now? If not, then try it again. Just remember summer isn’t far off……… oh yea, I forgot, we have to get to spring first! 😉

Anyway, It will be here soon enough, for now though I’m wishing everyone a warm (even if only on the inside) , safe, and wonderful spring weekend!! 🙂

-Summer's Snowflakes-

“Bridging the Huron”

During the day today, I spent many hours, as a lot of you have, watching the news about the tragedy that happened at the Boston Marathon. Following the news events on twitter which come out even faster, and watching in horror as more and more images, and information of this sad day evolved!

I want to send out my thoughts and prayers to all those people, their families, and their friends that have been affected by this days horrific events! I want to send you my best wishes, hope for better days to come, and healing to begin!

I thought I’d also take the time to express some other thoughts that I have in my mind. The way I see it, all of us on this big beautiful planet are brothers and sisters of each other. We are here to take care of each other, and to take care of this amazing planet earth and everything on it, that has been given to us as a trust.

Today’s tragic event in Boston is another one in a long line of so many injustices that have happened or are happening in cities and towns around this nation, and also around the entire world.

There have been so many recent horrific events in our own country that have happened to totally innocent people, like what happened today in Boston. This is a very sad fact!

What many people don’t realize or even think much about though, is that there are so many people around the world in other countries that are suffering beyond anything we can possibly imagine. They are being tortured and killed by their own governments. People in countries that are completely oppressed by outside forces. Whole nations of human beings that are held hostage by the raving madness of one man in charge, or by their own countries government officials.

My wish for all of us here in this country and for everyone in the entire world is to bridge the gaps we have between each other. Join together for the sake of humanity. Be brothers and sisters to each other. No matter the continent, the nation, the language, the religion, nor the color of our skin.

Extend our hands out to each other, cross the bridges and come together as human beings to help overcome the injustices that abound both here in this country, and around the world.

I see this image below of a bridge across a river as the bridge we can use to cross and join forces with each other, for the good of all mankind!

I see the reflections in the water as the reflections of life. Reflections of different people’s lives from all around the world.

The colors of the foliage in the many trees represents the colors of skin, the different religions, the beauty of the worlds languages, and all other differences you can think of.

We are the world. We are beautiful! We can work together to help solve the problems of humanity, even if it be as little as one leaf at a time. One word of comfort, one hug, one beautiful photo, one kindness.

We are not lost, it is not too late! With each adversity we have the ability to become stronger and closer, but we have to also try to bridge the gap of ignorance that exists, and embrace the beauty of the people and countries in this wonderful world around us!

I extend my hand, my heart, my prayers and my thoughts to all those who are suffering both here, and around the world tonight, and in the future!

This image is called “Bridging the Huron”, but for tonight I think it shall be called “Bridging the Gap”

Bridge across the Huron River during autumn!
Bridge across the Huron River during autumn!