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!

A Taste of Spring

As winter is nearing its end I am looking forward to spring wholeheartedly! I thought I’d bring you just a little taste of late spring from last year. These images were all made in and around The Royal Botanical Gardens near Hamilton, Ontario. Honestly I could spend hours a day in each of the many garden areas they have! These images are just a few to give you a jump start on your spring. I hope they give you a feeling of happiness!

“Rock Garden Peace and Beauty”
"Follow the Reflections"
“Follow the Reflections”
“Finding Our Way”
“Orange Poppy Twirl”
“Light Pink Peonies in Sunlight”
“Pink Peony Cluster”

I wish you all a very happy end of winter as we head into warmer and more colorful times!

“Forever and a Day”

Well, it sure feels like forever and a day since I’ve posted. Sorry about that guys! Its been a busy past several months! Plenty of it was spent traveling.

I thought I’d share just a few images from this past spring till now. I won’t go into great detail in this post, but each photo has a little info about where and when it was made. Enjoy!

A beautiful combination of sunlight, fog, and clouds in The Blue Ridge Mountains during early May!
Gorgeous Irises later in May. A stunning array of them at The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario!
One of my favorite sunrise images of this year so far. This one was along the shores of Lake Ontario!
During early summer, enjoying a rainy day at Tew Falls near Hamilton, Ontario!
A wonderful late summer morning in Marquette, Michigan along the shores of Lake Superior!
I never tire of the beauty to be seen at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, Michigan!
A stunning late summer view through the flowers as you come up to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan!

As we head rapidly into the autumn season I hope you’ll have some time to get outdoors and enjoy the cooler days and changing of the leaves!

“Summer’s End in the Country”

Today is the first day of autumn and in SE. Michigan it sure has come in with strong gusty winds! We even had a few trees and tree limbs down in the area.

I wanted to share with you a few images that were made in these last days or weeks, a bit of summer’s end in the country!

It was a hot summer here and I’m sure ready for a change!

Bring on the cool weather and brilliant leaves!

 

“Gentle End to Summer”
Days last light over a rural cornfield as summer heads into fall!

 

 

“The Path Taken”
Late summer days walking through paths surrounded by goldenrod!

 

“Summer Sunflower Bounty”
Enjoying abundant sunflowers in late summer!

 

‘Country Road Sunset”
Heading home into a brilliant sunset on a back country road!

I just happened to be heading home when the sky lit up just before the sun dipped down. Of course I had to pull over.

The days will be getting much shorter really soon, and not long after that, sunset will be accompanied by snow on the ground.

Enjoy these days of fall, and remember fondly summer’s end!

Happy autumn to all!

 

 

“Best of 2017”

This year has gone by really quickly. So much so that I didn’t think I would actually have time to get together my usual end of the year post. These ten images are my personal favorites for the year, or my “Best of 2017”.

This is the 6th year that I have done a “Best of” at the end of the year,  and I would like to thank Jim Goldstein for graciously hosting the Best Photos Project each year. You can check out mine and many many other photographers end of the year posts on his blog!

If you would like to see my “Best of” for 2016, you can find that here.

Also if you’d like to go back to 2015, you can check that out here.

“Silo Sunset’
One of my favorite sunsets of this year!

After a very stormy spring day in SE. Michigan I was happily surprised by an amazing array of clouds as they moved quickly by during a sunset on a local farm!

 

“Peace of Autumn’s Song”
Beautiful reflections on an early autumn day!

You’ll see this lake featured twice here in this post. This image was on a cloudy and extremely still, fall day. The trees, especially the birches gave beautiful reflections in the water!

 

“Leaves in Gold and Bronze”
Fallen leaves in shades of gold.

After all of the leaves had fallen and nothing was left except the crunch of brown and gold underfoot I decided to make just a few images of these beauties!

 

“Effervescent Glow”
Lovely sparkling dewdrops on the grass in the early morning!

I had a lot of fun during a couple of fresh and dewy mornings this year photographing the sunlight as it danced off of the dewdrops in the grass. As a lot of you know, I love nature abstracts!

 

“In Love with Life”
Lovely tulips at the 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan.

I was extremely happy to have had the opportunity to go to The Tulip Festival in Holland, MI. this past spring!

 

“The Stones”
Beautiful and very colorful stones from Lake Superior!

Every time I’m in Marquette, Michigan I always enjoy the beautiful assortment of rocks and stones in the area. These colorful stones on Presque Isle are some of my favorites!

 

“Presque Isle Sunset Glow 2”
A wonderful sunset from Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan.

While at Presque Isle Park I almost always make time to stay for the sunset. It almost never dissapoints!

 

“Munising Falls Gold”
A golden start to autumn at Munising Falls in Munising, Michigan!

Munising Falls is beautiful no matter what time of year, but fall is always my favorite!

 

“When in Love”
This was an especially beautiful day along Lake Plumbago in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

Lake Plumbago is one of those places I pass by quite often while in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I would have to say that for me it has almost always been foggy and or raining when I pass by. That of course has its own beauty, and I have plenty of photos from that type of weather, but this time there was a striking difference, and actually quite welcomed!

 

“Windermere Hotel Mackinac Island”
One of my favorite places to stay on Mackinac Island!

I have always loved the look of yellow houses with white picket fences, so naturally the first time I set eyes upon the Windermere Hotel on Mackinac Island, it became a must for me to stay there! It is filled with Victorian charm and has such a lovely presence on the Island.

It just happened that this year while on the Island I was graced with bright blue skies which made a wonderful contrast to the beautiful yellow color of the Windermere!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed a tiny glimpse into the year of 2017 with me. I wish all of you a very Happy and prosperous New Year, both in your lives and in your photographic adventures! 🙂

 

I’d like to end this post 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 ~ 🙂

 

 

 

“Tulip Festival”

I was fortunate to be able to attend The 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan this spring. I have been one other time but that particular year the tulips hadn’t even begun to bloom.

I was rewarded with beautiful tulips and daffodils this year at the festival, among many other types of flowers.

The lovely purple tulips above were some of the last I was able to see that day as the sun got lower in the sky.

The images below give you some idea of the abundance of tulips and wonderful color there at the Tulip Festival!

“Daffodil Tripartite In Sunlight”
Just lovely little daffodils set against brightly colored tulips at The 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, MI.

 

“Tulips in Rows”
Beautiful rows of tulips with trees and flags in the background at The Tulip Festival.

 

“Tulip Festival Holland”
Enjoying all of the many varieties of tulips at The 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan!

“Garden Blooms”

Spring seems to start of pretty slowly here in SE. Michigan, but once the temperatures warm a bit, which they did to a very large degree this year, the garden blooms begin to appear quickly!

These are some of the first flowers to bloom in the garden this spring, after the initial daffodils and crocus.

The lovely light purple Iris basking in the warm light of the morning sun makes a lovely image!

 

"Dahlia Darling" Beautiful mauve and white petaled Dahlia!
“Dahlia Darling”
Beautiful mauve and white petaled Dahlia!

The Dahlia were especially beautiful with their large blossoms, and stunning colors!

"Iris abstract" I love the different varieties of Iris, and this one was one of the first to bloom this year!
“Iris abstract”
I love the different varieties of Iris, and this one was one of the first to bloom this year!

 

The small details in this purple Iris was one that was perfect for a macro shot!

"Peony in Peachy Pink" A beautiful macro of a peach and pink hued Peony!
“Peony in Peachy Pink”
A beautiful macro of a peach and pink hued Peony!

 

The peonies are still blooming, but this one was the absolute first to blossoms this spring. The hue was a bit different this year, with more of a peachy hue. I think it makes a beautiful macro!

As spring draws to an end, I’ll be photographing all the many blossoms that pop up, and sharing more garden photos here on my blog.

I hope that you too are enjoying whatever is blooming in your area, and your garden! You just gotta love those garden blooms!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Spring Finds”

Well, now that spring is fully here in Michigan, I have been thoroughly enjoying our warmer weather, and taking the time to go out in search of what is blooming. I had been afraid with a couple of late freezes we had that some early bloomers would have been affected. Thankfully most everything came through unscathed!

The daffodils this year got pelted with a bit of spring snow early on, but as you can see from these images, they rebounded nicely and we had some really beautiful blooms!

"Daffodils in Sunlight" Sun drenched daffodils on a spring day!
“Daffodils in Sunlight”
Sun drenched daffodils on a spring day!

 

I have been out nearly daily in the last week or so in search of blossoming crab-apples of various kinds, as well as cherry and apple trees. I have found many beauties, but this one is the first one I have processed of the flowering tree blossoms. A lovely white crab-apple with a bokeh-licious background in raspberry pink!

"White Blossoms on Raspberry" Beautiful crab-apple blossoms against a background of raspberry.
“White Blossoms on Raspberry”
Beautiful crab-apple blossoms against a background of raspberry.

 

Another beautiful daffodil enjoying the warmth of the sun!

"Daffodils within a Dream" Sun drenched daffodils on a windy day!
“Daffodils within a Dream” Sun drenched daffodils on a windy day!

 

 

For some reason, I usually miss the hellebore coming into bloom each year, but this year was different! I actually got to witness several different varieties in bloom!
These were beautiful in a pinkish purple hue!

"Hellebore in Deep Pink" Really lovely pink Hellebore , fully open.
“Hellebore in Deep Pink”
Really lovely pink Hellebore , fully open.

Spring seems to pass by so quickly, and in no time at all it will soon be summer, but I will be outdoors as much as possible while the air is still a bit cooler, the rain more frequent, and the mosquitoes not out in force yet, enjoying all the spring finds that I can!

I hope that wherever you live, you make sure and take plenty of time to enjoy your outdoor environment too! 🙂

 

“Vivid Colors”

I really love the bright and vivid colors that spring and summer bring to the garden! These photographs are from warm weather times, which I can’t wait to see again soon!

I’m not one to shy away from photographing vibrant colored flowers, or autumn leaves either, as you all may know!

I know the names of the orange and purple flowers, but I wasn’t able to ID the deep fuchsia flowers above. If anyone knows the name, please feel free to let me know.

"Orange Excitement" All the shades of orange burst through in this summertime photograph of Butterfly Weed!
“Orange Excitement”
All the shades of orange burst through in this summertime photograph of Butterfly Weed!

Last summer we had loads of Butterfly Weed. I used to love to sit in the garden near it watching both bees and butterflies take advantage of all that it has to offer.

 

"Purple Veronica" Lovely hues of purple and green in this patch of Purple Veronica!
“Purple Veronica”
Lovely hues of purple and green in this patch of Purple Veronica!

The Purple Veronica was also prolific! There were so many patches of it growing in the garden. I love the form and shape as well as the different hues of purple!

 

Finally, I’ll leave you today with a flower quote:

“Without darkness,

nothing comes to birth,

as without light,

nothing flowers.”

~ May Sarton ~

“Digital Painting or Not?”

Well, I’ve been having some fun recently with my processing. I don’t know if I’ve been just feeling winter blahs or is it that I just feel the need to do something new, but whatever it is, I found some new inspiration by trying something different in my processing.

My first go to, in my workflow is always Lightroom, and quite often after that, OnOne Software as well. In the past week or so, I’ve been having a whole lot of enjoyment experimenting with many of the Topaz Plugins, like Topaz Impression, and Topaz ReStyle. In this post I used Topaz Impression.

I have created special galleries for my “Photographic Art”  and “digital Painting”  here in these links. I have just a few images at the moment, but am adding to them pretty quickly.  You can check out these here too for more Photographic art . It’s not that I plan to be doing this form of processing all of the time, I don’t. It will never replace my normal processing of my photographs, but it did give me a change to have some fun, look at things from a new perspective and have a new creative outlet, especially during this winter.

In this first image you’ll see the lovely Charlevoix Michigan Marina,  it’s a very peaceful image in my opinion. I love it as a simple photograph, it has a nice soothing blue color and  quiet mood. If you’d like to see other images of Charlevoix as well as other Small Town images you can find them here in  The Small Town .

I decided to take that same photograph and do something different with it. I brought into Topaz Impression, and chose one of the oil painting presets in order to give me a starting point. After that, I used sliders to make a lot of adjustments, including those to paint saturation, type of brush used, brush stroke sizes, paper or canvas texture, vignette, and many more.

My final product was this beautiful digital oil painting! I kept the blue tones, the shimmer of light on the water, and the feeling of motion on the water as well. I added lots of texture, brush strokes and a slightly fanciful feeling.

 

"Blue Hour Oil Painting" The same image above, but processed as a digital oil painting.
“Blue Hour Oil Painting”
The same image above, but processed as a digital oil painting.

 

I had also been doing a lot of processing of spring buds, blossoms and flowers recently. These were images from last year when we had an abundance of blossoms!

In this first image a simple photograph of crab-apple blossoms of varying hues, and stages of blooming, with a lovely bokeh in the background, I first processed this ever so slightly, in Lightroom. It didn’t really need much work in my opinion, it was a beautiful floral in pink.

 

On the spur of the moment one evening, I decided to turn it into a digital oil painting. Again, I used Topaz Impression and one of the Oil Painting presets as a starting point. I did a lot of experimenting with the sliders until I came up with what I feel is a lovely image that has a lot of color, depth, and a  feeling of movement.

 

I know many of you have tried this type of processing before, and there are also some of you would never try it, as it feels to be untrue to the original photograph.

I would enjoy hearing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with your processing forays and journeys.

In the end it is up to each of us to find new ways to keep inspired, to get our groove back, or maybe just try something purely for fun.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these images and might even be inspired to try something new yourself! 🙂

 

"Pink Bling" Lovely colorful pink crab-apple blossoms from last spring.
“Pink Bling”
Lovely colorful pink crab-apple blossoms from last spring.

 

"Pink Floral Oil Painting" The same image as above, but processed as a digital oil painting.
“Pink Floral Oil Painting”
The same image as above, but processed as a digital oil painting.