Garden Reveries

What follows is a group of photographs made at gardens in and around New York City in late spring. We spent more time than I thought we would visiting public gardens on our trip back east. Given the vicissitudes of the trip, that was a good thing.

If you know me, you know not to expect an array of colorful flower pictures. I’m as likely to get caught up in the way petals fall onto the sidewalk as I am to admire the flowers.

I photographed garden structures: a bamboo fence, a rose trellis, conservatory windows. And carp – I love to watch fish as they move nearer and farther from the water’s surface, their bodies curving gracefully. There are leaf studies because I could be happy doing those for the rest of my life. A shadow and a reflection or two are here because hinting at rather than spelling out a scene always intrigues me. In that vein several photographs picture something seen behind or through something else. I photographed the way the shape of a Japanese maple tree interacted visually with a cloud-strewn sky. And there’s a flower, too – a lovely peony. But not in color.

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1.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

*

Key:

From an afternoon with John Todaro at Bridge Gardens, Bridgehampton, NY: #1, 3 – 6, 13, 19.

From a stroll on the grounds of Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY: #2, 14.

From a leisurely morning at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, Staten Island, NY: #7 – 10, 16, 17.

From a walk in Norman J. Levy Park, Merrick, NY: #11, 12, 15.

From a walk at Tackapausha Preserve, Massapequa, NY: #18.

***


83 comments

    • Funny, Penny. πŸ™‚ WP is not letting me put numbers directly under photos now so it can be confusing as to which number goes to which photo. So I’m not sure which ones you’re referring to…but I like the way you expressed your feelings. πŸ˜‰

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      • ooo, let’s not start (or maybe someday, let’s really start) discussing how much more time-consuming it is to use the new editor vs the old one, and what we’ve lost in the switch…

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  1. In #8 I imagined one or several of the shortest stones replaced by eggs; Photoshop, anyone? #8 reminded me of some of Harry Callahan’s work. And of course Roslyn, Massapequa, and Merrick reminded me of my Nassau County childhood.

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    • I like the idea of eggs among the stones. That’s part of Snug Harbor’s Italian garden, a more formal area they created about ten years ago. Any time you want to compare my work to Harry Calahan’s, I’m all ears. I have to say that Nassau County’s charms are increasingly hard to enjoy with the intensity of the highways and the pace of life there. It must have been so different when you lived there.

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      • Over the past couple of decades, when I occasionally visited Franklin Square, which is only 3 miles east of the New York City line, the Queensification that had taken place jumped out at me. In the early part of my childhood there were still some lingering vacant lots in my neighborhood; by the time I was a teenager, those had all gotten built on.

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  2. Wonderful pictures! I love photographs that take a different view of objects in our world. Different textures and color shifts, all that sort of thing. Your photo of the garden trellis looks like a painting, did you use a filter on that one? Absolutely gorgeous. Even the B&W’s are lovely, and I usually don’t go for non-color pictures. Thank you for posting!

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    • That’s good to hear, Peg, thank you. I wanted the (#3) photo of the trellis to convey that dreamy feeling so one of the changes I made was to give it a soft, blurred border in a program called Color Efex Pro. I made more changes in Lightroom, too. I’m one of those people who enjoy the processing end of photography as much as clicking the shutter. You made me laugh when you said even the black and whites appealed…I’m glad! thank you for commenting and I hope it’s not too hot over there this week!

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        • πŸ™‚ That’s funny about the heat – same here. We should be warmer in a few days. At least we had some rain. Color Efex & Silver Efex are now sold by DxO (look for Nik Collection on their website). They’re worth looking into – the programs have a huge number of possibilities and are super easy to use.

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  3. What captivates me in your photographs is exactly that look that is less conventional and different from most. The look that finds the less obvious… that search a different angle… that sees the detail, what is behind and not what is immediate. The look that relates, and that finds aesthetic messages, movement and lines of force.
    Whether the photos are in color or black and white, that’s very personal. For me nature is color, but I understand perfectly who prefers it in shades of gray. It’s another form of beauty.
    Beautiful pictures, as always by the way.
    ,

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    • It’s really good to know that some people, like yourself, understand what I am trying to do. Thank you for your close, thoughtful attention. It adds pleasure to my day when I see a comment from you! I hope you’re having a good week…take care!

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  4. Another magical selection Lynn – one of so many!
    The end of May marked the tenth anniversary of this site, It has been a thoroughly enjoyable time thanks to the contributions of regular followers. But be cause of a serious sigh deterioration I cannot continue in the same way My thanks to you all.

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    • Louis, I am so sorry to read that you’re leaving WordPress and blogging. I know the eyesight issues have been building for a while and I sincerely hope that hearing, touch, and smell are offering you abundant pleasure these days. I’ll miss your blog and your presence here. You have a humble, thoughtful way of engaging that one doesn’t see often enough. Please take care of yourself, know that you are missed, and enjoy that garden!

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  5. You were right, Lynn. I enjoy this post immensely. I like the blurred border on #3. It goes so well with the high key image. I am partial to the black & whites: #6, especially #7, 13, and 14 but enjoy them all. I also appreciate the statement of your motivation…thank you. πŸ™‚

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    • A vote for the monochromes, good! πŸ˜‰ The blurred border was from a filter in Color Efex that I think needs to be used sparingly so glad you like it. It’s interesting that you mention the thoughts about what grabs me aesthetically. I’m always interested to hear about what others say about that so I figured, why not talk about it a little? Thank you!

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  6. I love seeing the world through your lens because you photograph things that I would not even consider a subject, or it I did I’d photograph it in a different way. I’m captivated by the beauty you see that I would probably pass by. 1, 2, and 3 are especially lovely.
    Alison

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  7. To me your subtle colour palette is so much your photographic voice. You make excellent use of a limited amount of colours and tones. And of course even more so in your B&W images. Which is my favourite here: The rope around the bamboo sticks.

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  8. A beautiful collection Lynn. I miss the gardens of Back East. I was a member of the well-known Longwood Gardens outside of Philadelphia and went several times a year. I once participated in a 2-day Garden Photography class at Chanticleer Gardens. The instructor tasked us with showing a sense of place and you have done that very well here.

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    • Wandering through so many gardens and parks was a real bonus of that trip, especially since it was in May. I miss that, too. I never got to Longwood, but I did visit Chanticleer Gardens and loved it. It must have been fantastic to do a workshop there. That garden would be a good one to work on a sense of place – thanks for saying you can see that here. I was lucky to work at both the New York Botanical Garden and Wave Hill back in the day – working in a public garden every day is a great experience.

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  9. Dreams! You comfort all who miss their own garden. And the owners of such a paradise you also please, dear Lynn.
    The pictures No.1 and 3 are almost the same, “only” with different focus, isn’t it? In general, I am pleased in this post at your play with the depth of field.
    Simply wonderful I find in many images, how sparingly, very finely dosed you set color accents. Or, in black and white images, the light. Especially in the carp photos shines a silver light that seems almost magical. Great!
    Despite my faible for shadow photos, I am particularly impressed by the picture with No.16. You open and close at the same time a decoratively framed gate to a secret, dark world that seeks to hide, to which you nevertheless clearly point through the single flower umbel at the end of a delicate branch. A pleasure, this play of darkness and fine flower lights!

    Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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    • Yes, #1 and #3 have the same structure in the background but in #1 I looed through a pine branch and used a wide-open aperture. I do enjoy playing with depth of field! Otto (above) mentioned the color palette, too and I agree, it is similar across the images. There were some photos of irises and poppies that I didn’t include, partly because the colors would not have worked as well here. Living where I do, I have gotten used to a reduced palette for most months of the year. Yes, there’s lots of green here, but not much else! And for many months the colors are quiet because we don’t have much sun. So it has seeped under my skin. πŸ˜‰
      I’m getting a little better at black and white because of a monochrome button on the camera that allows me to see the image in black and white through the viewfinder, and even to make some of the changes you might make with filters. It’s such a good practice – it teaches you how to see better. The light on the carp was lucky, I think! I love your interpretations of #16 – the focus wasn’t perfect in that photo but I realized that the mood was strong and perfect sharpness was not important there. Thank you, Ule, for taking the time to comment so thoughtfully. I really enjoy the dialogue with you. πŸ™‚

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      • I have to thank you, dear Lynn, for so much joy I find through your pictures and – above all – through knowing you.
        I think I can switch on a black and white mode on my camera, too, but shooting in this mode would mean the camera doesn’t take the color information. So I prefer changing to b+w later in Lightroom or PS, so I can change back if I want to. Or do you mean, you just use the camera b+w mode for watching and choosing settings, but take the picture in color mode afterwards?

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        • The new camera (Olympuis Pen-F) makes two files – one black and white jpeg file and one color RAW file. Sometimes I find out I was wrong to think black and white would be better and I’m glad I have the color file – so I can understand why you might not want to use that function on your camera. The Pen-F also allows you to choose from 3 different black and white styles – one has more contrast, etc. Then you can use a dial like a color wheel, pick a color, and that color will be like a filter. That’s something you can do in LR and I’m sure in PS but it’s cool to have the ability to pick a filter while you’re shooting. I’m very new at using these functions so my choices are still pretty random. πŸ™‚
          As usual, there are too many choices, right? But we don’t have to try them all… πŸ˜‰

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        • As long as you keep all possible information in a RAW file, any choice is good. For me, the originally taken photograph is material for further action – so as much data as possible is what I aim at. If I aimed at a photo as perfect as possible right from the start, I would think and act differently.
          Nevertheless, a photo not causing any further work at all is something “nice to have”.

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        • As long as you have all possible information in a RAW file, everything is fine, I think.
          I see a photo as material for further action, so for me it is important to keep as much data as possible.
          Nevertheless, a photo which is perfect right from the start not causing any further work is something “nice to have” for me.

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  10. Last week I went to the Berggarten, the first time this year. I saw Hosta with a leaf of Gingko. Immediately I had to think of you πŸ™‚ I like the photos with the petals in it, #4 and 5. Also the needles in #1 are great, a kind of understatement in their beauty. I also love the pebbles and of course the glass house. When I read your sentence “There are leaf studies because I could be happy doing those for the rest of my life” I thought, yes please, do so πŸ™‚ They are wonderful. We often only watch the flowers, but the leafs are worth a second look and you do it brilliantly. Have a good week!

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    • A hosta and a ginkgo – that’s perfect! Thank you for thinking of me. πŸ˜‰ Leaves, leaves, leaves – there are so many forms and patterns. But I’m happy to hear you liked the glasshouse photo, too. I was excited to have that opportunity, it’s a rare one for me these days. It was closed that day, too bad! I look forward to seeing some Berggarten photos soon….

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      • Soon? Forget it πŸ˜‰ There are so many other topics…. It was nice in the Berggarten, as it always is, but this time I wasn’t so fascinated by the flowers, not in the usual way. Well, you will see, sometime in the future πŸ˜‰
        A pity the glasshouse wasn’t open. Your glass pictures are always excellent. I see it framed under glass πŸ™‚

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        • Sometimes there are things besides the flowers that captivate us…and that’s fine, of course, like in a Japanese garden, which may have no flowers at all. Or another thing to be fascinated by at the Berggarten is the food at that cafe… πŸ˜‰
          This time of year I have flowers on my mind…I found a new one right at my feet yesterday as I was taking a photo at the edge of a lake – I looked down at my feet so I wouldn’t get wet and saw a cool plant that I probably wouldn’t notice if it wasn’t flowering….Lysimachia thyrsiflora. Check it out – the yellow flowers were so interesting.

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        • Congratulations! That is a nice one. I like that shining yellow. Does it grow in the water? I heard the name Lysimachia before. We have some other species and one is a good plant for bees: Lysimachia punctata. I see it from time to time. While I was checking out yours I stumbled over another one I have on my balcony. It is a small “rest” from my parents garden and I didn’t know it is one of this kind, at least I think so Lysimachia nummularia. Thanks to you πŸ™‚

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        • The plant I found was not quite growing in the water – right at the edge of the lake, in the mud. I’m embarrassed to say that I forgot the name of one of the plants I have in pots this year – the same one you got from your mother’s garden, I think. Does yours have golden leaves? Mine is a form with almost yellow leaves – it looks really nice with the dark reddish leaves of a begonia and the purple blooms of campanula. πŸ™‚ I used to see L. punctata in gardens sometimes – a pretty one!

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        • Okay, I wasn’t sure if it is a water plant. Do you mean L. nummuralia? Mine has green leaves. Yellow sounds great. I love it, when colors of leaves and flowers stand in contrast to each other. I have a trifoil here with dark red leaves and tiny yellow flowers. Wonderful next to the other plants.

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        • I’m actually not sure! πŸ˜‰ Terrible. And yes, mixing leaf colors is always nice. I would love to design a sophisticated garden by just working with the contours of the land and the placement of trees…you can create a compelling landscape just by paying close attention to foliage colors and textures. No need for flowers. (BUT…)

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        • Yes, no need for flowers, but…but they are wonderful highlights πŸ™‚ I know what you mean and it can be very nice, but there is always a little but with me πŸ˜‰ But please create one. I am sure I will like it πŸ™‚

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  11. I love the way you see, Lynn. The monochromes especially caught my eye in this series. The two leaves crossing, the white bloom, the fence and twine. The color shot of the rocks lined up with the leaves is beautiful. I visited John’s website and discovered I am already following him- I am sure it must be from another mention of yours. Terrific work.

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    • Thank you, Jane, I’m glad you clicked on the link…John does beautiful work out there on the east end of Long Island. He sometimes goes up to the Adirondacks and out to the southwest, too, and has an affinity for all three landscapes. The carefully laid rock walkway with those little leaves on it is from an Italian-inspired section of Snug Harbor Botanical Garden on Staten Island. Everything in that part of the garden is well-ordered. I think it rubbed off! πŸ˜‰

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    • That’s great to hear…I’ve been working on improving my black and white phtoography. I’m showing myself that it’s possible to make good, interesting flower and garden photographs without color. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Late response.. We had a 2 week holiday on De Veluwe; walking and biking around in Dutch nature. Fine garden set; the shots are certainly ‘you’.. πŸ™ƒπŸ‘ They might all have been in B&W.. The last shot is my favorite; great how you stuck the branch in the frame and divided it into parts, with that strange background filling those parts.. keep shooting it; see you!

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    • You never need to apologize for lateness – certainly not to me! πŸ˜‰ I bet you had a great vacation – two weeks sounds wonderful. I read a little about the Veluwe just now – the different habitats, the land, the wolves, the restoration work, etc. – it sounds really interesting.
      Thanks for mentioning the last photo. I was with John Todaro then – actually, we walked around the garden separately while Joe talked with John’s wife, then we all had coffee together later. I think being around John pushed me to work harder. I was attracted to the Japanese maple – their branches are always nice, I thought, maybe I can work with the clouds and the branches – make a composition out of them. I wasn’t sure it would work but some of them turned out well. One more thing – I was using an Olympus Pen-F. It has a monochrome button that allows you to shoot in black and white and to choose different filters. Often in-camera filters aren’t very good. Usually, I would rather make a straight color photo and play with it later. But the Pen-F monochrome profiles are very good. I’ll email you a few more of those shots. Thanks!!

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  13. Must have been a fine meeting with John; he makes wonderful photo’s. I have never shot straight in b&w although my Sony A7R2 has the possibility to do that. Maybe I should give it a try. But purists like us don’t make a step like that easily… So a compliment for your courage! πŸ™‚ For shooting in B&W I have one wet dream though: a Leica Q2 monochrome.. 47.3 megapixels only for B&W, 28mm. 1.7 Summilux fixed lens. But… Over €5000,- Not within my reach. Curious for your Email; see you.

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    • It was good to meet John – he was generous with his time and I really enjoyed the afternoon.
      I found that shooting in black and white through the camera helped me see compositions and light better. I should do it more often.
      Ah, camera dreams…and guitar dreams, right? πŸ˜‰ I sent the email – Joe says Hi!

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