We have this great Nikon digital SLR camera at work, and even though I'm not the best photographer I'm often required to go snap pictures for inclusion on our website, brochures, etc. (Since I'm responsible for said website and brochures, I suppose this makes sense.) Every time I use the SLR, though, I hear this little voice in the back of my head. It says, "Wow, this is an amazing camera. Too bad YOU don't know how to use it to its full potential!"
So I decided to bring the camera (yeah, and the book) home with me this weekend for some practice. My plan to take it to Edgewater Park today and practice action shots with the boats, runners and kite-fliers was stopped by some much-needed rain... but I have been able to practice zooming and focusing in the garden.
Since I don't have any photo resizing/retouching software on my home computer right now, you can click on the above picture of lotus vine and silver plectranthus to get a good view of the amazing textural detail the SLR picks up. It seems to me that the pictures I've taken in the shade have a blue cast to them, though... I'll have to check out the book and figure out how to "fix" that. You can see what I mean by looking at the cool tones in the shaded area of this 'Newe Ya'ar' salvia and chives combination at the lower left of this photo:
Pictures taken of subjects in the sunshine seem more true color, though. In this photo, you see the Russian sage, eggplant, amaranth, and the contents of the tile planter (which I LOVE this year) pretty much as my eye does:
I'm really enjoying playing with the focus feature. I can focus right, left, or middle in any shot (or, if I turn the camera vertically, I can focus top/middle/bottom) and that makes for some nice effects. Here the camera is focused on the little bluestem blades just below the cluster of orange pyracantha berries:
And here it's focused on the huge, smooth 'Sum and Substance' (I think) hosta leaves. This nicely blurs the bleached seedheads of atriplex hortensis and the blue flowers of hardy plumbago in the background:
The above pictures were all taken yesterday, most during some stolen moments of sunshine. Today's pictures were taken while dodging raindrops, and they seem to have the same cool/blue cast that the shady pictures do. Here you see 'River Nile' begonia mingling with artemisia. In "real life" the begonia leaves have more warm tones, and pick up the yellow of the artemisia flowers:
More playing with the focus... here honing in on the rain-dusted leaves of the supertough 'Ivory Prince' hellebore, with golden oregano in the background:
With my personal, low-tech digital camera, taking a photo of this carex buchanii and the underplanted hens-and-chicks results in a blurred mess... but this camera can focus in on the sempervivums the way my eyes do, to give a better photographical representation of why I love these planted together:
While the color may be a little cooler, the camera does give an accurate visual representation of the front garden... in terms of showing that I need to add some structure in a few places! Here's the proof:
It wasn't until the beginning of August that I finally tracked down some 'Black & Blue' salvia guaranitica. (Well, I did see some earlier, but wasn't going to pay $18/gal for it!) It picks up the blue of the caryopteris and 'Walker's Low' catmint that are blooming in other quadrants of the front yard, too. I think that next year I may have to mail-order some of these plants, to make sure that I have multiples. Mine just started blooming, and I love the way it looks with the oakleaf hydrangea and 'Hameln' pennisetum:
And now, on to the question: About the time I picked up the B&B salvia, I also bought two pots of 'Sapphire Blue' eryngium on the clearance table of a local garden center. The parts of the plant aboveground felt very crispy, soon turned brown, and then dropped off completely.
However, something about the pots--or maybe my own stubbornness--made me think that if I kept taking care of the rootball, they might come back. I now have little sprouts in each pot, which appear to be coming off of roots that are barely covered by soil and don't look like any of the usual weeds I've seen in nursery pots or in my own garden. Check them out:
Anyone growing eryngium who can confirm that the above are baby sea holly leaves? If you suspect otherwise, I don't want to hear from you... just kidding! If you know these to be leaves of something else that I don't want to plant in my garden, I actually would appreciate knowing that, too.
Hope everyone has a good gardening weekend... and that those of us who really need the rain continue to get some over the next few days!