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Archive for the ‘Water Lilies’ Category

How do you capture the beauty of a water lily? Claude Monet chose to paint massive canvases with wide expanses of ponds dotted with water lilies. My normal instinct is to focus on a single flower and to capture images like the first one below.

My photography mentor Cindy Dyer likes to challenge me to slow down and to look for interesting groupings of flowers. So I lingered longer at the water lilies and tried to compose images in different and more creative ways, resulting in the the second and third images below that contain more than just a single flower.

I took these photos last week during a trip with Cindy to Green Spring Gardens, a local county-run historical garden. In previous postings I have featured the pink water lilies and the lotuses at the small pond there. My goal today was to turn the spotlight on the more “traditional” white water lily.

If you click on these images to examine them more closely, you will see that I captured a number of “bonus bugs” on the leaves of the lily pads. “Bonus bugs” is a term that Cindy coined to refer to insects that show up when you are processing your photos that you never saw when you were taking them.

water lily

water lily

water lilies

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There were only a few water lilies in bloom when I visited Green Spring Gardens last week, one of my favorite local gardens, but I was thrilled to see that a few of them were pink ones. I love all water lilies, but there seems to be something extra special and exotic about the pink ones.

I was using my trusty 180mm macro lens, which meant that if I wanted a closer view, as in the first image, I had to physically move closer to the flowers, which, of course were floating in the water. It was interesting to try to vary the angle of view of the same flower by, shooting from a low angle for the first image and shooting the same flower from a higher angle (and farther back) for the second shot.

I also played around with including and excluding the lily pads. The water lily in the final shot, for example, is almost in the center of the frame, which is generally frowned on when composing a shot, but I liked the arrangement of lily pads so much that I kept it there.

I am very much a child of my generation, so I can’t help but think of the video game Pac-Man when I look at the second image. Did anyone else have that same response?

water lily

water lily

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There is something really special about water lilies (g. Nymphaea)—it’s easy for me to understand why impressionist painter Claude Monet was obsessed with them. During my recent visit to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington D.C. many of the water lilies were closed up, probably because of the extreme heat of the midday sun, but I did manage to get some shots.

The traditional white water lilies tend to have a calming effect on me. For those folks looking for a bit more passion, there were also some fiery red water lilies.

Water lily

water lily

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Perched at the edge of a lily pad, this frog at Lilypons Water Gardens was so small that I doubt I would have seen it by myself. However, one of my sharp-eyed fellow photographers spotted it and served as the hand model for the shot with the penny.

A helpful Facebook reader suggested that this is probably a Northern Cricket frog (Acris crepitans) and it certainly does look like the photos that I can find on the internet. Judging from the size of the penny, which is 3/4 of an inch in diameter (19 mm), I’d guess that the frog was less than 3/8 of an inch (9.5 mm) in size.

My fellow photographer tried to move the penny slowly into position, but, as I suspected would happen, the frog jumped away shortly after the second shot below. I would have liked to capture the frog in motion, but ended up instead with a shot of the vacant lily pad—the frog had jumped right out of the frame.

Northern Cricket frog

tiny2_frog_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Safe inside the confines of an enormous lily pad, this little frog calmly watched the crowds of people last weekend in Washington D.C. at the Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.

frog on a lily pad

You can’t help but noticed that this is not your average lily pad. I believe that it is a tropical variety that comes from the Amazon River basin of the genus Victoria, possibly Amazonica victoria. According to Wikipedia, the leaves of this species can grow as large as 10 feet in diameter (3 meters), although this one was probably less than three feet (one meter) in size. Clearly it had no problem supporting the weight of the little frog.

Readers who follow my photography know that I love to try to get in close to my subjects, irrespective of whether I am shooting with a telephoto lens or a macro lens, and this was no exception. There was a waist-high wire fence around the cement pond in which the water lilies were growing, so I had some limitations in framing my shots, but did manage to get this shot of the frog looking over the edge of lily pad.

frog on a lily pad

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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Imagine what it would be like to have a half billion miniature copies of some your images making their way across the country in the form of postage stamps. Last week I was thrilled to travel to Cleveland, Ohio with my mentor and friend, Cindy Dyer and her husband for the first day ceremony for the Water Lily stamps that feature four of her photos.

Cindy Dyer's Blog

Last week my water lily FOREVER stamps were unveiled at the Garfield-Perry March Stamp Show in Cleveland, Ohio. First photo: digital postmark first day covers and booklet of stamps; second photo: autographed program and cancelled stamps from First Day Ceremony: autographed by Jay Bigalke, American Philatelic Society, Editor of The American Philatelist; Paul Davis from U.S. Postal Service, who sang the National Anthem; Harold Chapman, President of the Garfield-Perry Stamp Club, who gave the welcome; remarks by Cynthia Druckenbord, Vice President of the Cleveland Botanical Garden; (then me!); and then Melvin J. Anderson, U.S. Postal Service Northern Ohio District Manager, and I got to unveil a giant poster with the water lily stamps (Third photo, shot by my dear friend Michael Powell).

The water lily stamps are available in booklet form at post offices across the U.S. You can also order them online.

Stamps in…

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