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Posts Tagged ‘water lilies’

There was only a single water lily in bloom at a pond at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge last week, but its beauty brightened the entire area and brought a smile to my face. Water lilies are one of the reasons why Claude Monet is one of my favorite painters.

Monet did some 250 oil paintings of water lilies (“Nymphéas” in French), many depicting the garden at his home in Giverny, and they were the main focus of his artistic production during the last thirty years of his like, according to Wikipedia.

 

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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During a visit yesterday to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia, I was reminded of my favorite artist—Claude Monet. During the last thirty years of his life, water lilies (Nymphéas in French) were the main focus of his artistic production. One of the museums that I most love visiting is the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, because it houses eight massive water lily murals by Monet in two specially-built oval rooms. It is incredibly peaceful to just sit in one of those rooms, surrounded by those amazing paintings.

I was delighted and a little surprised yesterday to see that some water lilies were already in bloom. There was a lot of vegetation surrounding the pond in which the beautiful flowers were floating, so there were some limits to my ability to compose my shots. Still, I am pretty happy with the images that I was able to capture.

Perhaps you will find yourself as captivated by the water lilies as I was.

Water lily

Water lily

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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There were only a few water lilies in bloom at the small pond at a local garden that I visited this past weekend. Surprisingly, they were all pink in color and not the white ones that I am more used to seeing—perhaps it is late in the season for the white ones. Not surprisingly, there were quite a few dragonflies buzzing about and I decided that I wanted to get a shot of one of them perched on one of the water lilies.

So I waited and hoped and waited some more. My patience was eventually rewarded when a tiny male Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) landed on a partially open water lily bud and perched momentarily.

I really like the image that I managed to capture because of the way it conveys a sense of the mood of the moment, a calm, almost zen-like feeling of tranquility. The colors are subdued and the composition is minimalist—there is a real beauty in simplicity.

Dragonfly and water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Water lilies are now blooming at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which recently has become my favorite place to explore with my camera.  Yesterday I could see lots of them in a distant pond that was not accessible. I was happy, though, to be able to capture this image of one that was just within range of my zoom lens.

Water lilies are so exquisite that a single bloom is sufficient to fill me with a sense of beauty and tranquility. Is it any wonder that water lilies were the main focus of Monet’s artistic production during the last thirty years of his life?

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I just love the vibrant colors of the tropical water lilies at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, like this one that I photographed on Sunday during a brief trip there. These gardens, located in a part of Washington D.C.,  are run by the National Park Service and have acres of ponds with all kinds of lotuses and water lilies. The tropical water lilies are in small cement ponds behind the visitor center and are one of my favorite spots to visit.

tropical water lily

tropical water lily

tropical 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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While I was at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington D.C. on Monday, it was easy to understand Monet’s endless fascination with water lilies. My opening image of a small wooden bridge brings to mind several of Monet’s paintings of the Japanese Bridge in his water garden at Giverny.

bridge at Kenilworth

Water lilies seem to draw me in and surround me with an overwhelming sense of beauty and tranquility. How can I possibly capture that feeling in a photo? Here are a few images to show you some of the different approaches that I used in attempting to show the irresistible attraction of water lilies.

water lily at Kenilworth

water lilies at Kenilworth

pink water lilies at Kenilworth

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The water lilies at one of my local gardens seem to be blooming a little late this year, but two of them finally were in bloom yesterday. Here’s a shot one of them and if you look closely you’ll notice a damselfly perched on the water lily. The image is not in his style, but water lilies always remind me of Monet, one of my favorite painters.

water_lily_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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“You’re not seeing the big picture.”

Has anyone ever spoken those words to you? They are often used as a tacit (or explicit) criticism of your supposed lack of perspective. The person speaking those words usually has an air of superiority, asserting that they have a better view of some figurative “big picture.”

You literally are not seeing the big picture when it comes to the banner of this blog. I was forced into a box of a specified size by the requirements of the theme I chose. It’s time now to think (and to see) outside of the box.

So, I am posting the “big picture” that you see partially in my banner. Why? One of my friends told me it is her favorite image out of the dozens I have shown her the past few months (and it is one of my favorites). You might like it too!

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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For much of my life I have loved impressionist paintings and especially those of Monet. Monet painted a series of approximately 250 paintings of Water Lilies (or Nymphéas) and they were the main focus of his artistic work for the last thirty years of his life, according to Wikipedia .

Last November I spent countless hours at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris visually exploring eight massive paintings of water lilies by Monet that covered the walls of two large oval rooms. The painting were all different and covered the themes of morning, clouds, green reflections, sunset, reflections of trees, clear morning in the willows, morning in the willows, and two willows.

The Musée de l’Orangerie allows you to see each of the paintings in high definition on the internet but navigation is not exactly direct. Click first in the left column of the main page on “Les Nymphéas” and then on “L’ensemble de l’Orangerie”  which brings you to a page with all of the paintings. You click on the painting you want to examine and click again on the box that says “explorez le tableau” (“explore the painting”). You then can drag your mouse to see each part of the painting or zoom in at 2x or 4x. There also are detailed explanations of the paintings in French that are fascinating, as is a history of Monet and these paintings. You get to that part of the website by following the previous directions and selecting “De Giverny à l’Orangerie” instead of L’ensemble de l’Orangerie.” I should warn you that it is very easy to lose track of time as you take in the beauty of these paintings.

I love photographing water lilies surrounded by green lily pads, with reflections of their beauty in the dark water, the same flowers featured in Monet’s paintings. Until this past weekend, however, all the water lilies that I had seen had been pure white in color. At Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens I encountered and managed to photograph some water lilies that were a beautiful pink in color.  They made quite an impression on me.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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