i love how graphically this photo shows the nearly bursting quality of a plant about to ripen. there is so much quiet drama in the swelling buds and blossoms of spring and summer, aching with a fullness and tension that can’t last–like late term pregnancy, like adolescence, like young love. something has to give, but it hasn’t quite yet, and meanwhile there is this delicious state of youthful beauty, and anticipation, and nearly completed promise.
turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota
terrestrial angel aquatic devil
tiger lilies are almost too strikingly beautiful to be of this world. each year i sort of gasp inwardly when i see the first one of the season, as if there has been some mistake, and someone has left behind an exquisite silk purse on the hillside along the highway. but as angelic as the flower is, bobbing in an august breeze, imagine this thing ambling six-leggedly across the sand of a shallow bay, directly toward you. context is everything.
tiger lily (Lilium superbum)
turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota
i didn’t have a plan for this design. i just started placing stems head to toe, and kept building outward. i’m not claiming it’s anything that belongs in the louvre, but what i like is that i just kept playing until it felt done, and when it was done, i kept looking at it, and every time i looked, i liked how the design fell across my gaze. it felt balanced, and shapely, and not too symmetrical and just a little bit messy, and close enough to a 4×6 dimension that it fit comfortably inside the frame. i may have mentioned before that one of my favorite definitions of art comes from a description of how they make hershey’s chocolate. basically there is a single guy who is the official taster, and he just keeps tasting until he feels he can say, “this is hershey’s chocolate.” he couldn’t possibly say exactly what all the elements are. he just knows. so i hope you appreciate the hershey’s chocolateness of this prairie clover pattern. but if you don’t, it’s ok. because i do.
purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea)
sucker lake trail, saint paul, minnesota
waiting for low light and cool weather
in preparation for a very fun photoshoot coming up at our house, we are tentatively making the first changes to the interior since we bought the house 11 years ago from a doctor with impeccable taste and the budget to back it up. it feels strange and almost disloyal to change what was done so well and for which we have been so grateful. but the time has come, and so we were working all day today, in moderate heat, bright light, and high humidity. we are going to pull back into our buds for the night, like this spiderwort, and maybe peek out tomorrow morning, if things have cooled off.
spiderwort (blue Tradescantia)
do you want to photograph my garden?
i often get asked whether i want to photograph people’s plants and gardens, because they assume i am a flower photographer or a nature photographer, when in fact what i’m trying to be is a photographer of precisely the things i find on my walks and observations. it’s a difficult thing to explain. so i usually either decline politely, or go through the motions as a form of thank you for such a flattering interest in my work. the other day we were buying a chair from a woman who offered us a chance to photograph her garden and i didn’t know what i was getting into, but wasn’t particularly hopeful, until we started taking a tour, and suddenly there were seven different kinds of native milkweed before us, including this remarkable swamp milkweed with pods like praying mantises. she lives across town, but i may need to include her neighborhood again in a few of my “walks.”
swamp milkweed seed pods