Happy Easter II

Sometimes the beauty of Easter reveals itself in subtle ways, like this delicate orchid that I photographed yesterday in the conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, VA.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Happy Easter

This brightly colored American goldfinch (Spinus tristis) reminds me of the marshmallow Peeps that I grew up with and the brightly colored spring outfits that people would wear to church to celebrate Easter (including some pretty outrageous hats).  Best wishes to all for a Happy Easter, no matter how you choose to celebrate it.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved




Blossoming trees

Although I live in the Washington D.C. area, I didn’t feel like fighting the crowds to get images of the iconic cherry blossoms. However, the blossoming trees in my neighborhood were pretty spectacular too, albeit on a smaller scale.

I think the first two images are Bradford pear trees, the third is a forsythia bush, and I am not sure what kind of tree the final one is. The shapes and colors and lighting make each of these shots quite different, but I think my favorite is the first one, which reminds me of a Japanese painting.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved


Blooming tulips

After seeing three of my recent postings that featured unopened tulips, some readers might come to the erroneous conclusion that I don’t like the colorful flowers of blooming tulips. How could that be possible? Everyone seems to like the cheery colors of tulips.

My neighbor, and fellow photographer and blogger Cindy Dyer, has planted quite a variety of tulips in her garden and I recently took some photos of two very different species. The first is a small, delicate tulip know as the “Lady Jane” (Tulipa clusiana var. ‘Lady Jane’). I am not sure that I have every seen a more petite tulip and I really like its subtle colors.

The second tulip is big and bold and multi-colored, almost a visual equivalent of shouting. This style of tulip is known as a “broken” tulip, because of the way that the colors are broken, resulting in intricate bars, stripes, streaks, featherings, or flame-like effects of different colors on the petals. According to Wikipedia, this effect was originally produced by a tulip-breaking virus, and bulbs with this effect went for exorbitant prices in 17th century Netherlands, during a period known as “tulip mania.” Today, tulips displaying a “broken” effect are stable variants and the result of breeding, not viral infection.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved


Just past full moon

The moon was shining brightly in my neighborhood this morning at 6:00, just a few days after the full moon.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Grapes of spring

Like tiny bunches of grapes, growing out of the ground on a stalk, grape hyacinths are one of my favorite spring flowers. I moved in really close with my macro lens in the first shot to emphasize the beautiful details and the rich dominant bluish-purple color of the plant and moved back a bit for the other two shots to highlight the varied shapes and colors of the individual “grapes.”

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Anticipation III

This final image of my mini-series on unopened tulips is my favorite—I love the simple composition, the almost monochromatic palette (with the slightest touch of pink at the tip), and the  sensual curves of the leaves.

It was almost six o’clock in the evening when I took this shot and the light was still pretty strong, but was starting to fade. I knew that I wanted to shoot some close-up shots of flowers, so I was using my 180mm macro lens. I probably should have been using my tripod for increased steadiness, especially because the lens does not have image stabilization (VR for Nikon folks), but I hadn’t brought a tripod with me.

As is often the case with my macro lens, I ended up focusing manually, trying to get as much of the tulip in focus as I could as I carefully composed the shot. The settings for this shot, for those who might be interested in such technical details, were ISO 400, f/8, and 1/50 second. The shutter speed is a bit slow, I’ll admit, but I was able to brace myself pretty well and I was trying to avoid increasing the ISO and introducing more noise.

If you haven’t seen the other images in this mini-series, Anticipation I and Anticipation II, be sure to check them out. Is there one that you like more than the others?


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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved


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