September 1st, 2011
Flowers and critters and bugs, Oh My!

It’s time to vote in our Organic Gardening Reader Photo Contest. One of the best parts of my day was sending out emails saying “Congratulations! You’re a top ten finalist in our photo contest.”

Now we need your vote! I’ve put some thumbnails of the final 10 here, to tease you. You can see the photos at a larger size (and at their full frames) and vote for them here.

August 11th, 2011
tiny mushroom city

Tiny mushroom citizens congregated in the garden paths this morning. I didn’t want to crush them or knock them over because they are cute and because I wondered if kicking them over would spread the spores. I suppose that would be a good question for Doug Hall’s new Organic Solutions blog. I’m not sure how long they’ve been there. It’s been very hot and humid lately, and I’m guessing they showed up after Tuesday’s day of rain.
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By the end of the photo shoot, I was thoroughly coated in mulch and mud, but happy. It’s weird to focus on a micro world, lost in shapes and thought, and then gradually come back into the real world. (It’s nice, too. The entire time I was shooting, I managed to drown out the cicada buzz/rattle. It’s been bugging me all week.)

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Towering above, the mushrooms look like flowers.
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I photographed the mushroom city with my digital slr and an f-stop of 2.8. You can fake depth of field with your point-and-shoot camera. Focus your camera at something in the foreground (by pushing the shutter halfway down so it focuses there). Without releasing the shutter, move the camera to compose your shot, then shoot.

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August 5th, 2011
Saturday night in Iowa

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It’s been a VERY busy, but very good summer. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Seed Savers conference in Decorah to teach a garden photography workshop.

When I first got there, I walked around the display gardens. Really beautiful.
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On Saturday night, before dinner, I got to wander around Diane’s garden and spend time enjoying the light. While thinking about the things I would teach at the workshop, I saw a little garden detail which exemplified my favorite garden photo advice. Look at things from all sides.

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Shot from above, but the Love-In-A-Mist was distracting:
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Moved the camera lower, now the shot is more about the plants:
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Thought to myself, “what detail might the reader want from a photo like this?” The way it is woven?

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Or maybe what it looks like from the other side?

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Naturally, I got distracted by the same Love-in-a-mist that got in the way of my other shot, and gave it some time in the spotlight.

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It was a busy two days. In addition to the workshop, I photographed a feature and a department for 2012, and met a lot of really fun and interesting people. (And I’m not just saying that because Tom and Jess helped me do a photo shoot in a heat wave.) It’s too bad we couldn’t spend a week in Decorah. I’d like to go back and see the isolation gardens and spend more time with everyone.

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photo by Tom from Seed Savers

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Old seed packet stamps in the Seed Savers store.

Lastly, here’s a bit of exciting (to me, and I hope to you) news–this year our book division made a 2012 Organic Gardening planner, featuring my photography. We had a box of them sent out to the conference. (They even had them out with the actual author’s books for their book signing. Whoa.) The planner won’t be sold in stores, but I got the link to share with you (especially all of you readers who are related to me.)  Buy me, I’m pretty.

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August 1st, 2011
photo booth: kohlrabi bigger than photo director’s head

SEE the amazing Giant Kohlrabi. How big is too big? We actually peeled it and roasted it with garlic and parmesan cheese. Not bad, but I think I like my kohrabi better in slaw form.

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July 14th, 2011
Iowa, and also seeds.

Tomorrow I head out to Iowa, to the Seed Savers Exchange. I’m really excited to see the farm in person. Until now I’ve only seen bits of the Seed Saver’s farm in Bob Stefko’s  watermelon photos, taken for our Aug/Sep issue. Speaking of seed saving, at the moment I’m heading over to North Street to have Tom take some seed saving photos. See you all when I return.seeds






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