June 29, 2017

Spiky Orange

I think this was one of the first photos I took at the Meditation Garden a few weeks ago.  What a strange-looking plant!  Pumpkin-colored, with the little hairs or whatsits on each — what? frond? — swirling out like a whirligig gone native!

And then all the smaller tubes — babies?  Immature versions of this large one?  Again, the lack of back-lighting gives those shadowy areas a velvety depth, emphasizing the brilliance of the  saturated orange.  Almost edible again…

June 28, 2017

Exceedingly Green

Black backgrounds do amazing things for color.  This was a daytime shot, in the Meditation Garden.  The leaves seem almost waxy.  They are glowing with reflected light.  The shadow at the bottom seems to balance the upper dark corners.

I admit to cropping this photo; even when I worked in an actual darkroom, with real film (mid ’90s), cropping was one of my favorite activities.  I see the scene generally, and then realize in cropping what was really pulling me in.  There are some photographers who think cropping is a kind of cheating; I’ve never understood that.  After all, a painter doesn’t paint everything in his field of vision; she chooses her composition from what’s there.  And — I’m using a camera phone, very different from a multi-controlled SLR camera.

So — here’s the green that pulled me in.

June 27, 2017

Even Grayer

It takes my breath away.  It’s so soft.  It’s so blurry.  It’s so wispy.  The fog envelopes you, pats your skin gently, feels so good to breathe.  I think my lungs say thank you.  Like nature’s humidifier, without getting you soaked.

You could tilt and twist and lose your sense of up and down.  You could get very lost in it.  I imagine it’s very disconcerting to pilot a small plane in it.  Where’s the sky and where’s the sea and where’s the beach and where’s even over there?

Gray where.

June 26, 2017

Sculptural Erosion

Wind and water move in mysterious ways.   This is looking down from the top of the cliff and seems like a country of its own.  Look at those sharp-edged mountain ranges!

We see this from a campsite that has a very cool cactus, too.  We check it out periodically; it seems these ridges have become more distinct recently, perhaps due to that rain we had a while back.  The cactus, on the other hand, has mostly finished blooming.  It will be fun to see how these look if there is more rain this winter.

June 25, 2017

Imagine That!

How many different kinds of palms have I seen?  But not one in this stage!  I wonder if it’s the rain from a few months ago that is allowing things to flower/sprout in ways that are new to me.  It’s like a whole nother plant inside the plant.  Fractal.  Maybe this is how it generates new fronds?

And notice all those shades of green, from yellowish to silvery to deep, almost black.

June 24, 2017

Purple and White

In my friend’s garden.  One of my favorite color schemes!  Also nice with lemon yellow or even pink.  It’s cool and refreshing and somehow peaceful to me.  Would be lovely in a bedroom.  It feels a bit romantic, too, and is less usual than blue and white, although the darker purples here do tend toward blue.  When they are more magenta, they are even less expected.  The grey fence makes a nice background.

June 23, 2017

Yet Another

Gray morning.  They’re addictive.  That lovely almost-no-horizon blur.  How is it that water can look soft?  A soft sky, yes; but soft water?  Even the white wave edge seems more fluffy than foamy.  If I didn’t know it’s really quite cold water, I’d be very tempted to wade out and float.  But they don’t wear wet suits here for fun.   The water is COLD.

June 22, 2017

Little Round and Big Nasty

Thorns!  The dear small yellow blossoms (?) are nestled in there and protected by these very sharp, long thorns.  I tested them, gingerly.  They are definitely ouch-inducing.  So, one asks, why the thorns?  I thought we want to welcome birds and bees to spread the pollen?

Yet another mystery of the meditation garden.  I sure did take a lot of photos there.

June 21, 2017


One God.   One way.  One is one and all alone… One of a kind.  One, two.  One-liner.  One bad apple.  One-time offer.  “One is the loneliest number.”  One thing is certain.  One against the world.  One good turn…

One flower.  Just sitting there modestly against its sandy brown background.  Humble, yet forthright.  Perfect symmetry.  The touch of yellow is design genius.  One does it just fine.

June 20, 2017


They seem like eyes to me.  I may have photographed them before; even so, they are striking enough that I want to look at them again!

A bit disturbing?  Certainly compelling.  The cracks are a bit icky.  No cracks in eyes, please.  The shaggy bits are reminiscent of eyelashes. I am looking at the garden and it is looking at me.  Somewhat totemic, too.   And the appearance of frowning.  Maybe because there’s a whole lot to frown about?

June 19, 2017

Another Kind

Of pom-poms.  I thought the Midwest had flowers, but really.  These grow so densely, and are so cute, too, somehow.  They should be tied onto the single pointed peak of a child’s knitted hat.  Ah, well.  In another world…

June 18, 2017


I know it’s just begonias, but it’s such a thickness of begonias!  A generosity of begonias, a density of begonias!  It was warm today but pleasant near the water, and we enjoyed our walk.  A heat wave by the sea is a lesser heat wave.  There were crowds of people at the beach and it felt very joyful.  We are fortunate indeed.

Or, on second thought, are they impatience?  I get them confused.  Betcha they are related!

June 17, 2017

New to Me

I must have been to the Meditation Gardens at least twenty times, but never saw this before.  Pink (coral) and purple (lilac) together, a soft and pretty color scheme.  There was only one of these.  I do wish they would put labels out so I could learn the names of these beauties!

June 16, 2017


I keep thinking I’ve seen all the plants that grow around here, and then this.  These palest yellow puffballs just pop out of the trail by the beach, as exuberant as the kids who are now playing on the sand that is finally being exposed by lower morning tides, and the continuing mysterious changes in the rocks that have blanketed most of the beach until now.  Softer puffballs, softer beach.

The early morning fogs continue but are burning off sooner; June gloom will end and it will really be summer.  I did notice some color around my neck, so it’s time for sunhats, sun shirts, and sunscreen, even at 9am.  The joys of living in a beach town!

June 15, 2017


Isn’t that pretty?  I wonder if I could keep such a trio alive for more than a week or two.  Walking down the street, we saw this cheerful arrangement in the doorway of a townhouse.  I love the riotous colors — no “color scheme” — which works well in small doses like this.  Three sizes of simple white pots.  I’d undoubtedly over-water or under-water, sigh.  You see, they don’t know how to ask for what they need, so how would I possibly know?  I’ll stick to cooking…

June 14, 2017

White Coleus

Maybe even more striking than its purple cousin?  Things to love: the green veining and edging; the contrast with the background greenery; the pale pink-salmon splotches; the heart shape.  I’ve always thought a purple and white garden would be lovely: these, plus lily of the valley, white hydrangeas, white agapanthas, lilacs (different climate, I know), lavender, violets, irises and some of those many purple flowers that I’ve photographed before!

June 13, 2017

Rhubarb Vines

Well, they’re not.  But that’s what they reminded me of…so now I need to go buy some rhubarb, and make compote.  Rhubarb is strange stuff, but my Mom cooked it with sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg and it was yummy with vanilla ice cream.

As kids, we also ate it raw, dipping the end of the stalk into a Dixie cup with an inch of sugar poured in the bottom.  It was still quite tart and puckery, but the sweet-tart contrast was fun.  Summers when no one had fences, there were no gated communities, and we played kickball in the back yard until dark…

June 12, 2017


Nature wins once again.  It would be hard to do that shading with watercolors.  It’s too bad the drip irrigation is so noticeable.  I guess Photoshop or a similar program could “erase” that from the photo, but that’s not the point.  The point is: purple to red to orange to yellow to gold, all on a green to brown to black background.  And fractal layering of leaves and petals, too!

June 11, 2017


Also at the Meditation Garden.  I love the darks and lights in this; I wasn’t sure how it would work, because the experience of being in the garden is so variable and, I think, somewhat dependent on my mood.  The canopy of the large bright leaf, paralleled by the other large leaf at the bottom, seem to embrace the interior of this shot.  It felt simultaneously dynamic and posed; a hint of oppression but not quite menace.

Then there are the little bits of light that filter through the smaller branches: a little nearly circular area at the bottom, and the larger one at the center of the photo.   The pale barely-blue light of the sky in the upper third is balanced by the bright, nearly washed out green of that lower leaf, too.

Maybe there’s almost too much in this composition.  Printing it larger might enhance it, and help me determine whether there’s a focal point. Could it be two photos?   Sometimes too much complexity is confusing rather than enriching…dunno!

June 10, 2017


At the Self-Realization Meditation Garden. Isn’t the juxtaposition of the blue and orange nearby flowers just incredibly complementary?

The garden is a new experience each time, much like the beach.  I asked the guard-guide how many different plants he thoughts there were; he estimated “hundreds” and said “and he wants more!”  Not sure who “he” is, but every plant there seems well-tended, well-placed, and well-appreciated.  My favorite destination in North County; if guests have time for just one excursion, this is it.

June 9, 2017

Drama Queen

Facing the morning sun, they stretch and welcome the light.  As I was, near the beach, walking off the stresses of a restless night.  The world is too much with us again, yet, still; with the disappointments mounting in those we thought we could trust and the new developments that are anything but.  Devolvements, perhaps?  Maybe I made that word up, but that’s what it feels like.

So this pureness, this simplicity, this implicit is-ness — this is what I need, perhaps what we all need?

June 8, 2017

Mellow Yellow?

Could use a bit of mellow myself.  They just do their thing, not worrying about the next rain or the hedge clippers or the trampling of little feet.  Yes, I could use a bit of mellow!

I know I have photographed their red and orange cousins, and thought I should give these yellow ones their due.  The June gloom continues but seems to be burning off a bit earlier each day.  It is certainly doing good things for the plants around here.  Our morning walks are both cool and muggy, but that’s better than hot and muggy!

June 7, 2017


They’re trimming the fan palms in our neighborhoods.  They shouldn’t, some say.  Their skirts protect them.   I looked up how and when to trim and the information is complicated.   Of course, it’s getting warmer, so maybe they don’t need their protection as much.

This was part of a pile on the grass.  The textures and range of colors is rich; the curls and hairiness and cones and circles and edges — all of them are worthy.

June 6, 2017


Than real life.  Somehow this looks pointillist or sharpened or something.  These itty-bitty blossoms on succulents are widespread (literally) in several areas of the campground.  I love them.  I think I’ll show you some other shots:



And one more:



As if kissed by a touch of frost.  Wonder what they are.  Where’s a campground naturalist when I need one?!

June 5, 2017

Yellow In and Out

Of focus.  It makes it seem that they are pushing, growing, towards the camera, towards the viewer.  They are really teensy little flowers, by the way.  Charmers in their brightness.  We could all use some more charm?

June 4, 2017

Another Hazy Day

But not a lazy day.  Had a group show art reception today.  Got to talk about making art, and what it means to make things, to some engaging folks.  It’s about the making process, about transformation.  About the power — and the vulnerability — of change.  It’s about seeing and feeling and thinking and responding and waiting and trying and discovering and all those activities and attitudes that are related to learning, to being open, to shrug sometimes, to persevere other times.  How fortunate I am!

June 3, 2017

A Little Over-processed?

Well, it would be if it were human hair.  But over-processing is not done by Nature.  I guess these linear compositions in ornamental grass are appealing to me.

It is difficult to see differently.  Especially when I have probably taken — I dunno — 1000 photos around here.  I did take another one of that misty horizon, but I’m not sure I’ve found anything new to show or say about it!

June 2, 2017

Point of View

Or vantage point.  Nothing unusual about the flowers or the ornamental grasses.  Not much unusual, for that matter, about most of the things I photograph.   What I’m trying to teach myself, though, is to see differently.  I like the layered effect here, the grasses leaning over the blossoms almost protectively.  The light that made some of the blades appear almost white.   The under-layer of dark earth toward the center.   The jagged division of the composition into bottom/top, not quite in half.

I haven’t been ‘making’ much art lately, as in stitching/painting/constructing, but I still think about it all the time.

Especially out on the morning walk with modest little cell phone camera in hand…Not to denigrate cell phone cameras.  They’ve come a long way, and hey, it’s the camera I always have with me!

June 1, 2017


Since there was talk in the news today about black holes and such, this seemed like a nice antidote.  We could use a whole lot of antidotes right now.  I am grateful that we can escape into Nature.  A tragedy that it’s not valued by the so-called leaders that could be so effective in helping us preserve it.

So this is my tribute to Nature in my own front yard…