A SNOWY DAY WITH SUNFLOWERS – Marilyn Armstrong

A Snowy Day With Sunflowers – 02/28/2019

Garry came back from the grocery while the snow was softly falling. I already had flowers from last week, so I picked out the ones that were dead, left the chrysanthemums which were in good shape.

But I was grateful. We’ll be locked in the house for a day or two, depending on how much snow we get, though it’s supposed to relatively light and fluffy. That is my favorite kind of snow and I’m sure there’s a special word for it in some arctic language. There are a bunch and I don’t know any of them.

Sunflowers in the snow

FLOWER OF THE DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Lacking garden flowers which are seriously considering budding any day now, Garry brought me the brightest flowers he could find.

You guessed it.

Sunflowers.

Flower of the Day – May 6, 2018 – Azalea

SATURATED: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

A Photo a Week Challenge: Saturation

Autumn in New England is a total saturation experience. I often turn down saturation. Natural color is almost surreal.

Direct from the camera.
Direct from the camera. Will add one click saturation. More would be too much.

The original photograph is true color direct from the camera. The adjustments were cropping, exposure, and a single click (1%) saturation.

Just needs a bit of brightening.
I’ll give it a bit of brightening. The saturation is there. It could go just as is, but for the purposes of illustration …

The further north one goes, the earlier foliage peaks. We missed peak in three states, but I was happy with the color we saw. It was beautiful just the way it was.

No additional saturation. A bit brighter plus a touch extra contrast only. It's enough.
No additional saturation. A bit brighter plus a touch extra contrast only. It’s enough. Notice how by raising the contrast and brightening the whole picture, I also lost the second mountain in the background? There is usually a trade-off. When you modify one thing, other things also change.

In changing saturation, I feel that less is more. I am apt to lower saturation rather than raise it. Saturation, in theory, changes only the intensity of color, but in practice, it changes tones too. Gray becomes blue. Skies becomes pixellated. Everything becomes more grainy.

My suggestion? Adjust saturation using a light touch. It doesn’t take much to turn a pretty picture garish.

PAINTERLY SUNFLOWERS

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I love trying out various effects. Often my goal is to make a photograph look like a painting. If I were a painter, I would do it with a brush and canvas. Since I’m not, Photoshop provides interesting tools and Google’s NIK filters offer even more choices.

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You can judge for yourself. I certainly enjoyed doing them.

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SUNFLOWERS FOR ME

Garry thought it was high time I got a new bouquet and this time, he chose one of my favorites, sunflowers. Is there any flower that better symbolizes summer? That looks as if it contains its own sunbeam?

Here is my bouquet of sunflowers. On the last day of July, in the late afternoon sunshine on the deck.

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Blackstone Valley Roads – Marilyn Armstrong

These are places I pass as I go to and from the various routine errands and activities of life.  They aren’t special places … or rather, they aren’t places that I have to seek out because they are along the roads I use every day.

Built in 1779, this originally housed a forge and was the shop of a blacksmith. In the 1800s, it became a shoemaker’s shop and now stands empty on the corner of Chestnut Street, a road that runs from North Street to Route 140 in Upton.
Door to the Forge House.

It’s easy to stop noticing what’s right in front of you. It’s always there, so you don’t realize that it’s special. Then, because I’ve taken my camera, my vision changes. I notice things that are more usually background to the world in which I live.

In front of the drive in restaurant where you can get the best clam puffs … if you don’t mind a bit of accompanying heartburn … they grow sunflowers. There were honeybees on the flowers, a good sign since honeybees have come a bit scarce.
They are called sunflowers and deservedly so. Like the sunshine itself, the shine brightly and turn to the sky.

And I realize that they are indeed special or would be to others and ought to be for me, too. That’s one of the greatest boons I get from photography, that it makes me notice the things around me that otherwise just pass by along the roads I travel.

Along the road, many bushes and flowers, wild and cultivated bloom.
The pods of some wildflower about to spread itself by the wind.

These are all local roads, on the way to the doctor, on the way to the grocery, coming back from the place I sometimes purchase a scratch ticket.

The general store is on Route 16 just after you leave Mendon and enter Uxbridge. They also make great sandwiches.
These old mill buildings now house business and condos. Despite efforts to preserve them, many have disappeared, mostly due to fires. The last mill that burned lasted a full three weeks … with every firefighter in the valley working to put it out. Most firefighters are volunteers since the towns in the valley can’t afford to maintain full crews. These people come when called, work for no pay and in fact, lose money while missing their normal employment. Without them, we’d be in serious trouble.

These are the ordinary roads of the Blackstone Valley in the summer.