Monday, April 28, 2008

Ok Hank, This is for you...dogwood trees.

Hank, aka The County Clerk wanted to see some pictures of whole dogwood trees rather than just the flowers alone. So here they are Hank.

I haven't been very successful in photographing trees mainly because when shooting from afar everything is in focus and I mean everything from neighbors' cars, trash receptacles, houses, bikes, toys, hoses etc. and even things strewn about our yard. I've had to judiciously try to eliminate the distracting elements by taking photos from unusual angles all while doing a contortionist's dance.

I only have point and shoot cameras so I don't have too much control of the lens aperture and the resultant small(short?)depth of field which would help in blurring the background somewhat and isolating the subject. So I did the next best thing. Today was a gloomy wet day so it was perfect to photograph a light colored (white flowering dogwood) against some darker foliage especially since the wetness saturated the dark colors making them even darker.

Anyway after this long winded explanation here are the pictures. Still not good but the best I can do at the moment.

The trees are still rather small because we've only been at this house for 6 years and the earliest planted dogwood is only about 4-5 years old. There are some gorgeous, large dogwood trees covered with blossoms in the older homes around our neighborhood though. Hopefully, I will be able to take some photos of them before the flowers are gone and post them if I'm successful. It is a dicey proposition sometimes ... I was taking a photo of a big leaf magnolia tree once and the woman who owned the house brusquely slammed the upstairs window shut, probably thinking I was some kind of pervert trying to get a photo of her ;)


White dogwood, Cornus florida with Acer Japonicum 'Otaki' in the foreground and red weeping Japanese maple on the right with newly emerging leaves on bald cypresses in the background.




Same tree different angle.



A white dogwood next to our pond.




A small pink dogwood next to an azalea, a couple of rhododendrons, a peach tree on the right, arborvitae and cedrus atlantica on the left and no name red Japanese maple to the rear all topped by the neighbor's red plum. Feeling a little claustrophobic? The telephoto lens or rather the telephoto feature on the point and shoot camera foreshortens the perspective so everything looks crammed together. There is actually more space between plants than it appears in the photo...but not much more ;)




Another view of the white dogwood in the first two pictures but set further back. You can see the Fothergilla on the right, a redbud just coming into the picture on the left and in the near foreground a Magnolia virginiana which I'm happy to say has many buds forming after having bloomed the first time last year with only a solitary flower. I love the smell of this native magnolia flowers so I'm ecstatic that it is producing a lot of flowers this year.

12 Comments:

Blogger joco said...

What a lovely post, ki.

I know how difficult it is to get trees to show up well. Often disappointing because of the large amount of detail.

Yours came out nicely. Very romantic. What a garden! A creation.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Lovely photos. Dogwoods are one of my favorite spring blooming trees. I have the same problem trying to photograph them or other large objects, but I think you did a good job. I esp. liked the one with the pond.

Jan Always Growing

3:30 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Joco,
Thank you. Long distance photos especially of plants and trees just seem to include too much information. I prefer the close ups but I should practice doing landscape photography so I become better at doing so.

I had a mission; to remove as much lawn as possible and still have a yard which barely fit in with the neighbors. Each time I removed some grass, more planting space became available and kept going. We must have planted hundreds and hundreds of plants. Not much of a landscaped look but interesting if you like different kinds of plants. :) Thanks again for your lovely comment.

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Thank you Jan. Dogwoods are certainly wonderful in spring. Sometimes finding a dark (or light) backdrop for the tree you're trying to photograph is difficult and you don't necessarily get the best view of the tree as in the pink dogwood. Most of the flowers were facing to the back so it was impossible to take a picture from that angle.

The dogwood next to the pond is very close to the house and is being crowded out by a green Japanese maple. I could get in only a branch. If I tried to include more, the deck and railing or part of the house would spoil the picture. Thank you for stopping by.

4:07 AM  
Blogger joey said...

Nice shots, Ki! Landscape often seems more difficult to photograph. You have lovely gardens. The small pink dogwood compliments the azalea and rhododendrons. I adore dogwoods and mine is 'gearing up' for a photo shoot!

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Layanee said...

Your dogwoods are looking great! I have only a kousa dogwood. I love that fish pond shot. Looks like a good place to relax and unwind.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Joey,
We were extremely lucky with the pink dogwood placement...lucky it didn't clash with any of the other flowers. I'm trying to think if the small tree azalea's flowers which haven't opened yet,just behind the dogwood are orange - which would be terrible. But I don't think it is because I would have noticed the dissonance with the rhodo. on the right unless I'm totally unobservant.

Will keep an eye out for your photo of your large tree! Now, that should be impressive!

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Hi Layanee,
We have a legacy Kousa too but it is a long way away from blooming. I prefer the regular dogwoods because they don't seem to grow as fast nor do they drop large fruit that seems to be tracked into the house. And the birds seem to like the fruit unlike the Kousa's. But the Kousa is a tough tree so I can't begrudge it, its place in the garden.

We have one of those covered swings overlooking the pond and it is a very nice place to be in the early morning or late day. One of those rare times we get to unwind with some coffee or tea. My brother-in-law said we work too much and should relax more and smell the roses. He was absolutely right and we do enjoy the peace of the garden there. Thanks for your comment.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous The County Clerk said...

Thank you. These look great. They seem to be thriving. And your photos are wonderful.

In fact, for such young trees, they are putting on quite a show.

I've been pondering some dogwood and now the decision is made. Thank you. I'll be heading to the nursery shortly.

I hope there were no "perverse misunderstandings" this time around. (That story is too funny.) I can imagine the moment.

Your property is lush and thick with green life. This is what gardens are SUPPOSED to look like (in my opinion).

Excellent post. Thank you again.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hank,
Since I do walk around the neighborhood often with my camera I hope I'm not getting a reputation as a pervert or peeping tom ;)

Good luck in your purchase of a dogwood be it a white, pink or red.

You are most welcome.

6:29 PM  
Blogger kate smudges said...

I am glad that Hank asked to see the dogwoods in their surroundings. The dogwood by your pond is particularly stunning with the waterlilies below.
The pink dogwood beside the deeper-pink coloured azalea is especially attractive - you have a knack for combining interesting foliage textures and colours.

Now I can picture where the errant squirrels run - I'm just glad that they aren't a problem at the moment.

Your story about your neighbour shutting her window had me in stitches. The things we do for a good photograph ...

10:11 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kate,
If you could actually be next to the pond you could see just how yucky it is. I just started up the pond pump and filter last week to clean up the mucky water of all the greenish guck that's making the water opaque. :)

I assure you the placement of the pink dogwood was a lucky happenstance. I just hope the mountain azalea getting ready to bloom just behind the dogwood isn't an orange one. =:(

I hope the neighbor didn't recognize me but I notice a coolness so it's possible she did. Oh well.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

You are too modest Ki, your pics are really good. I had not realised before how pretty dogwood can be until your pics showed me. And what a lot of blooms they carry eventhough they are still young trees. Spring is such a lovely time of year and your garden shows that clearly.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hello Yolanda Elizabet,
It is surprising How many flowers there are on even small dogwoods. I just saw a large pink dogwood today and it was just a mass of flowers. I'll try to take a picture of it.

We went for an evening walk and it was quite evident that most home owners in our neighborhood go for the expansive lawn look with shubbery just around the perimeter of the house. It is quite shocking to come upon our yard after seeing this expanse of closely clipped grass. Our yard on the other hand is dense with plants with islands and berms everywhere and very little grass. We stick out like a sore thumb.

5:20 PM  

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