Friday, March 25, 2016

Agave Bloom Stalk - November, 2015 - March, 2016

The mystery of the Agave Bloom Stalk revealed.

Some of these photos have been posted both here
on the blog and on FB, but they tell 
the life-cycle of the Agave Bloom Stalk that began
last November and is nearly over.

The stalk, above, started growing in November and that's when
a decision was required. Do I allow the stalk to grow thereby cutting the
life of the agave short or do I cut the stalk off giving
 the agave a longer life?
Actually, it wasn't a difficult decision; the mother-ship has
4 offspring 2 of which are shown in the photo below. Choosing to watch
and document the bloom stalk turned out to captivate me longer than
I expected. I had no idea how many stages the bloom stalk goes through.

Below. While not the best photo it
shows how close to the bedroom window
the agave is. Every morning I've
been greeted with the progress.

When the bloom stalk started
growing the tip looked like
asparagus, at least to me.

As the stalk grew buds started
At first they were tight and
then they started unfurling.

It's difficult to isolate the 
bloom stalk enough to 
photograph it.


One bloom bursting open
and one in waiting.

Both blooms fully open.

Close-up of a bloom.

The bloom stalk grew right through the 
top of the pergola. 

A finch enjoying
the agave.

The many stages of blooming.
The bottom ones are dying, the middle
ones are in bloom and the top are 
about to burst open.

Even while dying the agave is 

The resident hummer enjoying
the blooms.

In flight! After a few years of attempting to capture
the hummer in flight I was finally successful!

What a gift the bloom stalk has been; no
regrets about allowing it to go 
through its natural life cycle. 
Note: I have read that cutting the 
stalk off doesn't prevent the
Agave from dying regardless
of what my maintenance
gardener has said. 

And one last photo, Digital Art piece that
started with an image of a woodpecker borrowed
from a friend, Christina. I know that I'll use
photos of the Agave Bloom Stalk in my art work
for years to come. 

I hope you've enjoyed the photos!

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wonderfulicious Wednesday - At the Living Desert

Finally a few cooler days! The Butterfly exhibit at The Living Desert 
beckoned to us. . ..  but little did I know that it's Spring Break! I don't do
well in crowds. 
It was worth the wait for my turn to photograph the bowl full of butterflies. 
What a feeding frenzy! I didn't want to be greedy, but I was able to get 7 photos.

The yellow butterfly was on the cement walkway, not
a very interesting background, thus a blended layer.

And sometimes a sky is too bland. 
This is the first time I've had success getting some photos of 
the Bighorn Sheep on the mountain. Usually, they're in
a ravine at the bottom of the mountain.

The Ocotillo were blooming and we know how much I love 
bloom stalks!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wonderfulicious Wednesday - #naturechallenge

 A dear cyber friend and talented artist nominated me to join the 7-day FB #naturechallenge. I decided to take the challenge and add my own take on it and photograph daily gifts in my garden.
The pansies were placed on a rusted pan and photographed with the iPhone under florescent lights.

Day 2 is an Agave Bloom on the bloom stalk that I've had the joy of watching grow.
I've documented the journey from birth to full yellow blooms and plan to post the
photos soon.

Day 3. In just the right light the flowers on the succulents sparkle and seem 
to dance in delight. 

Day 4. At this time of year it seems that the entire area is bursting
with either pink oleanders or reddish bougainvillea. I chose red oleanders for
a hedge down one side of the house and Opal Bougainvillea to grow on
a pergola post. When the afternoon sun back-lit the above vine I knew just
how I wanted to alter the final image. 

Day 5. When I planted white bougainvillea vines
nine years ago I was told numerous times
that they wouldn't grow. The two vines full of white flowers
prove that it's worth it to try regardless of naysayers,  

Day 6. Saw a fern unfurling, chose the
macro lens . . . some color tweaking and ended up
with more of an abstract effect than I expected.

Day 7, macro.
 The saga of the grape vines. 
I'm always blown away when the birth of grapes
begin. Tiny.
We've only enjoyed bunches of
grapes the first couple of years and since
then the birds feast on them. Last year
mildew claimed them. This year the
bunches seem to be very prolific . . 
Time will tell what is in store for the vines. 

The resident Hummer enjoying the Agave Bloom. 

Thank you Shirley for encouraging me to post more often. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Wonderfulicious Wednesday, 3 months later

I'm a bit surprised that it's been three months since I've posted anything . . . Health crap again! Three years after chemo and radiation I took a nose-dive  . . . and after taking control of my health things are slowly turning around.  Nuff said . .. Art does heal! I've returned to my love of altering photos and signed up for a course with Sebastian Michaels that has brought excitement back into my life. 


Wonderfulicious Wednesday!
Flowers on a trailing succulent plant.
Elements: image of Blue Kino rock, Monarch butterflies, 
and a texture layer.

March is full of losses and has been since my dad passed away 16 years 
ago this month. A stillborn grandson, an ex, and my guy  have followed
over the years. . . and five years 
ago mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. 
Getting thru March is challenging but every March I seem to rally
and take on new projects; it's like I'm led into them. This year is no
exception so when a bunch of $1.49 daffodils nearly threw themselves
into the shopping cart I knew there was a reason. JOY! The color yellow
is so uplifting, begging to be photographed. And one
things leads to another.

I tend to create series of a subject.
The top one is the original.
Elements: three layers of texture and
text from a card my remaining sent
me on my dad's birthday, March 4th. 

Ever since my darkroom days back in the 80's of working
in Black and White I haven't been able to
leave a photo alone. I have no idea 
why I'm compelled to take an image 
and alter it but I'm
grateful for Apps and Photoshop.

This image is a combination of two images
and two texture layers. The Agave Stalk Bloom
is part of a series I will blog about soon, and
the butterfly was extracted from a busy

Tarquinia, Italy, 2009. A grab shot as we drove through
the village. At the time I knew the image would end
up altered in some way. 

Elements: A scan of an acrylic painting, image
of the Red Moon and a sunset photo from 
the patio.

And a photo taken from my bedroom window of a tree on the golf
course on the block behind me. Why? Trying out the 
zoom on the camera when I purchased it nearly 2 years ago. 
Challenge: experimenting with layers on a mundane photo. 
Elements: images of a sunset. the Red Moon and a texture layer.

"The art of healing comes from nature, not from the
physician. Therefore the physician must start
from nature with an open mind."