Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In Their Prime

Last night I attended the first session of a Master Gardener sponsored plant photography class. Brian and Shirley Loflin, authors of Grasses of the Texas Hill Country, are teaching the course. A lot of the technical talk about sensor size, TTL metering, and histograms flew over my head. My Nikon D40x is my first SLR, and the learning curve is pretty steep. I have learned the basics of depth of field, ISO, and white balance so next time I'll have room in my brain to comprehend the more advanced concepts.

What I did understand easily was choose the plant in its prime. I do appreciate the value of less-than-prime specimens, and I think Brian and Shirley would agree that beauty can be found anywhere. But what they were emphasizing, especially for their books, is that if you are going to show a specimen of a plant then by all means pick the best-looking one!

And if you have to do a little grooming to make that best one stand out, then do it. Just try to return the area to how it looked before you took the picture if you aren't in your own yard. If your weeds are the offending ones, then you are free to pull them out. You're also always welcome to pull a few of mine!

Very few of my plants are in their prime currently. But I think the rock rose is pretty darn close. I've made my peace with my passionflower vine that isn't purple, especially now that it's blooming regularly. (Although I have hedged my bets on that love and have some purple passionflower vine cuttings rooting.)

I don't know whether Brian and Shirley would consider this photo one of a plant in its prime, but I love its prime potential.


  1. The pavonia looks beautiful in the photo, Vert - you obviously know your way around the camera!

    We bloggers usually post the most flattering photos of our flowers, wanting to hear the Aaahs and Oooohs, but then we have to back up and tell the truth when someone gets into the nitty-gritty of how they actually grow. With my point-and-shoot the photos aren't that fancy, but that SLR may turn you into a flower-wrangler, Vertie! Like the food-wranglers that make all the recipes in magazines look many times better than in real life.
    Can't wait to see what you do with tomatoes ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. Vert, I certainly could use some camera tutoring myself, and it looks like to me you are a quick learner. It's interesting about your passionvine; my first glance at the photo made me think "Oh, shoot, it isn't purple", then I looked at it again (before reading your own comments about it). The more I looked at it, the more I enjoyed the uniqueness of it - the white, blue and purple (how it looks on my screen, anyway) is striking and somehow more classy than the original purple. Though I love the original purple, too - I'm jealous you'll have two of them. My yard is too shady for any. Have fun with your class!

  3. 'm jealous of you taking the class. I wasn't going to make 2 of the dates, so I didn't sign up, but I know you'll pick up tons of information. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts on the class.

  4. Vert,

    I remember taking a photo class with my first slr camera 30 yrs ago! Now we have digital and it is another ball game. It is amazing to me what we can do now; even with a pretty simple point and shoot digital.

    It's a pretty plant no matter it's color!

    Have fun in the class!