Tag Archives: Blue

Thriving in difficult spots: Flowers of Yellowstone 1

We usually think of flowers in lush gardens that overflow with an abundance of blooms.  Sparse, barren soil does not usually bring to mind thriving plant life. While some areas in Yellowstone National Park did present that sense of lush abundance, more often, at the time we were there in early June, that was not the case.  I was struck by the presence of blooms in quite harsh environments, appearing to be thriving.  They were such a stark contrast to the surrounding ground.

I’m sorry that I did not pick up a book or pamphlet that identified the flowers in the park.  I, mistakenly, thought that I would be able to Google them when I was home but that has proved difficult at best.

The main message, though, that I took away was these flowers’ abilities to thrive in seemingly difficult spots.  

Next week, I’ll share some more of the flowers that were in bloom in early June.

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.


Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.


Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.


Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.


Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.


Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.


Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.


Patterns of Yellowstone – Water

My favorite patterns in Yellowstone were those made by water.  In the last couple of posts, I’ve shared images of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, both panoramic images of the grand scenes as well as images of patterns created by the trees of those parks.

I am a water person.  Everything about water fascinates me and being near water connects with something deep in my soul.  Water is found in all forms in the parks from the snow and glaciers that cover the high peaks, to the rushing streams and waterfalls, to the steam rising from the hot springs.

Those hot springs provided some of the most interesting colors and patterns.  Some of the colors were present due to the minerals in the water, others were evidence of thermophiles that thrive in hot environments.   Whatever the source, I was fascinated with the gorgeous colors and patterns I saw.

I had a hard time choosing just a few water patterns, so next time I’ll share a few more.

Can you choose a favorite?

Blue Indigo and Bokeh

Blue Indigo, aka Blue false indigo, wild indigo, or Baptisia australishas inhabited part of my garden for several years now.  I bought the plant at a garden club sale, only a few green shoots showing above the soil in the pot.  I had a vague notion of what it might look like but was in a “why not?” mood so purchased and gave it a home near the front of the garden.  It took a few years to reach it’s full glory, but glorious it was!  For a week or two in May the 4 foot high, narrow stems are covered in deep blue, almost purple blossoms.  The whole 3 feet in diameter cluster of blue indigo would sway gently in the spring breezes.  It was a brief ( I actually missed it a few years because of traveling) and oh so lovely show.

One thing that gardening over the years has taught me is how much change is a natural part of gardening and life.  

Last Friday was another of those lessons.  We decided to take out the garden that was home to the blue indigo.  Life now holds too many other adventures that take time away from tending gardens. Eliminating one of the gardens would give us more time for those adventures.

While making that decision, I realized I have never photographed the blue indigo.  I wanted to capture just a bit of the beauty that it has shared with me the past several years.

Before photographing any subject, there always needs to be a decision made as to how best to capture that particular subject.

Just putting the camera on automatic, standing back from the subject and snapping the shutter will most likely result in a simple document photograph of the subject.  To capture the character of a subject, the feeling associated with it, more thought needs to be involved.

For the blue indigo, I knew that I wanted to isolate some of the blooms as well as capture the light, airy quality of the plant.  To do that, I decided to use a lens that would give me really nice bokeh.   Briefly defined, bokeh is that soft blurred quality in the background.  It tends to focus your attention more on the subject but also, for me, gives more emotion to the image.  It often reminds me of my favorite art movement, Impressionism.  

For those interested in the technical details of how I photographed the blue indigo, I used a 50mm f1.4 lens and sometimes added a close-up filter  to capture some of the details.

These images truly capture the essence of the blue indigo for me.  

Blue Indigo-1 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-1 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-2 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-2 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-3 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-3 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-4 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-4 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-5 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-5 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-6 ©Gail Haile

Blue Indigo-6 ©Gail Haile


Happy New Year

New Year Mandala 2015

New Year Mandala 2015 ©Gail Haile

I love to think of possibilities, ideas, and what if’s, not in a worrisome way, but in an “oh, think of all the wonderful possibilities!” way.  I firmly believe that each day is a new start, but the beginning of a new year certainly reminds us to imagine what’s in store.  May this new year lead you to some wonderful new “things that have never been.”

Happy New Year!

Hanging like the Clouds

Sometimes you just need to stop and hang for a while.

As an artist, never mind that, as anyone, there are ebbs and flows to our energy and our creativity.  I’ve learned over the years to not get overly anxious about times when the motivation seems thin.  It will pass.  Looking back, those quiet times have  often just been incubation periods for something new.

While out walking, I was looking up at the evening sky and the clouds and was reminded of a series of images I took several months ago with the intention of creating a cloud panoramic.  I found those images and created this scene that I had in mind when I shot those images.  It’s a very peaceful image to me and reminds me of the wisdom of just hanging out like the clouds sometimes.

Cloudscape   ©GSHaile

Cloudscape ©GSHaile Click to Enlarge

The Sound of Silence

I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in the northern Adirondacks this week.  We were in the Elk Lake – Clear Pond Nature Preserve, 12,000 acre private forest preserve, staying at Elk Lake Lodge.   

It has been years since I have heard such utter silence.  We forget how much noise fills our lives.  As I sit in my office in our home at the end of a cul-de-sac in a small village, you would think it would be quiet.  Yes, it’s relatively quiet, but I can hear the hum of my computer, the click of the keys, a truck making a delivery on our dead end street, my husband moving things in the basement, an occasional plane way overhead, the dryer running downstairs, children playing in the street, and on and on.  Little bits of sound that fill our lives and we, for the most part, are not even aware of them anymore.

While kayaking on the 600 acre private Elk LakeI stopped and just sat in the water and listened.  What I heard was silence, complete silence. It was the middle of the afternoon and I was in the middle of the lake so wildlife sounds were not even apparent.  Utter silence.  I encountered the same thing when we hiked to Clear Pond  (image below) the following day.  It made me realize how seldom, if ever, we hear that.  And I realized, or just was reminded, how good it felt.  That’s been on my mind ever since and I’m now keenly aware of all the little sounds that fill our days.

How long has it been since you’ve heard the sound of silence?

“The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence. The stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective. ”  Mother Teresa

Clear Pond, Northern Adirondacks, NY  ©Gail S. Haile

Clear Pond, Northern Adirondacks, NY ©Gail S. Haile: Click to Enlarge image

Going with the Flow

We’ve all had those times when things work against us.  When we traveled recently to Delaware, even though water scenes are among my favorite subjects, I did not take all my “good” equipment that I normally use to capture those scenes.  There were a total of 19 different family members  gathering that week. I knew that the week was mostly about family so kept it simple and only took my small Canon G-16, a great point and shoot that still allows  a good deal of control with image making.  I also happen to have a waterproof covering for that camera so thought I might get in some play time with that.  I had it so well planned.  🙂

The second or third day in to the week, I went to take a picture and the lens on my camera stuck.  No matter what I did the lens would not open fully.  I determined pretty quickly that I needed to stop trying to get it to work or I could cause further damage.  I was afraid that a grain of sand had made it’s way into the lens mechanism.  I was feeling more than a bit sick. Meanwhile memories were being made so rather than spend time stressing about my camera, I put it away and got back to flying kites and playing in the sand.

The rest of the week, I took just a few images with my phone, definitely not my preferred equipment, but I was just capturing a few moments.  It was a great week with many great memories created.

Our last night at the beach was the best of the week.  It was a perfect evening with gorgeous soft colors to the sky and water.  I admit I was feeling just a bit sad that I didn’t have a camera to capture that softness.  My son-in-law could tell how I was feeling and offered his camera to me.  It’s a great camera and I was quite happy to accept.  Still, normally when I work on images like this, I’ve used a tripod, my Nikon D800 camera, a large lens, a remote shutter and timer, among other things.  Now I had just a camera and one I was not accustomed to at that.  But I was so happy to just play and see what I could make work given what I had.  I took 30 or 40 images playing with 1 and 2 second exposures.  It’s difficult to hand hold a camera for that long of an exposure and not have it just look blurry.  Many of the images were just that, bad blurry images.  With the 3 images below, though, I carefully panned the camera during the exposure, dragging it slowly and steadily across the scene during those 2 seconds.  It seemed, at the time, that this was working but I couldn’t really tell until I received the image files this past week.

Sometimes you have to just go with the flow.  It can be a good exercise in creativity as it forces you to get out of your normal way of doing things and try something new.  I’m glad that I had that experience and pleased that these 3 images match my vision for the scene.  The soft colors and flow capture the mood on the beach that evening.   I will definitely give that technique a try another time.

Beach Flow 1  ©GailHaile

Beach Flow 1 ©GailHaile

Beach Flow 2  ©GailHaile

Beach Flow 2 ©GailHaile

Beach Flow  3  ©GailHaile

Beach Flow 3 ©GailHaile

 When have you had to go with the flow?  Was it a good experience?

PS  My camera was sent in for repair and returned in full working order and it was all under warranty. 🙂

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Get Out and Smell the Flowers

It’s that time of year where the earth seems to be exploding with life and color and energy.  I came across these images that I took a few years ago.  They were taken in a wonderful garden, The Root Glen, near my home on the campus of Hamilton College.

These were taken on June 8.  I only mention that because of it’s proximity to today’s date.  This is a very, very small sampling of what might be in bloom right now if you take the time to go see.  And if you don’t live in my area, surely there is some public garden or area where you could go to take just a few moments and get out and smell the flowers.

Don’t let all this life and color and energy happen without you being even a small part of it.


©Gail Haile_Blue Lupine

©Gail Haile_Blue Lupine

©Gail Haile_Peony Unfolding

©Gail Haile_Peony Unfolding

©Gail Haile_Pink Peony

©Gail Haile_Pink Peony

©Gail Haile_Primrose Blossom

©Gail Haile_Primrose Blossom

©Gail Haile_Primrose Blossoms

©Gail Haile_Primrose Blossoms

©Gail Haile_Primrose Gathering

©Gail Haile_Primrose Gathering

Please let me know where you went and what you saw!

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Cottonwood Tree Mandalas

In the past 5 weeks, I’ve been at home for only 2 of them. It’s a little hard to keep up with myself but it’s given me some wonderful opportunities.

One of those trips was to Colorado where spring was just beginning to think about showing up.  Just prior to spring arriving is when I appreciate the interesting shapes and lines of trees not yet filled out with leaves.  It’s even more interesting when you encounter trees that you are not familiar with, like I did when in Colorado.  On my drive away from the airport I began noticing all these tall, arching  trees with interestingly crooked branches.  I knew I’d want to find some to photograph during my visit.

I learned that these trees are cottonwoods, which apparently are a kind of poplar.  We do have poplars here on the east coast but I think they may be slightly different…something to investigate.

I was hoping for a colorful sky to backlight the branches but on the one day I had time to photograph, the sun merely set without any colorful fanfare.  The crooked branches still created some lovely patterns in this mandalas, though.

If spring has not yet brought leaves to the trees where you are, take time to notice the beautiful shapes and patterns that the trees make against the colors in the sky.



Prints of blog images can always be available.  If you see something that speaks to you and would like to have a print, just let me know.

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Waiting to Thaw

It’s been a very long, very cold winter.  It’s the beginning of March and there are still mounds and mounds of snow and mostly grey skies.  There are a few hints of spring with the occasional flock of robins and the lovely little heads of snowdrops poking up at the edge of the snowbank in the garden. Living in the northern climates, it’s those little glimpses of hope that keep one going at this point.  It seems that we’re all just waiting to thaw, physically and emotionally from the long winter. (more…)