Tag Archives: Flowers

Space to Create

There’s a new space in my studio that I am enjoying so much.  When we first looked at this house and I saw this room, this corner was taken up with two hair washing sinks.  It was a hair salon.  But  in my mind I could see what it could be for me.  The office got set up fairly quickly but the studio in the corner took a bit longer. A bit short of a year later, and that vision has come to life.   This is a wonderful thing!  It’s set up at all times and I can pop into the studio and create for a few minutes or for hours, often the latter.  🙂

Two LED studio lights are easy to work with since they are always on, as opposed to the strobe lights I used to have that flash a burst of light.

I have so many ideas of what to put in front of those lights!

A few of the images that I’ve created thus far.  These are straight out of the camera.  I’m still pondering how to finish them but am very pleased with the initial results.  I’ll share what, if anything I do to enhance them.

A space to create, is a beautiful thing!!

Walk along the Middle River

One afternoon recently, I had the pleasure of spending a hour or so along the banks of the Middle River that runs near my home, through Augusta County in Virginia.  This time of year it was just exploding with all the beauty and possibilities of Spring.  It was so soothing to walk along the dirt road that follows the path of the river and hear the water running over the rocks.

While the views of the river are lovely, I am more drawn to the small details along the way. The bank along this particular stretch of the river was awash in wildflowers just making their appearance for this year.  Many of the wildflowers were ones that I was not familiar with because they don’t grow in New York state where I lived for so long.   I’m looking forward to revisiting this spot many times during the year to see how it changes.

The Middle River, near Verona, VA.

The first Bloodroot flower I’ve ever seen.

I loved the way these tree roots framed another Bloodroot plant.

The flowers really do look like little pairs of pants on this Dutchman’s Breeches plant.

Cutleaf Toothwort gets its name from it’s historical use to treat toothaches.

Virginia Spring Beauty is most aptly named.

It was too early in the bloom for me to know what this shrub is but I loved the airy patterns that the branches created in the afternoon sunlight.


April Snow


We woke up to a couple inches of snow the other day.  The cherry tree that had just surprised me with blossoms earlier that week was covered in snow.  It looked like a pastry chef had delicately and artfully placed frosting on all the blossoms.  It melted quickly once the sun came out but the way the light danced around the snow and the blossoms begged to be photographed. The last image doesn’t show the cherry blossoms but the forest, with bits of new green just showing under the light frosting of snow. It was a lovely morning!

A Glimpse of Spring

I was going through my image files today, getting prepared for an exhibition that I am applying for (more about that another time).  My files are full of images that I haven’t done anything with yet, just waiting for their time to be noticed.  Sometimes, when I create images they don’t really speak to me at that moment in time.  I have learned to be patient and revisit them at another time.  Not always, but often, the images will speak to me months or years after I’ve created them.

As I was reviewing image folders, I found several different groups that had a similar point of view.  They were all taken at ground level and very close up, sort of like an ant’s view.  So I began to put them into one collection and see where that leads.

Perhaps because we are on the cusp of spring, these four images particularly appealed to me today, so I thought I would share them with you.  Meanwhile, I will continue to think about the idea of shooting with the perspective of an ant.

Fine art photography of flowers in Yellowstone National Park.

Flowers of Yellowstone 2

Some more Yellowstone flowers today.  Last week I shared some Yellowstone flowers that are thriving in difficult spots.   This collection is just a random collection of  flowers that we encountered during the week we spent in Yellowstone  and Grand Teton National Parks.  As it was early June, there weren’t yet meadows filled with flowers but rather spots of flowers appearing here and there.

As I mentioned last weekI mistakenly thought I could identify all these flowers through the internet when i returned home.   I’ve identified those that I could in the captions.  If you know what any of the unidentified ones are,  let me know in the comments.

Next week’s post with share images where I played with my favorite technique of swooshing the camera to create some impressionistic images in Yellowstone.

Be sure to click onto the images which will open the gallery and bring them up larger. 

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.


Open to Delight: Summer Part Two

How have you been delighted recently?

This is the second installment of Summer Delights.  In last week’s Open to Delight post I shared several images of times I was delighted in the past two months.  There were so many that I decided to split them up and share some this week as well.

All the images this week have something to do with nature and wildlife.

While I was at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for a week-long photography workshop, I  was walking back to my room one evening and discovered this robin’s egg in the middle of the sidewalk.  There were no trees overhead and nearby so it was a bit odd that this egg was sitting, unbroken, in the middle of the sidewalk.  I kept it safe and warm for a few days but it was obvious that it was not going to hatch. The shape and color are so lovely, my mind is playing with ideas for properly photographing it.

Summer Delights 11-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 11-©GSHaile

While at the workshop in at HWS, these baby barn swallows greeted us each time we passed through the door to our room.  The parents had built a nest on top of the sprinkler that was directly over the entrance to our suite.  Each time we went through the door the babies would peek out at us and the parents would swoop down and scold us for being too close to their babies.  On the last day of the workshop, we walked out our door and discovered that the babies had decided to join the parents and fly away.  I just love the looks on their faces!

Summer Delights 12-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 12-©GSHaile

Have you even seen a squirrel totally chilled out?  I didn’t know that was possible.  Squirrels are the epitome of constant and frantic activity and chatter.  But one day, I looked out my office window and noticed this squirrel just hanging out on top of this birdhouse (we suspect it’s a squirrel house most of the time).  He stayed like this for at least 20 minutes, at one point actually hanging his paws over the side in total relaxation. Wonder if he was delighted to be getting an opportunity to relax?

Summer Delights 13-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 13-©GSHaile

Another moment that delighted me was watching this wren flitting back and forth among the three houses.  It appeared that she had taken up residence in all three.  Or maybe she was a bit like Goldilocks and was testing them out to see which was ‘just right”?

Summer Delights 14-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 14-©GSHaile

Why is it that we rarely take time to see those gems that are right nearby us?  The Root Glen ( a garden and arboretum named for the Root family) at nearby Hamilton College is one of those places for me.  It’s  less than 2 miles away and every time I go there, I wonder why I don’t visit more often.  I did take an hour or so to wander through the gardens and play with my camera one summer day.   The garden was in between the lush bounty of summer and the fire of fall but I delighted in just being there and enjoying the moment.

These blossoms are in the onion, Allium, family and I was able to isolate the one blossom with a very shallow depth of field.

Summer Delights 15-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 15-©GSHaile

The Bee Balm, Monarda,  was just about done for the year, but I liked the look of this one spend flower head and the contrast of the fuschia pink with the green background.

Summer Delights 16-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 16-©GSHaile

How can you not be delighted around puppies?  The monks of New Skete are world famous for breeding German Shepherd dogs.  When I led my first photography retreat  at New Skete Monastery, the monks were kind enough to let us see the nursery where a litter had been born just 3 days prior.  There was also a group of 4 week old pups and a litter of 7 week olds. Brother Gregory brought out two of the oldest puppies and let them run and play while we photographed.  Everyone, including the puppies, was most delighted!

Summer Delights 17-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 17-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 18-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 18-©GSHaile

It’s fun to write these posts and revisit some of the moments when I was delighted.  It makes me remember even those that didn’t make it onto a memory card other than the one in my head. And it’s fun to anticipate what the Open to Delight post may hold in a month or so.

In what ways do you think you be surprised by delight in the coming weeks.?  We just need to be open to it!

Retreat: Part Two

This week I share a few more images that I created at the first Seeing with New Eyes Photography retreat.  In last week’s post, I shared about my dream of leading a retreat for photographers and how that dream came true.

Here are just a few more of my favorite images from my time at New Skete Monastery while leading the first advanced retreat.  

As you may see from the first three images, I really enjoyed playing with a very shallow depth of field to create beautiful bokeh.

Oregano has this beautiful blossom that the bees just love.

Oregano has this beautiful blossom that the bees just love.

With an extremely shallow depth of field, just the edge of this leaf is in focus.

With an extremely shallow depth of field, just the edge of this leaf is in focus.

This Echinacea blossom is beautiful even in it's fading.

This Echinacea blossom is beautiful even in it’s fading.

The texture of the bark on this beech tree was quite interesting.  One of the exercises the retreat participants were given was to search for interesting textures in their surroundings. I joined them in the search and really liked this particular texture.  Reminds me of an elephant’s leg.

Very interesting patterns in the bark of a beech tree.

Very interesting patterns in the bark of a beech tree.

Because the first retreat was with advanced photographers, we did quite a bit of Photoshop work.  I shared with them how I create mandalas with photographs.  The beech bark texture created this most interesting, monochromatic mandala.

Beech Tree Mandala_©GSHaile

Beech Tree Mandala_©GSHaile

A beginner’s retreat is scheduled for October 2-4 at the monastery.  Perhaps you’d like to join us?  Click here for more information.

A Retreat: Part one

For a few years, I’ve had this dream to lead a retreat for photographers.   The retreat would focus on getting away from the noise of our everyday lives in order to nourish our capacity to see, to be fully present to the world around us, using the tools of photography.   “Seeing with New Eyes:  Women’s Photography Retreats”, my dream, became reality a couple of weeks ago.  Four other women photographers joined me at the guest house of New Skete Monastery for two days of retreat

This first retreat was designed for intermediate to advanced photographers.  Each of the 4 women who joined me have photographed professionally.  So this was not about exposure modes, or f-stops, or shutter speed.  These women are very comfortable with a camera and how to use it. (A beginner’s retreat is planned for October.)

But images are made in the mind and soul of the maker before anything is ever done with the camera. We have to stop to really see what is in front of us.  Then we can create the images.

Much of our time was spent practicing the art of slowing down and noticing.  I, just as much or perhaps more so than others, can also fall into the habit of not “seeing” when I am too busy with musts and shoulds.  So I appreciated the time to just stop and appreciate the beauty at my feet.  The images here (and some more next week) are a few that I particularly liked from the many I created while at New Skete.

I took the opportunity to play with a new combination of lens and filter that produces this incredible bokeh that is in the first two images of the Queen Anne’s Lace.

Queen Anne's Lace prior to  full blossom.

Queen Anne’s Lace prior to full blossom.

A meadow full of Queen Anne's Lace sparkles in the sunlight.

A meadow full of Queen Anne’s Lace sparkles in the sunlight.

Using camera movement to create interesting images is always fun for me, and I played with that to create the image of the birch trees.

Birch trees lit by the evening sun create a cool abstract by moving the camera while the shutter is open.

Birch trees lit by the evening sun create a cool abstract by moving the camera while the shutter is open.

The eerie looking house benefited from some fun Photoshop play to bring out it’s ghostly qualities.

I wondered if this house was haunted and then learned that is was used as a chicken house for many years.  Ghosts of chickens?

I wondered if this house was haunted and then learned that is was used as a chicken house for many years. Ghosts of chickens?

Notice how the word “play” showed up in each of those image descriptions?  Taking or making the time for play is one of the goals of these retreats.

Play is an important component in creativity.  

Next week, I’ll share a few more images that I created during the Seeing with New Eyes advanced retreat.  If you’d like to see some of the images created by the photographers who came to the retreat, see the albums on the Haile Fine Photography Facebook page. 

Summer, Roses, and Mandalas

Summer is in full swing.  As much as I whine about winter here, I believe there is no more beautiful place than central NY in June.  

I’ve been enjoying the sunshine, even the rainy days, the soft breezes that filter in through all the open windows and doors, the lush green landscape that reminds me of Ireland, dining outdoors, and so much more.

Summer usually brings vacations for most people.  For me, it also brings learning and gathering with other photographers.  I’ll be heading to Hobart and William Smith Colleges for PPSNYS Workshop.  I’ll also be leading a retreat for women photographers at New Skete Monastery.

One of the activities that I have planned for the retreat is sharing how I create mandalas from my photographs.  In preparing for the retreat, I wanted to check the instructions and Photoshop actions that I developed to make sure they would made sense to other people.

I chose this summery yellow rose image as my source image.  The rose appears as a mandala already, don’t you think?

The results of my testing are these sunny, yellow, summery mandalas below.  They each start with a pie shaped section of the rose image and that is multiplied  6, 8, 12, or 16 times in Photoshop.  (Can you tell how many sections are in each of these mandalas?)  I then enhance certain areas of each mandala that I feel needs a bit more “oomph” (that’s a real artistic term, right?!).

Enjoy the sunshine-y feel of these mandalas.   I hope you’re basking in summer and that you take time to learn something new this summer.