Category Archives: landscape photography

How I spent the Blizzard of 2011

Joshua Tree

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I’m just about to plant a large portion of my garden – tomatoes, peppers, onions & broccoli – in flats, but am reflecting a bit. My wife & I returned from a week’s vacation in southern California to find more than two feet of snow on the ground. Chicago really got hit hard by the Blizzard of 2011.

We spent quite a bit of time in the desert, particularly the Mojave Desert at Joshua Tree National Park. As rugged, harsh and lifeless as this vast expanse seems to be, the desert is a land of extreme fragility with a very delicate balance. Just like my Illinois garden, invasive species can be very detrimental. Small changes can throw it out of whack. Invasive red brome and cheatgrass can spread fire by covering large areas at Joshua Tree.

Although wildflowers, fan palms, junipers, pinyons, desert willows, yuccas, teddy-bear chollas and other trees and bushes are native here, it is the Joshua Tree that I found most interesting. Early explorer John Fremont described them as “…the most repulsive tree in the vegetable Kingdom.” A Mormon legend says the limbs of the Joshua tree resembles the outstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the promised land.

I find humor in their human likenesses.

It’s sometimes easy for me to forget the value that my garden will receive from all that snow piled up around and over it. Unlike the desert plants we visited, my tomatoes need a lot of water. Although different ecosystems have different requirements for sustaining life, it’s clear that they are all changing and more delicate than I had imagined.

Joshua tree at Joshua Tree National Park


a harsh ecosystem

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Autumn

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.

-Emily Dickinson

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Welcome Spring..

…well, the table is set – with a white tablecloth in the Chicago area. I can put off further digging for a day or two.

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crocuses

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Seeds of Hope

The snow has pretty much worn out its welcome as far as I am concerned but I came upon something interesting today. In the photo below you can see a milkweed seed covered in snow. As cold & snowy as it is, this is a wonderful reminder that there will be small flocks of Monarch butterflies coming this summer. Sometimes hope comes in small, hidden packages.

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milkweed seed

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Welcome… or Welcome Back!

The focus of our blog – photo-synthesis …a photographer tries to garden – will again turn to the garden – mine and yours. We go from the Black Eyed Peas to snow peas. This will never be a “how to do it”  look at anything but rather a “let’s try this thing together and see what happens” experiment.

Those who followed last years version understand that I am relying on help from friends near and far, novices and experts. Yes, we actually depend on information from you for our food!

Again my camera will never be far from me to document the process, the discoveries and the experiments.

I am hoping to include some guest writers this time so don’t be shy about wanting to be included. Just send me an e-mail and let me know what you have in mind. I also intend to invite a couple of knowledgeable gardeners to help us out.

Thanks for taking a look.

Bill

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the old greenhouse

Also posted in experiments, greenhouse, planting, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , |

dpBestflow

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For my photographer-friends, ASMP has announced what has already become my best resource for all things photographic… Take a look at dpBestflow, a site funded by the Library of Congress. Let me know what you think.

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A Nearer Landscape #10

In three days this will be a path for many trick-or-treaters. Again, the weather forecasters call for rain – perfect for vampires and ghosts.

Thanks for taking a look at this group of photos. If anyone leaves a comment that they would like to see some additional photos from this portfolio, I’ll put them up.

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East Harrison Ave.

East Harrison Ave.

A Nearer Landscape #9

The driveway continues to provide a dark backdrop for whatever falls there.

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drivewayscape

drivewayscape

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A Nearer Landscape #8

Many evergreens like this arbor vitae lose their “leaves” too.

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arbor vitae

arbor vitae

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A Nearer Landscape #7

We transplanted an American Beech tree from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to our back yard about twelve years ago. I’ve only seen about three of these in Wheaton.

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beech tree

beech tree

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