I love you yellow

By Catherine Keefe

Seven weeks ago, my kind and funny next door neighbor died, leaving behind his wife of more than 50 years. A few days after his funeral, two small green plant shoots burst through the dirt of an empty flower pot lining their driveway. “I don’t know what’s growing there,” his widow, Anne, told me when I pointed them out. “I’ll just let them grow and find out.” My neighbors were citrus and avocado ranchers, raising their family on an orchard. They had a reverence and delight for growing things.


Today, two sunflowers face the sky, bobbing on stalks rising more than six feet high, petals carressing each other in the light morning breeze. “Now I know who planted them,” Anne says. And with a quiet smile she turns her face toward the sun.

Surprise someone today. Leave a small note or gift to be discovered when you’re not there.

For more “Yellow” images, check out The August Break, 2015, a community challenge to “Live inside each moment,” by checking #augustbreak2015 on Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr.


Never Just a Rose

In the words of Shakespeare, “. . . a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” and I say it would look as beautiful too. Roses, and other flowers as well, make wonderful photographic subjects. That’s just another reason, beside the usual, I enjoy the gift of fresh flowers.

sidelit roseUsing a window as a sidelight, creates an interesting play of shadows and highlights. In Photoshop, by adjusting the brightness/contrast levels the shadows and highlights become enhanced. I took the brightness down and added more contrast. Just for fun – my idea of fun anyway, I decided to try processing differently. This time a deep blue photo filter at 25% luminosity was added and the brightness turned up and contrast brought down,  creating a softer effect.sidelit roseOne of the great characteristics of flowers is the translucency of the petals and leaves. which makes using back lighting rewarding. 

Position yourself so that the flower is between you and your light source; in this instance the sun. This brings out the details in the petals and leaves. The tiny thorns on the stem became highlighted also. If you like, you can let a bit of the light source shine through for a different feel.

backlit rose

Sunflowers with their large showy flowers are another one of my favorites. Here, I wanted to see how a soft, out of focus background can be achieved with a zoom lens. The first photo was taken with a zoom lens set at 80mm with an f-stop of 4.0.

sunflowerThe background, especially those flowers closer to the sunflower, are fairly in focus. When zoomed out to 105mm and stepping in a little closer (the only changes).

sunflowerEverything in the background becomes velvety and out of focus, also known as a bokeh effect. This makes the subject stand out. Having the aperture open as wide as you can is another factor that helps create the bokeh effect. If you have a kit zoom lens and your aperture will only open as far as 4, or 5.6, zooming in will help achieve that bokeh effect.

According to Gertrude Stein,  “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

Loveliness extreme. . . ”

I will keep trying to capture the beauty here in the backyard.

~ Sue