Tag Archives: flower photography

Blooms and Bittersweet


As we approach the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada, two things come to mind. Two things I love. One is flowers. The other is my Mum. I love the month of May because, in this part of the world, it is a time of rebirth. The trees are nearly in full leaf after the speedy burst of their buds. Our local wildflowers such as Trilliums, Purple Violet,  Dutchman’s Breeches, and a whole host of others are sporting their showy blooms. Two of my favourite cultivated flowers – Lilacs and Lily of the Valley – are also on the cusp of showing their fragrant and delicate flowers. The vibrant greens, blue skies, and busyness of the squirrels, birds and other creatures are also part of this time of rebirth. So, May is my month – my favourite month of the  year.


For me, May also brings with it, some mixed feelings. Mother’s Day is in May. My parent’s wedding anniversary is in May. And, my Mum was born in May. When I see the beautiful blooms, so abundant during this wonderful month, I can’t help but feel a little bittersweet about them. They remind me of my Mum. She passed away two and a half years ago. Not only was she my best friend, but she was my soul mate. We used to describe ourselves as ‘two peas in a pod’ because that’s exactly what we were. In recent years, as I became middle-aged, our relationship blossomed, like the flowers she loved so much.


Although we were mother and daughter, we had become more like sisters. In fact, for the 15 months that my Mum was ill and in hospital, and I spent time with her nearly every day, we had several occasions where new nurses would comment on how wonderful it was that Mrs. Ball’s sister would come to visit her daily. The new nurses were quickly informed that it wasn’t her sister visiting, but her daughter. Mum and I laughed when we heard this. And I told Mum that maybe some daughters would be offended by this (given our age difference), but I told her to enjoy it (implying that she looked young for her age, which she did) and that for me, it was actually one of the biggest compliments I could receive. She and I looked a lot alike, had the same sense of humour (i.e. zany, wacky) and the same vibrancy and love of life. During that last 15 months of her life, we didn’t even have to speak to know what each other was feeling, we were so ‘in tune’ with each other. Many a day we shed tears together, coping with the lousy situation that life had dealt my Mum. But after a few tears and some hugs, our sense of humour would overtake all and inside of 15 minutes, we’d be laughing, joking and enjoying each others company. It didn’t matter how bad the day had been. After a few minutes together, we’d be smiling and having fun.


I know that I am supremely and exceptionally lucky to have had such a wonderful mother. I always knew it, even from a young age. My Mum was my role model, my hero, my biggest cheerleader, and my best friend. And as we aged together, we became soul mates. The most difficult thing I have ever had to face in life is saying good-bye to her. Losing the other pea in the pod. My Mum and I, together, made the decision to end her treatment to hasten her passing as there was nothing more the doctors could do for her. It was the right thing to do, to bring her peace and end her suffering. It was what she wanted and I wholeheartedly supported it, despite it tearing out my heart. I held her hand for 52 hours, until she took her last breath – an act that was both the hardest thing I have ever done and the greatest gift I could ever receive.


The blooms that surround me this time of year bring me happiness and sadness – bittersweet. I love the sight of them, they are  cheerful. They also make me happy because they remind me so much of my Mum.  She was an avid gardener and absolutely loved flowers. They were her thing. Two of her favourite flowers were Lilacs and Lily of the Valley. As a kid, when I went for walks up at our cottage, I would always stop and pick my Mum a handful of flowers – Daisies, Brown eyed Susans, Bladder Campion, Queen Anne’s Lace and Yarrow – which she put in a small, red vase that my brother made from clay during school art class. And so, being surrounded by these May blooms also brings me a little sadness – a reminder of her physical absence from my daily life. A reminder of a broken heart that will never truly heal. But these sad feelings are more than balanced by the incredible gratefulness I have for the time we had together and the abundance of wonderful memories I have of her.


And so, as the blooms surround me, Mother’s Day comes and goes, and my Mum’s birthday comes and goes, I smile and think of her, but with tears not far behind, if even for only a moment. I celebrate the incredible times we had together and all of the wonderful, happy memories by growing flowers all around my yard. And every time I see a flower in bloom, I think of her and smile.









Filed under Flowers, Nature, nature photography, photography, Wildflowers

A Sea of Tulips – Photo of the Week

On Saturday I taught my fine art flower photography workshop. All I can say is WOW! Fabulous group of participants, flowers and colour galore, great light (cloudy with light rain and wonderfully vibrant colour saturation) and a wonderful day! Read more about it and see one of the images of our sea of tulips in my Photo of the Week.

Click on the thumbnail below to see 44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week.


11 May 2013

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Flowers, Photo of the Week

Anticipating Spring – Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week is back. I’ve been fighting the flu for the past two weeks and haven’t had much energy to do except get myself through my work days. But I’m starting to feel a bit better and so finally, back to photography. Phew! I was going through withdrawal. 🙂

This week’s Photo of the Week is a portrait of a tulip, taken last year during Ottawa’s world-famous Tulip Festival. The beds of tulips provide a sea of colour and are a photographer’s mecca. Most of us here in Ontario have had enough of winter and are eagerly awaiting spring. So I thought I’d post something to help keep our spirits high, knowing that the lush greens and colourful blooms of spring are not far away.

This year I’ll be teaching my fine art flower photography workshop on May 11th, during the tulip festival. We’ll take advantage of the colourful blooms to learn different creative techniques for producing beautiful fine art flower images.

Click on the thumbnail below to see and read about this week’s Photo of the Week from 44th Parallel Photography.

16 March 2013

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Flowers, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography, plants

Three Very Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Photographer and Nature Lover

Cane-02-iconHere we are, one sleep away from Christmas day. It’s a busy time of year and sometimes we find ourselves on the cusp of Christmas but still needing a gift or two. Don’t panic! If those last gifts are for either a photographer or nature lover, here are a few last minute gift ideas. And since they are downloads, you don’t need to worry about running out to a store and battling the crowds of  shoppers. You can simply purchase them, download them and then email the link or file to the person you’ve bought it for. Or, put it on a USB stick for them. Easy! But also great gifts.

Here’s an absolutely fabulous app that any photographer or nature lover would be happy to receive for Christmas:

POLE TO POLE by Paul Nicklen.

Paul Nicklen's app, Pole To Pole

Paul Nicklen’s app, Pole To Pole

http://paulnicklen.comPaul Nicklen's app, Pole To Pole

http://paulnicklen.comPaul Nicklen’s app, Pole To Pole

Paul is a wildlife and conservation photographer from Canada and produces some of the BEST wildlife images I’ve ever seen. He does a lot of underwater photography, producing both unique and visually stunning images. I recently purchased Paul’s app and was absolutely blow away by it! It would be an understatement to say that his photography is stunning. Some of his underwater images are mesmerizing, such the image below of  penguins swimming.

Image by Paul Nicklen

Image by Paul Nicklen

Not only is Paul a phenomenal photographer, but he is also a gifted storyteller. What I really love about his app is that he supports his great images with stories about what he had to go through to make the image. He also includes natural history in his writing, to give readers a better understanding of the species he photographs.

Paul Nicklen, Pole To Pole

Paul Nicklen, Pole To Pole

There are also some great video clips showing how Paul goes about getting his images  – all I can say is that this guy is dedicated! What he has to go through to get those amazing images!

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Paul Nicklen, behind the scene....

Paul Nicklen, behind the scene….

You absolutely cannot go wrong with this app  as a gift. Even if the person you are buying for isn’t a photographer, I still think they’d really like this.

Image by Paul Nicklen

Image by Paul Nicklen

Another app that you just cannot go wrong with is:

Jim Brandenburg’s, Chased By The Light

Jim Brandenburg's app

Jim Brandenburg’s app

This first came out as a print book, but I think the app is monumentally better. Not only does it tell the story of Jim’s adventure and self-challenge of only exposing one frame of film each day for 90 days, but many of his images are stunning.


I also love that Jim’s app is interactive in that there are pages with imbedded video. It might include a short clip of him explaining why he made a certain image for that day or what the challenges were in making that image.


There is also additional information imbedded in some of the images. You simply click on the “i” to bring up the additional info.


And, if you love Jim’s images so much that you want one hanging on your wall, you can click on a link that will take you to his website where you can purchase a print. You also have the ability to share one of the images by clicking on the Facebook link.

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I would highly recommend this to nature photographers, but also anyone with  an interest in nature.



And finally, I couldn’t end this blog post without including my own new e-book 😉

Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips.

If you are buying for a photographer or a flower-lover who also enjoys photography, this is the book for them! I describe some very straightforward techniques for creating beautiful fine art flower photos.

My new e-book, a 109 page downloadable pdf, available on my 44th Parallel Photography website.

My new e-book, a 109 page downloadable pdf, available on my 44th Parallel Photography website.

It’s packed with vibrant images and many examples of putting the techniques into practice.

Sample page from Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips

Sample page from Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips

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I’ve also got a large section on creative flower photography.

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For anyone who loves flowers and loves to capture their beauty with a camera, this is a must-have.

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Filed under Amphibians, conservation, Conservation & Environment, Digital Photography, Featured Wildlife Photographer, Flowers, Landscape, Mammals, Nature, nature photography, Opinion, Wildlife Photography

Photo of the Week – For The Love Of Flowers

This week’s photo of the week from 44th Parallel Photography is about flower photography. This week I published my first e-book, a book about fine art flower photography. The process of putting together that book meant that I had to look through a lot of images. But doing so reminded me of my photographic journey. I’ve come a long way in six years. It also reminded me of my sources of inspiration. Check out my Photo of the Week to learn who my influences are for my flower photography.

Click on the thumbnail below to see the Photo of the Week.

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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Flowers, learning, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, photography, plants

Photo of the Week – Purple Aster

This week’s Photo of the Week was inspired by the last wave of blooms in our local wildflowers which is happening right now. New England Aster and its relatives are in bloom in meadows and along roadsides. They provide us with the last burst of colour before the muted greys and browns of November are upon us.

Click on the thumbnail below to see the Photo of the Week.

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Fall, Flowers, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography, plants, Wildflowers