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My photography tends to be seasonal. When the garden is in full bloom I'm eager to capture the details of each blossom through the lens. But when it's cold and dreary I'm less likely to grab the camera and go exploring my corner of the world.
I also deal with the problem that plagues most avid photographers who shoot digital images. File after file of photos build up on my computer getting harder to sort, search and enjoy. It's a lot like those heaping boxes full of photos I had in my youth (back in the days of film, prints & slides). Well actually, it's quite a bit worse. Clutter happens when you don't have to keep buying film and you can shoot 700 photos in an afternoon.
It looks like Adobe Lightroom 4 is going to change things in a big way for me. Lightroom lets me organize and easily access all of my images. It also lets me quickly fine tune exposure, color and cropping while leaving my original digital image file intact. And it makes everything I do with photos so much faster and more efficient. I can't believe I've never tired Lightroom before.
Lightroom is going to be a huge help with my work, but it is also encouraging me to have fun with utterly pointless photographic play time. Here's an example.
After finishing my last garden shoot I was sitting on the porch, sipping tea – pointing the camera here and there and clicking for no other reason except that digital film is cheap.
Look! It's a dormant winter garden, water barrel and a shed!
But later, with just a few seconds of tweaking dials in Lightroom it is a nostalgic look at a corner of rural Appalachia.
And look! It's a bunch of rusting binder clips holding our vegetable netting to an overhead wire.
And look, it's my favorite old oak tree!
And some other trees!
And more trees!
And iris foliage!
None of these photos are all that special, but I like them. They are the kind of photos I like to keep in the family photo box.
Without Lightroom I probably would not have done anything with these images. The time spent to process them and organize them would have been too much. And the extra work of resizing then and uploading them to In Bloom This Week would just never have happened. With Lightroom, though, I can process the images in a flash, select a handful that fit with a story, and have everything processed and uploaded without it being a big production.
Digital cameras gave me the photographic equivalent of free film. Lightroom is giving me something that's a lot like having my own person speedy processing lab and a personal organizer too. This is going to be fun!
We have had some very cold weather this month, but the general pattern for January has been a very cold night or two followed by a few days of unseasonably warm temperatures.
The butterfly bushes (buddleia) are still putting out fresh growth on the mild days. Usually they are fully dormant at this point in the winter.
Most of my butterfly bushes are seed grown, sown two years ago using the Winter Sowing method. I'm hoping that this year's extended growing season and higher than normal ground moisture is helping them develop nice deep roots that will pay off in an abundance of flowers this summer.
Not that I'm complaining about last year's butterfly bush display. They did great for young shrubs, and then followed with some serious seed production. Look at all of these seed pods.
And look at how many seeds come flying out of all of those seed pods! I wonder how many of them will sprout in the garden this spring.
Strange weather! That's getting to be a recurring theme, isn't it?
Earlier this week we had a few nice days with temperatures in the mid fifties. We also had an unexpected January gully washer. The rains only lasted about a half hour but the downpour brought us 2 inches of rain onto already soggy ground (that same ground that hasn't dried out properly all year.)
If we hadn't done the creek restoration work this past spring we would have had a repeat of the flash flood. But with our new creek we had no damage – just photo and video opportunities.
Here's a video look at the flowing creek: