How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

iPhoneograpy Class

On Saturday I took a class at Fairchild Botanical Gardens on iPhoneography. Since I have started writing this blog I have been researching cameras to help enhance my photography. God knows it could use some help sometimes. When I read different blogs on the internet one thing that really stands out is how beautiful some of the photography is in so many blogs. Many years ago when my children were younger I did take a few photography classes. At the time I was totally into scrapbooking. For many years, as the children were growing up most of the pictures blended together, Christmases, Birthdays, etc. all looked alike. When I started scrapbooking I was more aware of taking better pictures. I do think my photography improved. I have never owned an SLR or DSLR camera. I came very close to buying one this summer. Then I saw this class advertised in the newsletter for Fairchild Botanical Gardens. I decided that I would wait and take the class to see what I learned, since I take most of my pictures in my backyard with my iPhone. The nice thing about the iPhone is that it is always with you, it is very accessable. I hardly ever go into my backyard without my phone. I believe that one day the point and shoot camera will be obsolete, and my concern about buying a more expensive DSLR was, would it be accessable when I needed it. When I was reading about the different SLR cameras, quite often the iPhone was rated as one of the best cameras. I have learned that the iPhone is actually a powerful and artistic tool. It’s like having a camera and darkroom right in your pocket.

In preparation for the class I needed to download several applications for my iPhone. There are over 10,000 photography “apps” available. For this class I needed to download Hipstamatic, Perfect Photo, Dynamic Light, Blender, HDR+Camera, and PhotoStudio. The best thing about the class is that we had the gardens as our background. What a beautiful place to take photos. It wasn’t a beautiful day outside, as par for the course this year it was raining. There was a tropical low and a cold front that had stalled over South Florida, so again there was a deluge of rain coming down. It was raining inches per hour. Luckily, the weather did clear just long enough for us to go outside to take some pictures.

The instructor for this class, Shirley Drevich was very informative and her photography was amazing. So what are these “apps” all about? First of all I had no idea that these “apps” were so readily available. Welcome to the world of digital photography. I was truly amazed that my iPhone could provide such powerful tools. Basically from what I understood, Hipstamatic provides different lenses, film, and flashes for hundreds of different effects. According to Wikipedia, Hipstamatic is a digital photography application for the Apple iPhone. It uses the iPhone's camera to allow the user to shoot square photographs, to which it applies a number of software filters to make the images look as though they were taken with an antique film camera. The user can choose among a number of effects which are presented in the application as simulated lenses, films and flashes. Several of these are included with the application, while others may be acquired through an in-app purchase. Hipstamatic is part of a retro trend in photography, which has seen a rise in the popularity of cheap and technically obsolete analog cameras (such as Lomography and Polaroid instant cameras), as well as software filters and smartphone software that emulate such cameras.

The class continues next Saturday when we will learn to blend some of these effects to create and enhance our original photography into artistic photography. Here are a few of the pictures that I took at the garden that day. I will also show you the original photo and then the enhanced photo. Since this was all new to me I am not totally sure that you will be able to see the difference, but I think you can. The original photo taken with Hipstamatic is enhanced by itself. I think you will be able to see the differences.

I look forward to next week’s class and I hope it helps my photography for my blog.

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