09 December 2013
Let me know which you prefer and why.
If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Phoneography Challenge, please contact me.
When I go to a cultural landmark, I cast all expectations aside. This usual behavior is especially true on visits to Longwood Gardens, one of the premier horticultural centers in the United States.
As I crossed the border from northern Delaware to Pennsylvania, the excursion was nearly complete. I was not surprised to see the Gardens’ parking lot lined with cars from as far away as Ontario, Canada. Longwood’s reputation lures, and the year-end displays are an additional calling card to this national treasure.
During some visits I am let down. Even with my “in the moment” philosophy, there creeps into my thoughts all the years of marvelous designs and the unexpected, and I realize that they cannot always reach the apex.
But this year the staff were in their prime mode to stun us with traditional fare and the new for effective visual abundance. Their seasonal theme mixed heritage and legacy with traditional holiday rituals.
The focus is the role of fruit as a mainstay in the Gardens. Since its founder, Pierre S. du Pont, brought apple, apricot, nectarine, peach and plum trees to the estate in 1907, these botanicals have been instrumental to its story.
While the Main Conservancy is aglow in amaryllis, hydrangea, Oriental lily, poinsettia, trees, and wormwood, my very, very favorites discoveries at “A Christmas at Longwood” are: 1. The Floating Apple Tapestry, which is a river of Red Rome and Granny Smith apples that stand in salute to the season. Deep red and limey green snake from one end to the other. 2. The East Conservancy dons an eighteen-foot Douglas Fir, which is covered in almost 200 hand-blown glass pears in green, yellow and red. They mesmerize with their larger-than-life size and girth (10″-12″ in height and 2.5 lbs. in weight). Each were crafted by Cohn-Stone Studios in California, and each reflects the light and images that are captured on its surface. They are gorgeous. 3. In the Music Room “A Holiday Tea” is recreated. The room was built in 1923 for du Pont family parties. Festive decorations take us back to Victorian afternoon teas with petit fours and macaroons and fruit-decorated trees on the sidelines.
In the Garden’s brochure that arrived in snail mail and announced these festive displays, a brief phrase tells some startling facts: it “starts more than 12 months in advance and takes an estimated 5,400 hours to create.” That’s astonishing, but clearly the indoor and outdoor exhibitions rise to that level of effort.
If you are anywhere near the Mid-Atlantic (especially Delaware and Pennsylvania) between now and January 12, 2014, you will find “A Longwood Christmas” worth the effort the trip. Every visual morsel tinkers with time, simultaneously elevating and stilling it.
In the Lens section are five of photographs from my photo shoot. I was drawn to the Amaryllis (‘Hippeastrum Minerva’), because macro isolates and gives heart to a subject. It captures a slice that shows core elements in definitive ways–ways that can focus on the microscopic or raise awareness to the unnoticed. The macro goes beyond, and often detects what we usually cannot or do not see.
Under Longwood’s spell, I found solace and solitude. As speculators gazed, I slipped into small spaces and journeyed back and forth from signature features to trimmings of the season. My cup runneth over with its charm and spirit.
Tip of the Week: Please take a few minutes to click here and view the work of twenty macro photographers. While their use of equipment varies, I find that it is essential to become familiar with other photographers’ work. Each photographer achieves remarkable clarity and scale. Below is an example.
Here are other entries for this week’s challenge:
As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog. To view more about Longwood Gardens, click here.
Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Phoneography Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature
2nd Monday: Macro
3rd Monday: Black and White
4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
So nice to have a small revisit to Longwood – I especially miss it at christmastime. Do they still light the entire street on the way in?? Lovely shots of a Christmas-blooming beauty Sally!
Yes, the nighttime display is breathtaking. See you soon. Thanks.
Amaryllis is my sister’s favorite. Beautiful, captivating, delicate. The hand blown glass Art pieces are just amazing. A perfect holiday cheer! Merry Christmas to you and your family.
I wish that your family and you have a joyous and peaceful holiday. Many thanks.
What an amazing series Sally!! And thank you for the glimpse into the Longwood conservancy and the links to those outstanding macro photographers!
Madhu, my pleasure and thank you for your thoughtful comment. see you soon.
Hans, thank you so much.
I never saw an apple tapestry,
I never thought i’d see one.
Though nothing rhymes with apple tapestry,
I’m glad you’ve now shown me one.
Your poem brought a smile. Thanks.
This is one of the first weeks, where I can’t pick a favorite…they are ALL great…good job.
Laurie, I’m humbled. See you soon. Thanks.
Are these not fantastic! Hard to choose here, but I think I’ll go for the fourth…like the mystery it inspires.
Thank you so much.
Gorgeous Sally. I love the ones of the open flower in all her glory. Just spectacular. The entire series is wonderful and so beautiful. I adore flowers.
Flowers are part of Mother Nature’s gifts, especially for humans who can appreciate their aesthetics as well as their biological functions. Thanks so much.
For some reason amaryllis are a scary flower- so muscular and intrusive. I do like your photos, however, but I’m still scared of amaryllis.
Really, they seem harmless.
My choice would be your first photograph. The inclusion of the stem with the foreground flower plus the contrast with the unopened bud behind it gives a nice sense of a living plant unfolding over time. Possibly too the more diffuse background and the rather lower key colours there help the main flower to stand out better. (Although not in the competition your picture of the Floating Apple Tapestry is very impressive- as is whoever thought of creating such a remarkable display in the first place!)
It is a rather memorable exhibition of nature’s bounty. Thanks so much.
I can’t pick a fave….I love them all!
Cindy, thanks. See you soon.
the second one……… it looks best…… lame, I know but there you go.
Terry, thanks for your comment and visit. See you soon.
If I were near by, a visit to Longwood would be all I would need to celebrate Christmas. The amaryllis is a beautiful flower. I noticed one in the background of an old interview with Nelson Mandela. Did he like them too, I wonder?
Hmmm, that observation makes me feel yet an additional connection to the philosophy of a great humanitarian and human being. Thanks.
Such colour in the midst of such December greyness…wonderful
Oh, I do agree. See you soon. Thanks.
Your journey to Longwood seems to be a very nice Phonographic journey. Nice clicks.
Amar, thank you so much.
I love the second photo!! Beautiful and colorful macro shots. Happy Phoneography Monday to you!!
What a wonderful place to visit in all seasons. Amaryllis is a favorite of mine too and so welcome when most flowers are finished until spring. All of your images today are beautiful but I think #3 is at the top of my list.
The Conservancy was planted in waves of Amaryllis. It is a real treat. Thanks so much.
I love the last photo with the vignette. It makes the image so much more dramatic. But they are all stunning.
I appreciate your comment. See you soon. Thanks.
Hi Sally, your photos are so sharp! I like the first one best. Here’s my entry this week. 🙂 http://uniquesochic.com/2013/12/09/iphoneography-challenge-macro-fir-tree/
Amanda, thanks–happy Phoneography Monday.
Aloha Sally. I like 3 and 4.
I like 3 because the upside down perspective makes the viewer (me) take a closer look. or at least that’s how it worked for me.
4 I like because I’ve always been a focuser on small details of things I look at and explore. The closer in I can look the more wow I discover. I often have difficulty pulling back to see the big picture (although I can enjoy that view too).
It looks like a fun place to visit. Very cool. Aloha.
I’m sure that you must have lush gardens in your world to rival great horticultural centers. Thanks so much.
I like 4 it appears wonder is being born right before my eyes!
Carol, thanks so much.
Lovely photos, Sally; I’m partial to number 3, the striated colors are beautiful. I’m happy to be back to your Monday phoneography challenges too…http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/phoneography-challenge-macrorope-on-the-beach/
Happy to have you back again. I know that you enjoyed your trip. I appreciate your comment. Thanks.
I am taken by number 3 Sally. I like the tilted take on the flower as it abstracts it more and I like the downward movement. I am more aware of the shapes against the background. But my favorite part of your post is this phrase: “Every visual morsel tinkers with time, simultaneously elevating and stilling it.” You find such wonderful depth in your experiences and speak of them so eloquently.
Your comment really touched my heart. Thank you so much.
Beautiful! I started to say I can’t choose but then #4 popped up! It’s my favorite! 🙂
Linda, thanks so much. See you soon.
Hi Sally, I love the Longwood Gardens, have been there several times; even saw the stunning Christmas lighting a few years ago. Here is my entry for this week http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/phoneography-challenge-the-phone-as-your-lens-macro/ Hope you like it.
Amy, you really should try to see the visual festivities. If the weather holds, I’m going to try to visit the night lights, which include the fountains. Thanks.
Very nice shots, Sally. Happy Monday!
Gracie, lovely to hear from you. Thanks.
All nice shots. Have a great day.
See you soon. Thanks so much.
Liked them all but number 4 won out -openness and colour closely followed by number1. Had mine ready to go then discovered they hadn’t been taken on the phone. Back to the drawing board tomorrow.
Irene, will await your entry. I appreciate your comment. Thanks.
Lovely photos, Sally, and just right for a snowy morning. I went a completely different way this week, although I almost had some close-ups of potted grape hyacinths and daffodils that I’d been planning to plant outside before it froze but that began to sprout. 🙂 I brought the pots back in and am anticipating flowers in mid-winter!!
I feel silly, as I never looked up Longwood Gardens and didn’t realize it’s near Philly where our younger daughter’s in art school!! Come spring, I’ll have to make the trip to go!
Janet, do take a day trip there. It’s worth every moment spent to get there. Happy Phoneography Monday.