June is probably one of the best months in the garden with such beauties as lupins, peonies and roses in full bloom. Thanks to my friend, Marian Ryan, for the beautiful lupins.
A change of style for me as I usually prefer to use natural light.  These more dark and moody arrangements  are lit with studio lights.
Peonies from the garden. I think this variety is called "Shirley Temple". Here they're presented in a classical style. The pedestal was rescued from a skip with the owner's permission.
Iris Hollandica
These are Dutch Irises or "Iris Hollandica". They came in a mixed packet - mainly yellow and white with some blue and yellow flowers. They were photographed indoors using studio lights. In post-processing I gave them a botanical look.

A delicate arrangement of purple irises and pink tulips complemented by light blue wisteria flowers and greenery sits elegantly in a glass vase. The soft pastel colours create an ambiance of serenity and the composition evokes a romantic feeling.



Orange Ranunculus

A vibrant orange ranunculus or Persian buttercup flower with its delicate satin-like petals unfolding in a lush display. Here I have blended 2 different photos of the same flower and changed the opacity of the second flower to give the final result that 'double flower' effect.
Magnolia Stellata
A delicate magnolia stellata branch with several blooming flowers and fresh buds is captured against a soft, textured background. The white and pale pink petals have a fragile, translucent quality, lending a serene and poetic atmosphere to the photograph.

Magnolia trees are magnificent and can grow to great heights. Many are too big for my small garden. However, all is not lost as this variety 'Magnolia Stellata' is suitable for a small garden.



Blushing Lady 
Blushing lady is a sunset-flamed soft rosy-pink tulip, blending to soft yellow on the petals' edges. It's like a burst of sunshine in the spring garden. Photographed on a Lightpad.



Anemone
A delicate purple anemone flower with long, slender petals radiating around a bright yellow centre, perched atop a slender reddish/brown stem against a white background. The petals exhibit a gentle gradient of color, becoming more translucent towards the edges.


Clematis Alpina
A vase with a pattern of circles and squares holds a bunch of purple clematis alpina flowers with green leaves extending outward. Beside it, a glass bottle with a bird-shaped stopper complements the composition.



Happy Easter
My tulips are just coming into flower and these beautiful soft pink tulips blossomed in time for Easter.
The pair of pink tulips with hints of white edges are beautifully captured against a softly textured pastel background. The flowers exhibit a delicate gradient of color and are shown in full bloom with their green stems and leaves elegantly framing them. 

Wild Violet
This is regarded as a perennial weed in the garden but what a pretty weed!
Daffodil Day 2024
Cancer organisations around the world use the daffodil as a symbol of hope for all people affected by cancer. Daffodils mark the return of spring and new life.
For all those, including family and friends, who have received a cancer diagnosis or who are undergoing treatment. May you find care, compassion and support in all those you meet on the journey.
For all those who have lost loved ones to the disease. May your memories bring you comfort and peace.
For those who have survived cancer. May your healing continue to give you quality of life and may your journey be an inspiration and a source of hope to other cancer patients.
For all those who work to bring healing to cancer patients. May they be blessed with wisdom, knowledge, and skill as they tirelessly help others.

A Triptych of Magnolias in all their splendour. They are an arresting sight with their magnificent blossoms.

Magnificent Magnolia
A delicate branch of magnolia flowers is displayed against a gentle, light blue background. The blossoms are predominantly white with soft pink gradients and appear almost ethereal in the soft light that seems to illuminate the petals. This branch is courtesy of a neighbour. I do have a small magnolia tree but it is only in bud at the moment.



Spring Bouquet
A little spring bouquet of daffodils and tulips especially for International Women's Day and Mothers' Day




Orange Tulips
I love finding vases and bottles that complement the flowers in the arrangement. I bought the tulips with the vase and bottle in mind.


Tulips
Shop bought tulips in purple and white. My garden tulips are not in flower yet. The vase is tulip -shaped and the other accessories were chosen to complement the flowers.



Daffodils and Pansies
I'm often asked where I get the vases for my flower arrangements. The local charity shops are a great source for props of various kinds. I was immediately attracted by the shape of this vase and it looks pretty with a simple arrangement of dwarf daffodils, pansies and vinca from the spring garden.
Iris "Katharine Hodgkin"
These dwarf irises are lighting up my windowsill with their golden yellow petals tinged with blue. Irises are named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow and have been revered as a symbol of power since ancient times. They represent faith, wisdom and valour.


Snowdrops - Plúiríní Sneachta
As one of the first flowers of spring, snowdrops often symbolise new beginnings, hope, rebirth and the ability to overcome challenges. 
"And thus the snowdrop, like the bow
That spans the cloudy sky,
Becomes a symbol whence we know
That brighter days are nigh ; ” - George Wilson





Simplicity and Elegance
Sprigs of almond blossom in a jug standing on a pedestal. Love the simplicity and elegance of the composition and the soft natural colour tones.

The Workbench

 I have a small selection of old tools that are great to photograph. I'm not as DIY person, in case you get the wrong impression.  This composition on an old bench was light painted using a torch/flashlight.
My friend, Anne, loaned me this vintage Singer sewing machine for this shoot. It belonged to her great grandmother and is a family heirloom. Different lighting setups. The first is studio lights and the second is light painted using a torch/flashlight.
I'm experiment with different lighting setups. Here is the same composition photographed 
with different lighting setups. Textures have been applied in post-processing. Do you 
have a favourite?
Festive Fun
Having some fun composing some still life scenes with different  seasonal decorations.
Generally light painting is done in a completely dark room. I usually do this work at night time when there's no ambient light to contend with. Today I tried to replicate those conditions but during daylight hours. I built a little shadow box to block off the light. I'm happy with the results.
YELLOW
These yellow bowls caught my eye in the shop. I knew I'd find a use for them. 
Autumn Scene
A seasonal still life with pumpkins, toadstools, berries and walnuts. The composition was light painted with a torch/flashlight. Exposure of about  20 seconds. 



Pewter Jug
Trying out some new props that I brought recently. They lend themselves to a classic still life. Grapes, apples, quince, lemon, lime and mango on a pewter plate and matching jug/pitcher. The red velvet cloth on the rustic table adds to the classic look.


This set I call "Gossiping Pears". Can you imagine what they might be saying - "Wow! Peachy!" ?
Following on from a very inspiring and informative presentation by Polina Plotnikova on Flower Portraiture and Still Life Photography to Kilkenny Photographic Society I decided to put what I learned into practice. I like the final result but the wine bottle maybe a bit too big for the composition. 
The results of the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2023 Still Life Competition are in. I had 4 entries, 3 were shortlisted and these are my results. A Finalist means being placed in the top 6. Congratulations to Cristina Wanjura from Germany who was awarded 1st place for her still life of the "Vegetable Kitchen" and to all the other finalists and placed winners. The full gallery of winners can be viewed here - www.igpoty.com
Recently I designed some new backdrops for my flower photography and had them printed on vinyl matt material. Here are 2 of the designs with the same flower  composition of white, red and orange dahlias with a lily flower called Schizostylis.
Dahlias
September is Dahlia month. This year I grew some dahlias in large pots. They've done reasonably well but not many flowers. My wife's cousin donated some from her garden so I could capture their beauty. I love the variety and the colours.

A classic still life arrangement of fruit in a basket on a table. The composition is lit by a torch/flashlight. Textures were used in post-processing to give the photograph an Dutch Master look.

Cosmos is one of my favourite annual flowers. I've sown many varieties from seed over the years - Sensation, Cupcake, Sweet 16 and Purity. They just keep on giving right up to the first frosts. This one was from a mixed pack and I just love how the petals are so pleated and crinkled.
As my pears mature their colour and texture change and mellow. Again the compositions are light painted with a flashlight/torch to replicate the look of the Dutch Master paintings.
Classic pears and pan
Classic pears and pan
Classic Pears and green Jug
Classic Pears and green Jug
Pears Dutch Style
I have been waiting a long time to get some pears that weren't uniform in shape. Love how these pears bulge in all the right places. The composition was photographed in a completely dark room with the light of a torch/flashlight illuminating the composition. This is known as light painting and I use it to create a look that replicates the style of the Dutch Masters.
August marks the beginning of Autumn in the Celtic Calendar. This goes back thousands of years and is based around the agricultural year. However, September marks the start of Autumn in the meteorological calendar. Whichever point of view you take on this determines how you see the seasons. Certainly the weather at the moment is very autumnal and on one of my walks I did a bit of foraging and gathered some berries and fruit that I associate with Autumn.
Greeting Cards
This is my new range of greeting cards. 10 different designs and blank inside to write your own greeting. Suitable for all occasions. They will be on sale during Kilkenny Arts Festival from 11th - 20th August or contact me by email.

Sunflowers

These lovely sunflowers from the garden were photographed indoors in natural light. The weather outside was terrible with wind and rain. They added a little sunshine and joy on an otherwise dull day. They are uplifting and a sign of hope and positivity.

Pick them or lose them. With the wet and windy weather you can enjoy the flowers from your garden with a little indoor arrangement.
An arrangement of summer florals such as cosmos, sweet pea, anemone, pelargonium, mallow, sidalcea and cornflower
Still Life with roses and fruit.  The roses include "Schoolgirl", "Rachel" and "Boscobel". The colours in the fruit, peaches and apricots, complement the colours in the roses.
Roses from my garden. They just keep giving. And in to the garden I go to lose my mind and find my soul.
This lovely arrangement includes a soft peach/apricot rose called Rachel, combined with penstemon and "Purple Pimpernel" sweet pea.
Fragrant Roses

The June garden is lush with fragrant roses. This arrangement includes Gruss an Achen, New Dawn, Rachel and Perpetually Yours. Enjoy the summer garden


Summer Bounty
A beautiful arrangement of summer flowers from the garden including foxgloves, lupins and peonies. Very reminiscent of the cottage garden.
Past Perfect
These tulips I had used for another still life. When they were past their best I threw them in the compost bin. Whatever way I looked at them I decided to rescue them for one more performance. There's beauty in every stage of life.
Flatlay
My first attempt at a flat lay composition. With ranunculus and polyanthus petals in a pinky peach hue.
Something to uplift the mood when 
"winter lingers in the lap of Spring."
An arrangement of Spring Blossoms. Here I gave the image a painterly look by overlaying some textures on the flower and using a layer mask to remove textures from main part of flower arrangement. 
Forget me not or Myosotis
Forget-me-not flowers symbolise true love and respect. When you give someone these tiny blooms, it represents a promise that you will always remember them and will keep them in your thoughts. They are also considered a symbol of fidelity and faithfulness. The Forget me not flower is the symbol representing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
Cowslips and Primroses
Thanks to my friend Marian who gave me these beautiful flowers from her garden. They remind me of childhood days when these grew naturally in the nearby fields.
Heavenly Lilac
I would be hard pressed to name my favourite flower as I have so many favourites. However, I would have to place lilac near the top of the list. Lilac and Cherry Blossom bring back childhood memories. 

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