From recent travels to California, these vivid yellow pincushion protea flowers stood in bright contrast to their dark green foliage. Spotted while on a waterfront walk in Monterey, with blustery spring showers and fast-moving clouds overhead, these fresh blooms were a welcome colourful reminder that spring is just around the corner.
Sharp red thorns, pale green leaves, catching and shaping the bright New Zealand sun in the Wellington Botanic Garden. The variety of geometric shapes and contrasting textures make an agave plant particularly appealing to photograph, and in this image I sought to balance the light and shadow throughout the frame, highlighting the repeating pattern of the scalloped and pointed agave leaves.
This image is the newest print offering in my Botanical Prints gallery, available as a fine art archival print, Giclée Canvas Wrap or Bamboo mounted print. Every print is made to order and custom options are always available; for more information about my print production and finishing options, please visit my Fine Art Print Info page.
Over the years travelling has taught me a few important lessons; I will always pack more than I end up needing, the journey is usually just as remarkable as the destination, and never, ever pass up the chance to spend a few hours in a local botanical garden.
Pukekura Park in New Plymouth, on the west coast of the Taranaki region of New Zealand’s northern island, is a lush jungle of foliage and water. I visited on a quiet Saturday morning in April, and enjoyed wandering the paths as they looped around lakes, past a waterfall, and across the beautiful red Poet’s Bridge, which dates back to 1884.
In some sections of the park, it is easy to forget that one is actually in a bustling small city; the size of the trees and depth of the fern-filled groves were captivating and invited leisurely exploration.
Emerging from a trail through one of these dense forests, a large lily-covered pond is revealed where bright blue Australasian swamphens foraged across the lily pads.
Displayed on the water is a sculpture titled ‘Aotearoa’ by Michael Smithers; Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand, meaning “land of the long white cloud”. A few days after visiting the gardens, while driving south to Wellington from New Plymouth, I saw the namesake beautiful rolling white line of clouds stretch across the landscape.
View more photos from my Pukekura Park, New Zealand experience in my archives, with selected images available for prints and licensing.
On the last day of our New Zealand adventures, we had a short drive to the ferry in Picton at the northern end of the South Island, and wanted one last taste of the amazing wilderness we’d encountered across the country during our two week ramble. Perusing the map and a guidebook that pointed us toward lesser-traveled locations, we spotted a scenic gorge at the Pelorus River bridge. This beautiful spot happened to be on our route, and turned out to be a perfect afternoon to capture a final few dozen frames of New Zealand travel photography.
The path to Te Hoiere river winds through lush forest, ferns and colourful berries, and is shaded by tall trees. While most people seemed to choose paths to the bridge itself, we picked a trail that led a little further up the gorge. It was quiet, peaceful, and we hadn’t even reached the water yet.
Emerging from the forest, we discovered a beautiful crystal clear river, tinted green, meandering through smooth boulders and colorful rocky riverbanks. The texture of the stones, and clarity of the water was so inviting, we lingered in the afternoon sun, soaking up the natural beauty.
I hope to return someday, with the time for a swim. This was a special place, unexpected and just far enough off-the-beaten-path to feel removed from the usual scenic destinations in New Zealand. We found it to be a lovely spot to catch our breath after so many busy days of exploring the country, and a perfect ending to a wonderful adventure.
Luminous blue-green leaves, and geometric, textural details in the soft glow of a desert sunset; this agave plant was an irresistible subject during an evening hike in a high mountain valley between the the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains of southern California.
Of all plants, succulents are among the most varied and unusual to have found a place in my garden. They offer a range of colors, textures, shapes and sizes that make for particularly interesting macro photography.
Lithops plants are native to South Africa, and resemble the pebbles and rocky landscape in which they evolved. They seem to be forgiving houseplants, and bloomed often in the mild coastal climate of Monterey, California.
These two macro images are a Lithops plant at different stages of blooming. The leaves look like pale green rocks, and the flower emerges as a tightly held bud, with hints of the vibrantly colored petals about to unfold as the flower opens.
With an estimated 20,000+ individual flowering species, the Orchid family of plants is considered one of the most diverse and highly evolved forms of life with roots, leaves and flowers.
Orchids exist in every habitat except glaciers, and new species are still being discovered. My encounters with orchids typically take place in greenhouses or at orchid collector expos, and on occasion, in my own home.
Most people understand orchids to be terribly finicky and temperamental houseplants, and for many varieties a haphazard windowsill lifestyle certainly won’t work. I have learned though, through extensive trial and error that there are dozens of orchids that are quite happy to live by a bright window and receive intermittent water and attention, and the reward is always remarkable. With colourful flowers that range wildly in shape and size, just one orchid plant in bloom can transform a room.
I’ve accumulated hundreds of photos of orchids over the years, collected on my website, available for stock licensing and prints. I hope to have the time to research more specific identification for some of the more unusual specimens. In the meantime, feel free to explore the remarkable variety of these exotic flowers!