Vivid yellow Protea | Floral Photography


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.

Yellow pincushion flowers against dark green foliage
Elegant yellow Protea flowers stand out against dark green foliage on a rainy spring day.

Protea flowers symbolize hope and transformation, and these golden arching forms of the stamen catch the light beautifully on a dark, moody day. Find this image and more fine art botanical, floral compositions in my “Flowers & Plants” archive gallery.

Late winter rain | California

Sitting at my desk here in wintery Winnipeg, Manitoba, it is easy for me to get nostalgic for the winter landscape of my childhood in coastal Northern California. The wet, rainy season would often start in late October; gentle showers after a crackling dry summer would turn the golden-brown hills green in only a few weeks. After a month or two of frequent rain storms, the yellow wildflowers add their vivid colours to the lush landscape. By January, winter on the California coast is often the most vibrant season of the year.

Raindrops on a window, scattered across the late winter green and yellow of wildflower fields in coastal California

This image was captured recently while stranded in traffic on a highway blocked by downed trees and power-lines after a particularly gusty, dangerous winter storm. The wind blew heavy rain sideways across the green and yellow fields, and the raindrops on the car window created an interesting pattern in the foreground of an impressionistic scene.

As this image was captured with my phone camera, it is only available in smaller print sizes, but the bright pop of colour and the unexpected textural details make it a unique, beautiful image when printed. You can find this textural abstract and many more like it in my Small Prints Archive.

I am acclimating to the frosty, white snow and brown muck of Canadian winters, and I enjoy the shift in perspective that comes with experiencing the seasons in a new place, but I will always miss the emerald green landscape and cloudy skies of these California winters and I look forward to visiting during the rainy months. How does winter look where you are?

Paphiopedilum maudiae | Orchid Photography

While familiar in form to most of us, orchid flowers retain a sense of the profoundly exotic, especially those blooms of the Paphiopedilum variety. Their distinctive slipper shapes and range of colourations make them very attractive orchid photography subjects too.

Orchid photography of a pale green and white-striped lady slipper orchid dripping with mist (Paphiopedilum maudiae)
A pale green and white-striped lady slipper orchid drips with mist (Paphiopedilum maudiae)

These distinctive orchids have been collected from their forest floor and canopy habitats of Southeast Asia, and are now widely cultivated and hybridized. I have never managed to keep a Paphiopedilum maudiae orchid happy among my small houseplant and orchid collections, but I have been lucky to see many of these dramatic flowers at orchid shows and greenhouses.

Orchid photography of a pair of elegant yellow and pink flowers with unusual fuzzy textures alone their long horizontal petals
A pair of unusual flowers, these lady slipper orchid flowers have hairy fuzz along their petals

This pair of fuzzy pink and chartreuse lady slipper orchids are some of my favourites, with both stripes and spots in varying shades and petals bristling with tiny hairs; striking and delicate all at once.

I have collected many photos of orchid flowers over the years, and have gathered the most stunning specimens into a gallery of Orchidaceae images, with some selected orchid photography images available as fine art prints.

  

 

Agave Study

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.

Wellington Botanic Gardens, New Zealand

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.

Pukekura Park | New Plymouth, New Zealand

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.

Delphinium Rain

Summer gardens here in Saskatchewan are abundant with flowers, and these pale blue and lavender delphinium blooms are from a volunteer plant in the one flower bed I have managed to tend this past year. It is a surprise every spring, as having not planted it, I easily forget that such a lovely plant is hiding, dormant between the chives and tulip bulbs all winter.

This particular stem of soft petals was broken by a heavy summer downpour during an afternoon thunderstorm. I looked out the kitchen window and saw it drooping heavily, and after the lightning subsided, went outside to see if it could be salvaged. The stalk was torn nearly through, and the flowers were drenched in rain. I cut the spike free, gently shook most of the water off, and put the two foot tall tower of pastel blooms in a vase.

The clearing storm provided soft, diffused light and seeing how some tiny waterdrops still clung to the flower petals, I ran inside for my camera. This was a wonderful opportunity to use my macro extension tubes, and the exercise of shooting manually, leaning in and out ever so slightly to perfect the plane of focus, was an enjoyable reminder of the photographic techniques I learned when shooting film decades ago.

A selection of these lovely summer flowers have been added to my fine art prints gallery titled Bloom and the entire collection of rain-soaked delphinium blossoms can be found in the APK Photography archive gallery Flowers & Plants.

Agave at Sunset | California Desert Detail

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.

Agave detail, square
Blue and green silvery agave leaves in desert sunset light, California

This print has been added to my growing collection of square prints, and looks stunning printed on Lustre or Metallic paper. Find print prices and options here, and more botanical prints here.

Aqua Ocean Water Abstract

At certain times of year the color of the ocean waves below the cliffs of Big Sur take on a vibrant, blue-green hue, laced with swirling white froth. I have seen this gorgeous color most often in the late summer, when the fog has given way to endless blue skies and the air is quiet and still in the warm sunshine.

WM_wave_abstract_01
Swirling aqua blue-green ocean water, viewed from the cliffs of Big Sur

I captured this particular image from a warm ridge in Big Sur, looking down into a cove of constantly moving waves. The otherworldly color churned from light to dark against the rocks below, and I could have watched the ocean all afternoon.

This beautiful moment of abstract blue ocean texture and movement is available as an art print in my archives, at apkphotography.com

Pastures of Heaven

After the bare requisites of living and reproducing, man wants most to leave some record of himself, a proof, perhaps, that he has really existed. He leaves his proof on wood, on stone, or on the lives of other people. This deep desire exists in everyone, from the boy who scribbles on a wall to the Buddha who etches his image in the race mind. Life is so unreal. I think that we seriously doubt that we exist and go about trying to prove that we do.”

John Steinbeck (1902 – 1968), The Pastures of Heaven

Enjoyed a beautiful hike in the neighbourhood recently, and the hills are starting to show a touch of green.  It was a difficult and dry winter, and with these signs of growth, I will be eagerly awaiting the first bloom of wildflowers.  I often joke that I live inside a postcard, and whether one is taking in the surging waves of our magnificent coastline, or the evocative interior landscape of hills and valleys, Monterey County is a wonderful bit of paradise. 

Find more Monterey photography in the APK Photography archives!

Happiness is a butterfly…

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

More butterflies, flowers, and quiet moments here…

February Blues | Wildflower Photography

Wildflower photography, water droplets adorn a pale blue flower after an early spring rain in California
Water droplets adorn a pale blue wildflower after an early spring rain, California

This time of year always feel a bit like limbo. With each glimpse of warmer spring weather, a sizeable snow storm or cold week of rain becomes a dreary seasonal setback. The coastal California climate is mild, and winters tend to be full of green pastures and wind-battered trees. Spring shows itself in small bursts of wildflowers, which emerge after even the shortest spell of warm sunny days. Often this colourful respite is short-lived, as inclement weather can return for weeks at a time.

This little blue wildflower covered in raindrops is one of my favourite wildflowers of early spring. Sometimes laying down in the muddy dampness of a February field is the only way to get close enough to truly believe these fleeting signs of the shifting seasons.

Looking for evocative floral and botanical images from every season? Find my fine art wildflower photography prints and wall decor here.