“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
This quote from Mary Oliver’s poem “Sometimes” is one that often get shared. I like its simplicity and straightforwardness considering the vastness of the scope (it would be hard to be so direct for something as small as how to install wifi on your phone). It works for me, I am repeating it to myself, trying to be mindful and to follow the instructions…
It’s my reminder to be in the moment, with a beginner’s mind that allows itself to be astonished at whatever catches its attention and to share it. For example, look at these flowers I saw at the Botanical Garden. Don’t they look a little like tall hats? And how gorgeous is the winding stem holding them together with its copper green tint? Just beautiful:)
Just a few words today, because I’ve spent too much time at the computer this weekend, working on my writing assignment in the hope that my genius would turn up and give me a hand (in vain!). So I leave you simply with this photo of a beautiful camellia, of which there are many at the Botanic Garden in Cologne. I love how the silky light green outer petals open for the explosion of the flower, the flurry of pink speckles and dark pink patches on the curves of the petals. Wishing you a good week!
When I was in Cologne visiting my sister recently, we spent a beautifully warm and sunny afternoon exploring the Botanical Garden. I was particularly excited by the many fern varieties on display, each one more intriguing than the one before.
I’ve mentionned before both how much I love ferns and how they are my photographic nemesis, so it was great to have some practice in trying to capture their beauty.
While I knelt down here and there in this fern paradise, my sister patiently wandered by my side and was a perfect assistant, placing herself in such a way that no direct sunlight fell on the plants if needed and looking up the species’ names on the ‘plant shazam’ app.
I really love the tightly wound extremities, like tentacles, ready to unfold and stretch out into the world, as well as the different textures and colours.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #127
Recently during a walk with two dear friends, we discovered there is a lovely garden with medicinal plants in the Beatrixpark in Amsterdam Zuid. I am so glad that after nearly 13 years of living in this city, I still keep stumbling upon hidden gems by chance. Surrounded by hedges, it is a peaceful space in the park and there are some benches to just sit and relax, a perfect spot to soak up the quiet atmosphere and listen to the birds.
There’s a wide array of plants and short explanations of what they can be used to heal. Featured above is lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis), a plant traditionally used to treat lung problems and chest infections. It was said that the spots on the leaves looked like diseased lungs… to me it just looks like a beautiful pattern:)
One thing I love about photographing plants is that there is just such a profusion of possibility to explore and play with. With the seasons passing, the plants and their textures evolve so much. There are new buds appearing and fresh shiny leaves, perhaps flowers, rough bark, apparent roots, unusual seeds and pods, rugged surfaces, uncanny spikes, odd stems, gorgeous color combinations as the light evolves and changes the aspect of the backdrop…
I am astounded that even without wandering far there is always more beauty and unusual details to be found, an infinite amount of inspiration. Look at these star-shaped pods that I came across in the Amsterdam Hortus a few weeks ago, aren’t they delightful?!
Botanic gardens and greenhouses are my happy place. I can easily entertain myself for several hours, slowly making my way along the pathways, mesmerised by the hundreds of different species and their unique details. A couple of weeks ago, I spent the end of the afternoon quietly observing the cacti in warmth of the desert greenhouse at the Amsterdam Hortus. Here are some of the details which I liked the most.
This cactus looks to me like a sea-urchin, stripped naked of its spikes, revealing a pattern reminiscent of a scottish tartan.
These flowers are a delight, the bright colours of their petals popping out against the parched surroundings.
Look at these incredible spikes, lined up all along this plant, it seems like each tip has been handpainted in reddish brown.
The symmetry of the Fibonacci sequence spiralling outwards from the heart of this cactus, growing drier and spikier as it goes…
Spring time in the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam is enchanting! The garden is coming back to life with buds and blossoms everywhere you turn, from the sprawling beds on the ground to the trees, peering out from in between rocks and on flush bushes.
I love how the changes with the seasons means every visit is really different. This time we took a tour, led by a guide who shared her knowledge and fun facts about different plants around the garden.
But my favorite part was afterwards, walking along the winding paths with my camera, unrushed, spotting colours and textures of the new bursts of life, emerging under the sunshine, reaching towards the light.
When, despite the sunshine, it got a bit chilly, I went to my favorite spot in the greenhouse to warm up and admire the captivating cacti… but I’ll write more about that soon;)
I really enjoy sending and receiving snail mail, so I’m very excited to announce that a selection of my photographs are now available as postcards and greetingcards on Etsy! I’ve kept the design simple, so the cards work for any occasion and there is plenty of space to write. I love the idea that these cards will be given for ordinary moments or special occasions, and sent by mail all around the world!
If you are interested in purchasing some of your favourite pictures, please head over to my Etsy shop. When buying a set of cards, you are helping me spread my art into the world and take the first steps to grow my independent small business.
Next I will be looking into making larger prints, let me know if you are interested in a specific photograph and what format. In general, please contact me if you have any questions and I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions:)
Sunday as I cycled home from the bookclub, I noticed some bushes covered in what looked from a distance like small yellow tassles, against the blue sky. After picking up my camera at home, I took a short walk back through my neighbourhood until I reached the square, located between four roads, where spring is starting to show in the nurtured flower beds.
I took a closer look at those branches to find them covered in what looks like cheerleaders’ pompoms made with crepe paper, encouraging ravenous pollinators to come visit them.
Though the purple crocusses popping up through the grass are more striking, I love the colour combination on these ones, perfectly suited for a 70s kitchen.
On branches that were bare just a few days ago, tiny leaves are sprouting, deep lines etched into their surface like the grooves on your fingertips after lying for too long in the bath, and clusters of tiny yellow flowers spread their pistils like antennas searching for signals in the warm spring air.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #112
During my recent walk in the forest near my home town, at one stage I came across lots of ferns that had been cut down by the side of the path. I was mesmerised by their colours and shapes, which formed these wonderful dense and intricate patterns.
Ferns are one of my photographic nemeses, I love how they look (from shy, bright green ferns in the forest undergrowth to massive native Australian ferns that are more like trees) but always struggle so much to capture them in a way that does justice to their splendour…
I’m grateful to have had a chance to observe the beauty of these ferns and their patterns before they shriveled up and became part of the forest floor, it was the perfect opportunity to practice photographing them:)