Zinnias #36B, 37B, 38B, 39B, 41C & 43BR

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August 16, 2014

Zinnias are a genus of twenty species of flowering plants of the Asteracea family, however more than one hundred different plants have been cultivated since crossbreeding them began in the nineteenth century. Zinnias, which is also its botanical name, are native to the scrub and dry grasslands of southwestern United States, Mexico and Central America. Noted for their long-stemmed flowers that come in a variety of bright colors, Zinnias are named for German professor of botany Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759).

Zinnias are a perennial flowering plant in frost-free climates, but are an annual everywhere else. With leaves opposite each other, their shapes range from linear to ovate, with colors from pale to middle green. The blooms come in different shapes as well, ranging from a single row of petals to a doom shape. Their colors range from purple, red, pink, orange, yellow and white to multicolored. There are many different types of Zinnias. They come in dwarf types, quill-leaf cactus types, spider types, ranging from six inches high with a bloom less than an inch in diameter to plants four feet tall with seven-inch blooms. This plant will grow in most soil types, but thrives in humus-rich, well-watered, well-drained soils. They like the direct sun at least six hours a day; however, they will tolerate just the afternoon sun.

If grown as an annual, they can be started early indoors around mid April. Any earlier and they just might grow too large to manage as the plant germinates in only five to seven days. However, these plants are said to dislike being transplanted. If seeding is done outdoors, they should be sown in late May, after the threat of the last frost, when the soil is above sixty degrees. They will reseed themselves each year. Plant the seeds a quarter-inch deep, covered with loose soil. For bushier plants, pinch off an inch from the tips of the main stems while the plant is still young.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Lilies #187BR, 184C, 185C, 183C, 182B, 186C & 181B

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August 9, 2014

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family. There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, not all are true Lilies. Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies. True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well. This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow. They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level. Their only requirement is well-drained soil. Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well. An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

An Open Letter To President Barack Obama

August 9, 2014

The following is a copy of my letter to President Obama regarding the dismal state of America’s rapidly aging and deteriorating infrastructure system;

August 8, 2014

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20048

Dear President Obama,

Driving up to London this past weekend with my neighbor, on our way to Wal-Mart in search of their end of season discount perennial flowers, we noticed that State Route 42 was recently tarred and chipped. I told my neighbor that for a state route, this was pitiful. This relatively inexpensive way to temporarily extend the life of a deteriorating blacktop highway was what county engineers did to lightly traveled back roads. For a county engineer to do so on a state route is deplorable.

For a very long time now, this nation’s roads have been in terrible condition. The American Society of Civil Engineers, in their 2013 Report Card For American Infrastructure, gave an overall grade of D+ for the country’s infrastructure, with a grade of D for our roads. The engineers estimated that America needs to spend $3.6 trillion dollars by 2020 to upgrade our infrastructure to a “good” status, yet funding is anticipated to be half that amount.

I told my neighbor that I have written over the years that the best way to put America back to work, with good paying jobs is to rebuild our entire infrastructure system. I told him that when rebuilding the roads, we should replace all the existing sewer lines and bury all the electrical and telephone lines, going as far as to running fiber optics.

Yet, all Congress can do is to pass a somewhat temporary bill to fund the Highway Trust Fund through May of next year, mainly in the attempt to prevent a twenty-eight percent cut in federal highway funding. This nation can go to war seemingly every other week, all the while our country is falling apart at the seams. And Congress is content to watch it crumble.

Disgraceful!

Sincerely,
Steven H. Spring

C.: TalkingLoudAndSayingNothingParts3And4.WordPress.com
Speaker of the House John Boehner
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Rob Portman

Lilies #167C, 176C, 172C, 164C, 180B, 168C, 170B, 177B, 169B, 173C & 165C

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August 2, 2014

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family. There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, not all are true Lilies. Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies. True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well. This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow. They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level. Their only requirement is well-drained soil. Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well. An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Twenty-Five Thousand…And Counting

IMG_5000ARBC(WM)

July 26, 2014

Five days ago, I reached a milestone, that being the twenty-five thousandth photograph I have shot with my relatively new camera. Because digital cameras (assuming all digital cameras do so) number every photo taken, one always knows exactly how many you have shot. When I was looking to replace my thirty-three year old camera last summer, I was originally looking to buy a used one. However, after considering that I would need to buy a battery and charger, and pay taxes and shipping for both them and the camera, I discovered that I could buy a new one for about the same amount of money. While checking out used cameras, I always wondered how the sellers always knew exactly how many photos were taken.

One might say twenty-five thousand photos, nearly every one that of a flower, just might be a bit obsessive, and if you consider that I did not take a single photo during the winter months, that number appears to be just that (I will admit to having a very serious case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I received the new camera on June 5th of last summer and shot the last photo of the year on October 18th. I started shooting flowers again this spring on April 9th. As a rough approximation, this works out to more than three thousand photos a month, or slightly more than one hundred photographs every single day, the equivalent of three rolls of film. That number is just an average though, as there are many days that I do not shoot any pictures, because of rain or nothing new in bloom. Since I now shoot in both JPEG and RAW format, thus actually getting two photographs for every one taken, this number becomes even more impressive, or should I say compulsive.

When I am out shooting, I can quickly shoot a couple hundred photos in no time. Back in the old days, that being prior to last year, I would normally shoot about a dozen rolls of film all summer. However, I can now shoot about twenty-five hundred photos per memory card for about the same amount of money that I would spend on a single roll of film and processing. Shooting flowers can be very difficult. Even the slightest breeze will cause a flower to sway mightily back and forth. And the closer you get, the more they appear to sway. I always shoot four or five photos of each shot, changing both the aperture and/or speed each time in the attempt to get one great photograph. I then review each photo, deleting the bad ones. Thus, at most, I might keep seventy-five percent of what I shoot.

And, if truth be told, I have shot an awful lot of incredible photos since finally going digital!

Steven H. Spring

Lilies #162B, 161C, 158C, 154B, 155B, 150B, 149B & 163B

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July 19, 2014

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family. There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, not all are true Lilies. Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies. True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well. This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow. They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level. Their only requirement is well-drained soil. Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well. An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

The Continuing Saga In The Life And Times Of Miss. Rose

Iris #120D

July 12, 2014

Earlier this summer, I did some yard work for Miss. Rose (for those interested in a little background story relating to her, see my earlier post entitled A Red Rose For Miss. Rose). I came home with a rather large cache of flowers, including two large clumps of irises. Because my garden space is quite limited and the gardens are already quite full, I knew before leaving her house that I was going to give these clumps of irises to two neighbors, both of whom I helped get started with their own gardens this spring. And after all, these were most likely just your typical irises, the basic light blue/dark blue (I’m colorblind, so the typical iris might be light purple/dark purple).

A couple of weeks later, I was walking by one of the neighbor’s yard when I saw that his iris had a single bloom. And when I saw his bloom up close, I realized that I had made a huge mistake in giving him this flower, as it was the most beautiful iris I have ever seen, a gorgeous yellow bloom that seemed more eloquent than the typical iris. When talking to Miss. Rose a few days later, I happened to tell her this story. As soon as I mentioned a yellow iris, she knew immediately what I was talking about, as she told me that she had wondered what had happened to her yellow iris.

I was telling this tale to the other neighbor, and he ask if Rose wanted the iris back. I told him, f*ck Rose, I wanted it back. My neighbor has offered to give back his iris to Rose, but a gift is a gift. Besides, he lives right next door, so it’s not as if I cannot photograph it next year when it blooms again. And, as I told him, if he ever moves, that iris will be mine, once again.

This iris was planted about two feet away from the front wall of my apartment building, underneath the overhanging roof, which hangs over the wall by a couple of feet. Because of the design of the building and the angle in which it sits, at that time of the year (this photo was shot on May 25th), the garden area did not receive any sun until later in the day, which made photographing the flower somewhat difficult. Making it even more complicated was the fact that the bloom was only about one foot off the ground, which resulted in the photographs being somewhat dark. However, thanks to modern technology, and with a little tweaking of the color and brightness levels, I think this photo turned out pretty good.

I did learn a very valuable lesson, that being never give away any flower unless I know exactly what it is!

Steven H. Spring