Daffodils #47BR, 44BR, 45AR, 46BR, 45CR & 43BR

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June 27, 2015

Daffodils, whose botanical name is Narcissus, are a perennial flowering plant in the Amaryllidaceae family. Native to the meadows and woods of southwestern Europe and northern Africa over through western Asia, Daffodils were introduced to the Far East by the tenth century and have since been widely naturalized. The Prophet Mohammed referenced the plant in sixth century writings and recorded history date as far back as 300 B.C. With as many as one hundred wild species (the actual number is debated), cultivated hybrids now number more than thirteen thousand varieties.

Known for its early spring bloom cycle, Daffodils are a vigorous, long-lived flower that grows to a height of twenty inches, depending on the variety, with even a miniature version growing only six inches tall. Leaf-less stems grow up in the middle of long, narrow green or bluish-green leaves, producing most often only a single bloom. The flower consists of three petals, three sepals and a central corona, which is often called the trumpet or cup, depending on its size. The flowers are predominately white or yellow, although hybrids now include orange, green and pink.

The plant likes a full or partial sun with slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Bulbs should be planted in the autumn at a depth of three times the size of the bulb. Known as an easy to grow plant requiring little maintenance, Daffodils produce lycorine, a bitter poison that makes the plant deer and rodent resistant. After the plant is finished flowering, let its leaves mature and yellow before topping them off. Cutting the foliage before it ages can reduce the plant’s vitality and longevity. Bulbs should be dug up and divided every few years to prevent overcrowding.

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

Daffodils #26HR, 27GR, 30BR, 29BR, 27IR & 26IR

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June 20, 2015

Daffodils, whose botanical name is Narcissus, are a perennial flowering plant in the Amaryllidaceae family. Native to the meadows and woods of southwestern Europe and northern Africa over through western Asia, Daffodils were introduced to the Far East by the tenth century and have since been widely naturalized. The Prophet Mohammed referenced the plant in sixth century writings and recorded history date as far back as 300 B.C. With as many as one hundred wild species (the actual number is debated), cultivated hybrids now number more than thirteen thousand varieties.

Known for its early spring bloom cycle, Daffodils are a vigorous, long-lived flower that grows to a height of twenty inches, depending on the variety, with even a miniature version growing only six inches tall. Leaf-less stems grow up in the middle of long, narrow green or bluish-green leaves, producing most often only a single bloom. The flower consists of three petals, three sepals and a central corona, which is often called the trumpet or cup, depending on its size. The flowers are predominately white or yellow, although hybrids now include orange, green and pink.

The plant likes a full or partial sun with slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Bulbs should be planted in the autumn at a depth of three times the size of the bulb. Known as an easy to grow plant requiring little maintenance, Daffodils produce lycorine, a bitter poison that makes the plant deer and rodent resistant. After the plant is finished flowering, let its leaves mature and yellow before topping them off. Cutting the foliage before it ages can reduce the plant’s vitality and longevity. Bulbs should be dug up and divided every few years to prevent overcrowding.

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

Gun Ownership In Itself Is Not A Second Amendment Right

June 19, 2015

With the news late Wednesday night that nine people were assassinated while attending prayer services at the historic, two hundred year old Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina by a twenty-one year old man, it saddens me that once again I have to update the below list of senseless, mass murders committed on a seemingly regular basis in the United States. Doing so, however enables me to do what little I can actually do about it, that being to put into writing my disgust with the gun culture in this nation. I can already hear gun rights advocates opining that now is not the time to discuss new, effective gun control laws, as they always do after every horrific shooting. If not now, in the wake of nine innocent lives shot dead while praying, when is the time to properly discuss gun control?

Proponents of gun ownership and the firearms industry cite the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution as the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms. However, these folks all seem to leave out the extremely significant first four words of the actual amendment. The Second Amendment, as passed by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill Of Rights, states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” A well-regulated militia, in this day and age, to me and I think most every educated person would agree would refer to the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the National Guard. Yet, this very important phrase of the Second Amendment is never mentioned by gun advocates. It’s as if those first four words do not exist.

America’s fascination with firearms has evolved into becoming the most violent nation on Earth, with the possible exception of those countries who are presently engaged in actual warfare, which it seems would include this nation as we have been at war (or wars) for twenty-five of the past thirty years. We are arguably the most violent nation in our planet’s history. There is no excuse for any person to own a military assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine clip, yet our politicians who dare have the courage to speak up for sensible gun laws quiver in fear of reprisal from the National Rifle Association. Politicians who do speak out in favor of new gun control legislation face the wrath of the NRA come their next election. To believe that arming every citizen is the answer to curbing gun violence, as the NRA espouses is just preposterous.

Growing up during the hay-day of Westerns ruling television networks, the image I always remember is that the very first thing the town sheriff did when cowboys came into town after a long, hard cattle drive to visit the local saloons was to take away their guns. However, just the opposite is occurring throughout America as more and more cities and states are allowing the concealed carrying of firearms into drinking establishments.

The following is a partial list of mass murders that have taken place in the United States just since the horrendous tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999 that resulted in the death of fifteen students:

Twelve dead in Atlanta, Georgia in 1999,
Six dead in Fort Worth, Texas in 1999,
Five dead in Wichita, Kansas in 2000,
Seven dead in Wakefield, Massachusetts in 2000,
Five dead in Queens, New York in 2000,
Ten dead in Washington, D.C. in 2002,
Six dead in Chicago, Illinois in 2003,
Six dead in Birchwood, Wisconsin in 2004,
Seven dead in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 2005,
Ten dead in Red Lake, Minnesota in 2005,
Six dead in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in 2006,
Six dead in Seattle, Washington in 2006,
Six dead in Carnation, Washington in 2007,
Five dead in Crandon, Wisconsin in 2007,
Thirty-two dead at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007,
Nine dead in Omaha, Nebraska in 2007,
Six dead at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois in 2008,
Six dead in Alger, Washington in 2008,
Thirteen dead at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2009,
Nine dead in Geneva County, Alabama in 2009,
Ten dead in Covina, California in 2009,
Thirteen dead in Binghamton, New York in 2009,
Six dead in Santa Clara, California in 2009,
Eight dead in Carthage, North Carolina in 2009,
Eight dead in Appomattox, Virginia in 2010,
Nine dead in Hartford, Connecticut in 2010,
Eight dead in Seal Beach, California in 2011
Seven dead in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2011,
Six dead in Tucson, Arizona in 2011,
Six dead in Seattle, Washington in 2012,
Five dead in San Francisco, California in 2012,
Seven dead in Oakland, California in 2012,
Seven dead at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012,
Twelve dead in Aurora, Colorado in 2012,
Six dead in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2012,
Twenty-six dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, 2012
Five dead in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2013,
Four dead in Tustin, California in 2013,
Five dead in Federal Way, Washington in 2013,
Five dead in Manchester, Illinois in 2013,
Five dead at Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, California in 2013,
Four dead in DeSoto, Texas in 2013,
Four dead in Lake Butler, Florida in 2013,
Thirteen dead at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. in 2013,
Four dead in Lockport, Louisiana in 2013,
Five dead in Spanish Fork, Utah in 2014,
Four dead at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2014,
Five dead in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2014,
Six dead in Spring, Texas in 2014,
Four dead in Bucyrus, Ohio in 2014,
Five dead at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Marysville, Washington in 2014,
Four dead in Cleveland, Ohio in 2014,
Four dead on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, South Dakota in 2014,
Four dead (a mother and her three children) in Tabernacle, New Jersey in 2014,
Five dead in Morgantown, West Virginia in 2014,
Six dead in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2014,
Four dead in San Francisco, California in 2015,
Four dead in Queens, New York in 2015,
Eight dead in Tyrone, Missouri in 2015,
Four dead in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2015,
Four dead in Washington, D.C. in 2015,
Nine dead in Waco, Texas in 2015,
Four dead in Columbus, Ohio in 2015,
Nine dead in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

This is a staggering list of senseless murders and families shattered, and does not detail the considerable number of wounded in the carnage. What is alarming is that the percentage of Americans who believe we need stricter gun control laws is decreasing. What does it take for a nation to realize that something is desperately wrong with our culture of guns and violence? The NRA has convinced a good number of Americans that President Obama’s hidden agenda is to take away all their firearms. Yet, in the only two firearm bills signed into law by this president during his presidency lessons current restrictions on gun control, contrary to popular opinion.

If a person wants to own a firearm, fine, join a well-regulated militia as required by the Second Amendment. We, as a country always seem to be at war, so there will always be a need for someone who aspires to shoot something.  I see nothing wrong with a hunter owning a few rifles, and have many friends who hunt, but as a general rule, hunters do not shoot their prey with assault rifles capable of firing hundreds of rounds automatically without having to reload. For anyone to have the ability to purchase military assault weapons capable of creating the type of massacre seen in this country time and again over the past fifteen years is asinine.

Be it this latest, senseless mass shooting, tens of thousands of murders committed every year in America’s inner cities or our seemingly endless wars, this is a violent, violent nation.

Steven H. Spring

Tulips #76C, 79DR, 26L, 78BR, 79ER & 44BR

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June 13, 2015

Tulips, whose botanical name is Tulipa, are a genus of flowering perennial plants in the Lily family. With approximately one hundred wild species, native Tulips range from Spain to Asia Minor, including northern Africa. First cultivated in Persia around the tenth century, there are now more than four thousand cultivated species. This plant is further classified based on plant size, flower shape and bloom time.

Introduced to the western world in 1551 by Augier Ghislain de Busbecq, the Austrian ambassador to Turkey, the word Tulip seems to have originated from the Turkish word tulbend, which translates into the English word turban. It is thought that the name came about because of a translation error concerning the wearing of Tulips in the turbans of Ottoman Empire men. Tulips were first imported to the United States in the mid 1800s.

Tulips range in height from as short as four inches up to more than two feet tall. The plant usually has two or three thick strap-shaped, bluish-green leaves sprouting up at ground level in the form of a rosette, though some species have as many as twelve leaves. Most Tulips produce a single flower per stem, although a few species do produce multiple blooms. The cup or star-shaped flower has three petals, three sepals and six stamens, although the petals and sepals are nearly identical. They come in a wide variety of colors, with the exception of pure blue. The colors range from pure white through all shades of yellow, red and brown, as well as those so dark purple they appear black. Several species have “blue” in their common name; however, their blooms have a violent hue.

Indigenous to mountainous locales with temperate climates, Tulips grow best in areas with cool winters, springs and summers. They prefer a full to partial sun, with a neutral to slightly acidic, dry or sandy soil, though they will bloom in almost any soil type with good drainage. Bulbs are usually planted in the autumn, at a depth ranging from four to eight inches, depending on your soil type. Although they will continue blooming annually for several years, the bulbs will deteriorate over time, and will need replacing. A common thought to prolong the life of the bulb is that after the plant has finished blooming and its leaves have turned yellow, is to dig up the bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place and then replant them in the fall.

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

Evolution Of A Photograph: Iris #120H, 120G, 120F, 120E & 120

 

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June 6, 2015

To see the real effect that digital manipulation had on the original image, one should view these five photographs in reverse order.  However, the rather bland original photo would not have caught your eye, would it?  Though this looks as if shot inside my “studio,” this was actually taken outdoors.

Steven H. Spring

Tulips #76C, 79DR, 26L, 78BR, 79ER & 44BR

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May 30, 2015

Tulips, whose botanical name is Tulipa, are a genus of flowering perennial plants in the Lily family. With approximately one hundred wild species, native Tulips range from Spain to Asia Minor, including northern Africa. First cultivated in Persia around the tenth century, there are now more than four thousand cultivated species. This plant is further classified based on plant size, flower shape and bloom time.

Introduced to the western world in 1551 by Augier Ghislain de Busbecq, the Austrian ambassador to Turkey, the word Tulip seems to have originated from the Turkish word tulbend, which translates into the English word turban. It is thought that the name came about because of a translation error concerning the wearing of Tulips in the turbans of Ottoman Empire men. Tulips were first imported to the United States in the mid 1800s.

Tulips range in height from as short as four inches up to more than two feet tall. The plant usually has two or three thick strap-shaped, bluish-green leaves sprouting up at ground level in the form of a rosette, though some species have as many as twelve leaves. Most Tulips produce a single flower per stem, although a few species do produce multiple blooms. The cup or star-shaped flower has three petals, three sepals and six stamens, although the petals and sepals are nearly identical. They come in a wide variety of colors, with the exception of pure blue. The colors range from pure white through all shades of yellow, red and brown, as well as those so dark purple they appear black. Several species have “blue” in their common name; however, their blooms have a violent hue.

Indigenous to mountainous locales with temperate climates, Tulips grow best in areas with cool winters, springs and summers. They prefer a full to partial sun, with a neutral to slightly acidic, dry or sandy soil, though they will bloom in almost any soil type with good drainage. Bulbs are usually planted in the autumn, at a depth ranging from four to eight inches, depending on your soil type. Although they will continue blooming annually for several years, the bulbs will deteriorate over time, and will need replacing. A common thought to prolong the life of the bulb is that after the plant has finished blooming and its leaves have turned yellow, is to dig up the bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place and then replant them in the fall.

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

Flowers #212BR, 211BR, 216BR, 220BR, 222BR & 214C

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May 23, 2015

I do not often combine different species of flowers, but did so in this photo because I have yet to take a really good photograph of Black-Eyed Susans. And, to make matters worse, I’m not even sure these are Black-Eyed Susans. Being color-blind, these Susans might just be Brown-Eyed. Or are they actually Coneflowers or just plain Daisies? Whatever they are, they are paired with the blooms from a Hosta in these photographs.

Steven H. Spring