Bitter fruit…


Barberry berries hanging on throughout winter's storms, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Barberry berries hanging on throughout winter’s storms, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Uneaten fruits, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Uneaten fruits, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) berries always take me by surprise when I spot their appearance in my otherwise barren winter garden. At times like our recent 19 inches of fresh snow, I expect our wintering, non-hibernating wildlife to be eating remaining food sources. The deer are frequent visitors to our yew shrub; no need for spring trimming by our hands. Yet, the bright red, attention grabbing berries of the Barberry bush remain abundantly intact on the branches. It turns out that their bitter taste; along with the thorny branches repel even the hungriest wild appetites. Us, humans, however have been known to eat them and use them medicinally.

Deer enjoying our Yew, copyright 2015 Steven Breitberg

Deer enjoying our Yew, copyright 2015 Steven Breitberg

Salty cluster…


Arc'd blooms clustered under these succulent leaves along the shore. Unsure what this shrub-like plant is, but it is a regular planting along Ft. Lauderdale beaches. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Arc’d blooms clustered under these succulent leaves along the shore. Unsure what this shrub-like plant is, but it is a regular planting along Ft. Lauderdale beaches. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Using images to focus my mind’s eye…


Orchid in bloom, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Orchid in bloom, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

I am by profession a teacher; but as a person, I consider myself a learner and appreciate the understandings I continue to gain from others. I know my self-learning projects are reflections of others’ shared visions. I felt challenged today by “Practice! Practice! Practice!”,a post on John Etheridge’s “The Book of Bokeh” blog this week. https://bookofbokeh.wordpress.com/  He posted a series of images of a drink in a glass, commenting on his desire to use this technique to hone his skillful photography. Thank you Mr. Etheridge for sharing your artistic practices.

Below zero wind-chills and constant snow flurries are my excuse to stay house bound and nurse a persistent cold in my upper body. With my Nikon on its macro setting I focused on the beautiful, ever delicate, orchid that is kindly blooming in my living room while fresh layers of snow blanket my perennials. Close focus with the lens today lends for close reflection on my photographic perspectives.

Several challenges were quickly realized during this practice session. First, I noticed while creating these images was the constant background creeping into these very closely focused images. To me it is amazing, and frustrating, that the background would continue to invade an image whose composition was so small an area. The background must complement and not distract. Knowing that the brightest, lightest area of an image draws the most attention, my second challenge was to photograph a white orchid and attend to the variations of whites during my composition in a way that allowed the lightest area(s) to lie where focus is creatively appealing.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is credited to Margaret Wolfe Hungerford. Final analysis of today’s orchid images lies to myself as well as each reader of this blog. And I’m certain that my opinion will change with repeated viewings just as your opinions will vary. Such is the art of critique and assessment as I attempt to implement my learning as photographer. The joy in accepting such challenges can be rewardingly exhausting. Perfect entertainment for a winter afternoon.

Note: All images captured using natural light and are un-adjusted to control contrast or brightness.

Rear view of orchid, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Rear view of orchid, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Orchid against lace and snow, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Orchid against lace and snow, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Multiple points of interest, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Multiple points of interest, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Textures and shades of interest, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Textures and shades of interest, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Love is…


Rose bud for budding love, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Rose bud for budding love, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Worthy, strong, powerful define “valens”, the Roman origins for the name Valentine. Valentine’s Day has come to symbolize love, stemming from the martyrdom of St. Valentine. Though St. Valentine’s identity is vague and speculative, his (their) impact is profound every February 14th.

The combination of worth, strength, and power mixed with love evokes a robust image of fervent attention. Roses symbolize the love offered on Valentine’s Day. The delicate, sweet smelling flower, seemingly blushes when given as a token of unspoken as well as celebrated love. How artful for the lover to give such a gentle gift as indication of his (her) robust desire.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cheery blues…


Blue skies invited me to venture out after last week’s record setting snowstorm. The large clumps of snow clinging to branches were fresh evidence of the day-before’s blizzard conditions. The color blue is used to represent sadness and gloom. For me, nothing is cheerier in January than the brightness of snow against a clear blue sky. A stroll in the crisp air cures cabin fever quickly; after donning multiple layers of attire. No room for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) here! Tip: Hot cocoa goes well with winter’s blue skies.

Heavy laden branches, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Heavy laden branches, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Fresh snow stuck on highest limbs, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Fresh snow stuck on highest limbs, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Even the shade is bright and inviting, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Even the shade is bright and inviting, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Meanwhile, back up north…What


What more needs to be said!! copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

What more needs to be said. This weather’s only for the hardy northerner.   copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Chicago's 5th worst single-storm snowfall last week. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Chicago’s 5th worst single-storm snowfall last week. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg