Thursday, September 29, 2011

Back to the garden...

A Macro Flowers Saturday entry...See: Macro Flowers Saturday AND
A Weekend Flowers entry...See: Tina's PicStory (please click on each photo to enlarge)

Well, I have been remiss. Earlier this year, in the spring, I told myself I’d get over to Rutgers Gardens at least once a week to photograph. Needless to say, this is a promise I failed to keep.  When I stopped by late last week, the fact that I had not been there really hit home and I realized how much I had missed as the gardens transformed themselves through the spring/summer seasons. Not only have the flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs gone through their growth spurts but the Garden crew has added a number of ornamental urns and fountains. I have missed so much!

               Green Jug....As shot 
vs.  Vintage...

But, when you go to the Gardens, it’s not just the scenery that’s interesting - there’s the people. Quite often I’ve had the pleasure of meeting photographers, students, gardeners, and just people taken with the beauty and interest of the Gardens. On this particular Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting Victorio Loubriel (, a photographer, civil rights photo essayist, and documentarian – and it must have been fate.  I was at that point where I was becoming board photographing flowers; it was humid, the NJ State Bird (mosquito) was starting to make its presence known and I was ready to pack it in. Then he started to talk to me about ‘seeing’ – something I had completely lost touch with. ‘See’ things differently, look at an object from all angles, look for the ‘unique’ or ‘odd’ or unusual. Stop shooting the everyday, run-of-the-mill stuff that people expect you to shoot. Kick it up a notch, see it different, do it different!

So I didn’t leave the Gardens right then. I spent at least another hour there – an hour when I threw out the ordinary and began to view things differently. I forgot about the humidity, the mosquitoes, and my
back pain and I had fun.  The passion was revived. And, now that winter is approaching, I’m not too concerned about not having those beautiful flowers around to photograph. I’m going to make my best effort to look for the unique and out-of-the-ordinary stuff.  Hopefully, this will be a promise I do not break!
Under the orange umbrellas.


  1. Helene you made me smile with your photos. It is very gorgeous and beautiful. Do you use tripod when you took photos like these flower?

  2. Helene beautiful job with these. I love the undershot of the flowers.

  3. Simply stunning photo of underneath the orange flower. And just plain skillful and clever capture of the butterfly and the bee. Lovely.

  4. I love the butterfly and the bee, amazing capture. A lovely post.

  5. what an amazing perspective--the result is stunning. beautiful photos.

    Cadena de Amor

  6. Beautiful photographs.

    Regards and best wishes

  7. I'm glad you decided to stay! your photos and perspectives are fabulous. I found it interesting that you mentioned the lack of flowers in our future (winter) - I was thinking the same thing - now what am I going to photograph?

  8. Beautiful shots. The umbrella shot looks like a painting.

  9. thanks for this lovely weekend flowers! i have changed the name of my blog, can you please change the link back to me? that would be so nice :)

  10. I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Please check my blog!

  11. I love your photo with the butterfly and the bee together on the flower!

  12. Love the butterfly on the orange flower! So pretty!

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  14. I am very deeply touched and honored that Helene remembers me and named me on her beautiful vision essay through her soul's lens. I lived in North Brunswick for a brief period of time and enjoyed walking through Rutgers Garden to be with myself and walk my little girls, my Maltese Roxie and Yorkie Velma. I would often see people with cameras and watch to see what they were doing and try to figure out why. On a number of occasions, I would just walk up and ask and try to understand and never wanting to be judgmental. Many times, I would offer some advice when I felt they were being very mechanical and not emotionally seeing what's around them. Most times, they would play me off - one cannot take things personal because at the end of my visit to the garden I will have had another peaceful day with me and my girls. At the end of their day, they would have only been in a garden with an electronic device called a camera. I'm sure they would process the snap shots and they would feel like what they think they saw. In the end, their snap shots might be colorful but very one dimensional. There's a very big difference between Photography and snap shots. Photography is an essay of the heart translated by the mind through a camera's lens. It is a sight, sound and motion in one image. Here's where I am going with all of this. One day I met Helene as she was moving about the Garden. I watched her and quickly recognized that she was suffering from the tyranny of the canvas. Her movements indicated that she was searching for something and the other elements of the day were over taking her. I know that feeling well and it's very easily recognized in others. From the moment we started speaking there was a connection of thoughts. Helene mentioned she was an amateur photographer and I said she was much more as there is no such thing. Whenever I hear photographers refer to other people that way, I feel it's quite condescending and a put down. It doesn’t serve to encourage and give credence to their body of work. When someone speaks to an artist like Helene, it doesn't take much as her artistic soul understands. I was with her for about 20 minutes or so and instead of "looking" she was now "seeing". I've often wondered what became of her and now I know. As much as I may have provided her, she gives to me by mentioning me in her body of work - I am humbled and deeply honored. On February 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson integrated Major league baseball. Needless to say he was as great off the baseball field as a civil rights advocate and education as when he played baseball. Jackie Robinson once said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives". I thank Helene for letting my words and space and time make an impact…

    1. Mr. Loubriel,
      I spotted your post on my blog the day after I had composed an email response. I hope you received this correspondence sent to your personal e-mail. Back in September 2011, you ‘read’ me perfectly and that chance meeting made quite an impact. I am thankful.
      With great respect,


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