Up Close & Personal: Photography

July 30, 2009

As you know, I am knee deep in the remodel of my home office.  In actuality, it’s becoming more of a ‘ladylike library’ and I like that.   Doesn’t ‘library’ sound much more fetching than ‘home office’?  Please indulge me in my brand new fiction.  It’s not a home office, it’s a library.  Shall I pour some tea?

For years, I’ve wanted to incorporate a series of framed botanical prints into some area of my home, and my ‘library’ seemed the perfect place.  I hunted high and low, in used and new bookstores, to find a coffee table book of blooms that I could cut out and frame, much like the designer did for this cover of Home Magazine.  I even resorted to websites offering prints online, but the cost was prohibitive. 

scan0003Home Magazine, June 2006

In frustration, I turned to my garden.  I thought if I could photograph some of the lovely white blooms in my own backyard, then perhaps I could make them into something worth framing.  Not a novel concept, but worthwhile nonetheless, and an inexpensive solution.

Here’s a peek at my new wall di


office photos final

Now I am no Pioneer Woman when it comes to photography.  That momma’s got the photog thang down.  She owns it.  But I have a great camera (digital Nikon D60) thanks to Mr. CG’s birthday present from last year.  And I know how to use Picasa.  It’s free, and it’s easy.  So here’s what I did. 

First, I hit the mega two-for-one sale at Aaron Brothers (did you see my tweet?).  Then I tuned my Nikon D60 to high resolution and took several photos of the white blooms in my yard.  My garden is full of them right now.  Then I turned to Picasa to give me the look I wanted.  I reasoned black and white was classic, and perfect. 

I started with a high resolution color image from one of my gardenia topiary trees that looks like this:

Yard Flowers 022

For all of my flowers, I followed this formula.  With Picasa, I converted the picture to black and white, cropped it, deepened the shadow, and gave it a soft focus on the edges.  The gardenia became this:

bw gardenia

Here’s yet another example from my front yard.

Hydrangea before:

Yard Flowers 013

Hydrangea after: 

bw hydrangea

I had the prints enlarged to 11×14 at Costco for $3 each.  I also picked up some mats for $5 each at a local photography shop, then framed them all, and hung them on the wall in my office library. 

Do you recognize the thrift store sofa?  I recently had it professional cleaned.

sofa in office

And I am loving the color and texture of my new grasscloth wallpaper that I installed all by myself.


As much as they may look like the pictures that ‘come with the frame’, they are personal to me because I grow these blooms in my own garden.  How can you go wrong with pictures of white flowers? 

black and white flowers 

above sofa


  1. Do you like grasscloth wallpaper?  Are you remotely interested in a tutorial on its installation?
  2. How awesome is the Pioneer Woman at photography and Photoshop?
  3. What software do you use to enhance your personal photography? 
  4. What are your plans for the first weekend in August?


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