Thursday, September 30, 2010

Donna's Tree

I can't resist taking photographs of this wonderful tree, which stands in Donna's garden at Prairieland Herbs. So many times I've heard it ought to be cut down, but it's just as beautiful as any living tree, and it provides homes and food for lots of birds, bugs, and interesting lichens and fungi.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We visited Reiman Gardens in Ames today, and I took a few pictures in the butterfly wing....

These images were taken with my Nikon D300 and Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D lens.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alchemy in Action

The process of indigo dyeing is truly amazing. Known from at least as early as 700 B.C., this dye is still used today. Maggie started experimenting with this amazing substance.

The dyepot. The actual indigo dye is the clear green liquid, which you can see in the bucket.

Here are the fabrics, ready to go in to the dyepot. There's a silk scarf, and some woolen yarn.

After about three or four minutes in the dye, the fibre is taken out, and it's a bright green colour.

The excess dye is squeezed out, and the fibre is exposed to the air.

As the indigo is exposed to the oxygen in the atmosphere, it turns blue, and also "fixes" to the material. The above two photographs were taken about 65 seconds apart. It's magic!

A silk scarf changing colour as the indigo oxidizes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pirates Ahoy!!

Great merriment was had today as it was all hands on deck for Sample Sunday! International Talk Like A Pirate Day was fun for all the crew and the lubbers who boarded us.

Aye, now there's a fine comely lassie!

American Gothic Pirate?

The Crew - Donna, Michelle,  Dawn, Lynn, Melodie, Laura, Becky, me, and Maggie

Friday, September 17, 2010

Treasure ahoy!!

Aye, maties, there be treasure a-goin' down on the prairie! To celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day, Prairieland Herbs, Picket Fence Creamery, Northern Prairie Chèvre, and Flowers by Donna Jean, will have a treasure hunt across their four businesses in Woodward this Sunday, 19th September. Visitors get a map at the first venue they visit, then have to find a hidden gold coin in each location. When the coins are turned in at the counter in each shop, the map is stamped for that location. At the last port of call, the maps are handed in, and are put into a draw for a "treasure chest" of goodies from all four businesses.

As well as the treasure hunt, there'll be food, music, massages, reiki, guest vendors, free samples, and loads of fun! Prairieland Herbs are also offering 12% off all goods in the shop! So, hoist the jolly roger and set sail for Woodward on Sunday!

What's in my bag...

It's been quite a while since I posted a pic of my equipment, and there have been a few new acquisitions lately, so here's the most recent shot. There's a fully annotated pic here on my Flickr page, if you're interested in the gory details...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Soap Shoot

Doing some product shots for Prairieland Herbs. Here is this month's Soap of the Month (a little late, but better than never!) - Refreshing Rosemary from Biscuit's Boutique. This has a bright, fresh scent that's just the thing to get you up and going now that the mornings are getting darker.

This shot was lit with a single LED flashlight clamped in a retort stand camera right...

...and this was a more conventional lighting setup, using three Nikon SB Strobes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

At the Bridges of Madison County

Today, the last day of my parents' visit, we went and visited Winterset and a couple of the famous Bridges of Madison County. The bridges here are Hogback Bridge (the top two), and Cutler-Donahue Bridge (bottom two pics).

Not quite Clint and Meryl!

Three of my favouritest people in the world!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Leitz Camera Action

I went to an antiques market in Des Moines today, and found this:

It's a Leica M6. It looks nice and clean, the battery cover and body cap are missing. The guy who sold it to me said it doesn't work, but the shutter seems to work on all speeds, and the winding mechanism seems OK too. I'll need to get the missing bits and a lens so I can test it.

Oh, yes, I paid $12 - that's twelve dollars - for it :)