Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Most photographers know that some images are more attractive with color and some look better without. On occasion I'll remove the color from the original image and have a look at them side by side. I get Romie's opinion, and while his taste in art and mine are worlds apart, I still value what he thinks about it.

Yesterday's photos of the fog left me wondering which was which when it came time to post them. Color? Black and white? It was too close to call. That's how drab things are out there right now. No snow anymore, thanks to the rain we've had for the last two days, but much of the landscape is still covered up - with brown flood waters.

To illustrate the point, here are two photos. Each is shown in color as well as black and white.

See what I mean?

Let's look at another subject from yesterday's post: the gorgeous Scotch Heather (Calluna vulgaris 'Robert Chapman'). For some reason, I never thought heathers would grow well here and I'd not seen them in local nurseries until last fall. I liked how this one looked as it sat in its gallon-sized pot on the metal shelf at Lowe's. It wasn't in bloom, but it had me at "Hello! Look at my foliage!"

The identification tag stated it was hardy to zone 5, so I bought it. I didn't exactly have a spot in mind for it in the garden, but you know how that goes. At the moment it's a short distance away from a white pine and on its other side is a row of four Burning Bush (Euonymus alata) shrubs positioned at an angle to the pine and the heather, somewhat following the curve of the nearby stone fire pit.

The red fall color of the E. alata leaves contrasts nicely with the fall color of the heather. The heather's unique foliage is a softer and more compact form of the needles on the pine branches.
A plant like this really holds its own when you consider the different looks it takes on as it passes from season to season. In September, it looked like this:

In October, it was going through its peachy stage...

By mid-January it was turning a definite shade of red...

...and as you saw yesterday, it's stunningly scarlet. This doesn't do it justice; it's even darker than it shows here.

This is one photo that does matter whether it's in color or black-and-white!


Barbara said...

Interesting post and a very good comparison! I like pictures in b/w especially portraits and fog (!) pictures. Isn't it great that we can decide today what kind of photos we choose? It is also stunning that great art photography is still now mostly in black and white....

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your first pictures illustrate why we are all hungry for color in the garden. It won't be long. Just 42 days according to your counter. :)

Yep, that Robert. I must try to find him and get him into my garden.

Unknown said...

That's a great heather, Kylee! I don't have this one, but a few others with awesome winter colour that make me quite happy to see them. Currently, of course, they're buried under snow.
and like you, I'm also fond of black and white photographs. We see things differently when the colour is removed, don't we?

Anonymous said...

After admiring heathers at Faire Garden, now I get to ooh and ahh over them here. Great color on that plant, though I suppose those changes from cool green to orange to red make it a little challenging to place among other (flowering) plants?

Robin's Nesting Place said...

The Scotch heather is so pretty and offers beauty in every season. I'll have to add that one to my ever growing list of desired plants.

Shady Gardener said...

Enjoyed your thought of comparing the drab outdoors to black and white. Even more interesting in black and white. And, your Heather is just beautiful. Definitely been added to "the list!"

Anonymous said...

I tried heather years ago and it this year I am trying again. I hope it makes it!

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Wow! The comparison photos really are telling of how much color is gone during the winter. The heather is just phenomenal though and all the more striking given that you have such a lack of color everywhere else.

Oh, btw I was thinking of you today as I picked out my first bareroot rose of the year at the nursery. It's a Hot Cocoa (been on my want-list for a long time) and will go in tomorrow. I'll be thinking of you as I plant it. :)

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Kylee Baumle said...

Barbara ~ I love black and white photos if I want the architecture of the photo to stand out, but when taking photos of flowers, most times we want to see those vibrant colors! Although I do have some black and white ones I love, too.

Lisa ~ Yeah, and people wonder why we in the north get delirious with spring fever! This is why! LOL.
I got 'Robert' at Lowe's late last year, so maybe they'll have him again this year! I got 'Tib' there, too, but it's different - not this colorful at all. But maybe it's dead. LOL.

Jodi ~ Yes, like I said to Barbara, it just depends on what you want to highlight in the photo - color or structure.
I think I need more of 'Robert.' I love him!

Pam ~ Well, as I said, it's near a pine and a Euonymus, so siting wasn't all that much of an issue as far as color is concerned. Both the heather and the Euonymus turn about the same shade of red in the fall. I have a gray-headed coneflower somewhat nearby by that's yellow, so it works, too.

Robin ~ Yes, you have to get it! I insist! ;-)

Shady Gardener ~ I insist that you get 'Robert' too! He's a popular guy!

vonlafin ~ This is the first winter for this heather and also 'Tib.' This one looks great, but 'Tib' isn't looking so hot, so I wonder if it's died. Hope not!

Cindy ~ Oh, you are going to LOVE 'Hot Cocoa'!! And I love it that such a wonderful rose makes you think of me. :-)))

Katie said...

Wow. That IS drab when you can take a color pic and it looks black and white. HA!

Thanks for posting the color pics...made me feel less gloomy.

Benjamin Vogt said...

GREAT, another plant I have to buy........:)

Benjamin Vogt said...

GREAT, another plant I have to buy......:)

Aiyana said...

The Heather is lovely. Although it looks completely different than Heavenly Bamboo, the color progressions are very similar. My Heavenly Bamboo is a gorgeous shade of burgandy right now.

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