photography and digital scrapbooking

Wild and Cultivated


This has been a difficult summer for my photography. Blazing bright sunlight, temperatures that rarely dipped below the mid 90s, and serious allergy symptoms made the prospect of nature photography undesirable. When I did venture out, it was mostly in my backyard. Luckily, I have a bit of color there and recently captured some of my favorite wild and cultivated subjects.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail enjoying the nectar from my Sweet William plants. He was not as calm as the female I photographed a few days ago, but finally paused long enough for me to take a handheld macro photo. f2.8,  ISO 200, shutter speed 1/640.

homegrown heirloom tomatoes

A cooperative effort this year produced our tasty heirloom tomato varieties. I started seeds in February and nurtured them to the seedling stage. Then Larry took responsibility for watering, pruning, natural insect and fungus control, and harvesting. I cooked two large batches of spaghetti sauce to freeze, many entrees and salads using fresh tomatoes, and batches of roasted tomatoes that we enjoy adding to heirloom bean dishes. We also gave tomatoes to several neighbors every week.


The squirrels in our backyard are mostly a nuisance; eating the birdseed and sometimes chewing the feeders. But they are cute and I caught this happy guy munching sunflower seeds.

sweet william blossoms

I started Sweet William plants from seed this year and decided to plant them in large pots. They bloom continuously in pretty shades of purple, pink, white and a multi-colored blossom of pinks. We keep them in the shade most of the time because of the heat, but they bloom well with morning sun and little other care except watering. Their lovely fragrance is one I have not enjoyed since childhood.

Author: Karen Chandler

Metal clay jewelry, nature photography, and digital scrapbooking are Karen's passions. She is mostly self-taught, enjoying the learning process as much as producing her works of art. Karen's jewelry features fine silver, copper, and bronze. She sculpts and refines metal clay, then kiln fires her pieces and polishes them to perfection. The process allows for exciting interpretations of symbols, shapes, textures, and combinations of metals. A long time user of Photoshop, Karen loves to create digital layouts with her photos. Her layouts and albums are a diary of sorts; documenting milestones, recording happy times, and celebrating her love of nature.

10 thoughts on “Wild and Cultivated

  1. Well, you sold me! I’m getting some Sweet William plants next year. The clincher–when you talked about the smell.

    Such beautiful tomatoes! LOL–not everyone would think of a tomato as being beautiful, but I LIVE on the ones I grow each summer. I’m surprised I’m not round and red!

    • Thanks so much, J! I purchased the seeds online from Renee’s Garden Seeds. You will enjoy them next year. They are great for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds!

  2. Your male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail photo is gorgeous – they all are. I love the squirrel, too, the earthy colours. Sorry to hear that allergies kept you grounded for part of the summer, but I think you managed to get some great shots despite them!

  3. Thanks, Cait! I’m looking forward to fall. Our weather is usually great Sept. – Nov. Great for nature photography!

  4. I’m in love, the squirrel looks adorable! Keep up the good work!

  5. Amazing! Those are beautiful photos!
    Nice job 😉

  6. You said that this has been a hard summer due to bright light. It is often a good time to study what hides in shadows. Shadows are like a secret world full of fascinating fauna.

    • You are absolutely right! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. The heat was extreme this summer and I rebelled instead of adapting. I have a nature trail, a macro lens, and some reflectors. All I need to do is walk out the door with a sense of adventure and I will probably come home with some interesting photos!