A few years back when we started working in earnest to document the beauty and magic that fill our days, taking photos was a struggle. Neither Chris or I understood how to use the camera. We’d end up arguing longer than we spent actually shooting and neither of us enjoyed the process at all. At the end of the day we’d plug the memory card into the computer and see what snippets we actually were able to capture. There were a few stunners but most photos weren’t anything like we have envisioned in our heads. This awkward cycle went around and around and around until we discovered Erin Little’s Eyes Open Photography E-Course.
I was the one who actually signed up for the course. I was a HUGE fan of Erin’s photography and felt deep down that if she could figure out how to use her camera, then I might be able to as well. I’ll tell you, her course was a serious game changer. The way she covered the material, explained each core concept and then what I learned through the homework process…. it all just clicked. What I didn’t expect though was that Chris would also dig it as much as I did. He took the material and totally ran with it. Just a short time ago our photography was totally hit and miss but now that guy is getting exactly the shots he’s after. He’s consistently getting the magic.
Last night we were working on capturing some my favorite textural elements from the garden and found ourselves talking f-stops, shutter speed and light as if it were no big deal. Once we realized that fact we both burst into laughter, did a huge high five and then turned our gratitude to Erin for sharing all that she knew through that course. I promised myself that I’d share our journey this morning and let you know that even if you have no clue about what you’re doing, how your camera works or even anything related to making a great picture, you too can get to the place where you’re loving your work.
These images were taken a few weeks ago. We had some VERY special guests (more on that later) out to the garden and it was an all hands on deck affair to get things looking tidy and sharp. We had to bask in the beauty while it lasted because I’m pretty certain, it’ll never look that good again!
The weather has been warm and steady. Wave after wave of flowers are blooming their beautiful little heads off. I’m having to work hard every day to let go of the fact that we’re leaving so much in the field untouched. There just aren’t enough hours in the day or enough hands to help bring in the bounty. By experimenting with tighter planting and more innovative planning, we’ve about doubled the output of the little plot of land. We were already breaking harvest records in previous years so the bounty is a bit overwhelming.
My motto is always plan for the worst. I like to look at all of the possible outcomes and build in a cushion anywhere I can. This year I thought, let’s see if we can double our production on these two measly acres and then when we move to the bigger farm, we’ll know what’s possible. Well, my plan worked but I hadn’t accounted for all of the extra labor support needed to bring in said bounty. Gosh, if it isn’t one thing it’s another. But I’m learning and that’s really what counts.
We’re in the process of frantically flipping beds. Taking out spent spring crops, ammending the beds with compost and fertilizer and then replanting them with late summer and early fall crops. The cut off for final plantings is between July 15-21 so we’re hustling as fast as possible to get as much out and then back in as we can. Farming is such a fine juggling act. Some days I feel like I’ve got it all figured out and the next, I feel like a complete failure. But we press on.
The earliest few waves of spring crops are now gone and have been replaced with the things that will carry us through to frost. Marigolds, millets, zinnias, grasses, amaranths, celosia…all planted in abundance. Ornamental kale and sunflowers are next. Fingers crossed we can get it all in before the cut off date later this month.
Well, my helpers are rolling in for the work day so I’ve gotta sign off and get out there to start today’s harvest. Here’s to a good week filled with abundance and hopefully some balance too.
Erin, I’ve followed your work since we began our little flower farm last year. Playing a little reading catch-up this afternoon, I read this post with a huge lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as I see what a flower farm can become. We are in the thick of our second year; early mornings and late nights, and what the heck happened to that, I can’t believe I killed all of that, who’s eating that, why didn’t I pinch that, when am I supposed to harvest that, etc. And also, I can’t believe I get to grow these beautiful flowers!
Your photos are beautiful, and how DO you cram all those beautiful flowers into that 2 acres? :) Someday I will come for a workshop and have my countless questions answered. Thanks so much for keeping me inspired and linking me to the flower lover/farmer tribe that I haven’t met yet.