Taking pictures of magnolias in bloom is my jam.
One of ’em, anyway. An annual journey.
Do anything long enough and you’re bound to learn a few things. Do something for 32 years and you’re bound to learn a ton. I have. I am. I expect that if I keep showing up with my eyes open, more insights may be in store. Or not. If not, I’m still way ahead.
I’ve been taking pictures of Rose, my now–33-year-old daughter since she could walk.
A magnificent passion, one of my favorites, full of fun, passion, joy, insights, and love.
It started as a mother-daughter thing.
She didn’t hold my hand for long, not for a second longer than she had to. I think about half of the magnolias images I’ve got are of Rose in a tree — a phase that lasted about 15 years.
These days, when we get together for our annual magnolias shoot (conveniently combined with her birthday celebration most years — good timing on that birthdate!), she takes as many photos as I do.
About eight years ago Rose told me: “Don’t worry mom, if you get too sick/old to get out, I’ll come and get you when the magnolias bloom, and wheel you right up to a gorgeous tree if you can’t get there on your own.” Rose has my back in many important ways, including this one.
We love this annual bonding moment. We still live close enough to each other to continue. Which is great, because I get to see a lot of beauty, inhale a lovely aroma on warm sunny days, and sometimes make some really cool images.
My heart swells when I see the first magnolia buds each winter. So much potential.
- Beckoning. I get hints of the color-to-be, even when the buds are tightly closed.
- Magnolia buds on bare branches light me up with their potential. I feel excited, even when slogging through crappy weather.
- As the outer buds begin to split open, the potency of what’s on offer gives me heart. More light each day, new growth, softening, opening — I feel encouraged to explore what’s ready to emerge.
So much potential. When I recently revised my Design and Branding — Simplified offer this month with its new focus on What’s Emerging?, of course I chose a photo of magnolias in bud to illustrate my idea.
When you’re considering your brand, and investing in making sure that your offers and website resonate with your meant-to-be clients, clarity about what’s ready to emerge for and through you is critical.
Eyes for magnolias
I love when this season comes around.
This year I’m noticing that I can spot a magnolia tree tucked in a corner of a garden from two blocks away — eyes for magnolias. It’s easy here in northern California, where these trees pop into bloom any time from December until March. All but the last of these months are usually cold and rainy in California.
It took me a couple of decades in California to get over it. In Brooklyn, where all this started, magnolias bloom in April, when it’s usually mild and sunny. In those conditions, magnolias have a lovely aroma. I’m amazed that some magnolia owners I’ve met around here have never even noticed that lovely smell, because it’s usually so damn cold when they pop.
But now I finally understand and appreciate California’s early magnolia season.
When magnolias bloom around here, it’s so early — the dead of winter; I swear I’ve seen them blooming in December! — that there are usually no leaves on branches yet. No leaves. Just buds, branches, and sky.
I get it now, and I’m grateful for God’s schedule on this one — I get some starkly beautiful and spectacular shots. If I do say so myself. 🙃
And then there’s my custom magnolias map!
If you’ve been following along, you may remember I moved to Petaluma just about three years ago, making this my 3rd spring in the North Bay. I needed to know where the magnolias are.
I figured out a way to do that.
Welcome to my custom magnolias map! Feel free to click and explore. I bet you can guess how much I liked being able to use my own image as the marker! It still makes me smile to look at it and add each tree I find. Fun.