World CML Day, Celebrating Life

World CML Day – A Reason to Celebrate

World CML Day celebrates the beauty of life.

World CML Day

World CML Day. Rose ‘Misty Moonlight’

The rose is ‘Misty Moonlight,’ my registered (2004) large-flowered climber.

CML – chronic myelogenous leukemia – is a blood cancer and a Rare Disease; by definition, less than 200,000 in the US living with it. Today, slightly less than 50,000 in the US live with CML, with around 5,000 diagnosed each year. CML is caused by a translocation of chromosomes 9 and 22, which is how 9/22 came to be recognized as World CML Day. This leukemia is the first cancer to be successfully treated (not cured; that has not happened yet) with targeted therapies, in this case the tyrosine kinase inhibitors, TKI’s for short.

How the Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Came to Be

This progress required the work of many people in many seemingly unrelated fields over many years. The Watson-Crick double helix model for the structure of DNA, published in 1953, was the great scientific discovery of the 20th Century.

The first direct link between chromosomal abnormalities to any malignancy came with the discovery of the Philadelphia Chromosome (the 9/22 translocation) in 1960 by Peter Nowell at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and David Hungerford from the Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Institute for Cancer Research.

Janet Rowley in 1972 discovered the Bcr-Abl oncogene produced by the translocation, which produces the tyrosine kinases thought to be responsible for the uncontrolled growth of white blood cells in CML.

In the early 1990’s Dr. Brian Druker began working with Dr. Nicholas Lydon, of what is now Novartis, for the development and testing of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. By the late 1990’s, one in particular, now known as imatinib (Gleevec) showed almost miraculous results for Dr. Druker’s patients, many of whom are still alive after beginning the drug in clinical trials. Novartis did not want to bring the drug to market because they didn’t think there would be enough demand for the drug to be profitable. Dr. Druker led the fight to make the drug available to his patients (and today fights against price gouging). He will forever be a hero to CML patients and their families.

Timeline for development of TKI’s.

PCR Testing

Drug resistance can occur, along with new mutations. A variety of TKI’s have been developed since Gleevec was FDA approved in 2002, helping to address the problem of drug resistance.

Patients are followed closely for evidence of resistance and recurrence through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) monitoring. This process for rapid DNA replication was discovered by Dr. Kary Mullis, and in 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for it. PCR is used for many, many things, and any of you who have had your DNA tested, looking for where your ancestors began and how they migrated, etc., had PCR testing.

I share this video once again, because it proves that science can be fun, and can be presented in a way interested people can understand.

9/22 – World CML Day, my second year not only to observe it but to even know what CML is. I post with respect and gratitude to everyone who has contributed to changing CML from a short-term death sentence to the potential for an essentially normal life, well lived.


Old Photos

Old Photos

Going back through old photos can be a bit of a challenge and also an interesting reminder of what once was. These images were made with the first digital camera I owned, a Nikon Coolpix 4300. Everything was on Automatic, including the flash. 🙂 That camera died after years of good use, and shortly after these images were made. I had purchased it for the sole purpose of photographing roses I judged at rose shows.

This slide show is made of images taken in June, 2008 at an ARS Rose Judging Seminar in Palm Springs, California. A lot of the same people are around today, but the overall atmosphere, goals, principles, and values of the District where this was held are palpably different.

If you prefer looking at individual images rather than a slide show, the Gallery is here.

This post will ultimately scroll off the front page, so I have also posted the video on the “People” page of this website.


Late Summer Flowers

Late Summer Flowers

The Earth Laughs with Flowers ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Late summer flowers in the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico are magnificent.

late summer flowers

Cosmos in Corrales

Visiting with friends Tim and Laurie is always fun. Visits usually include Tim and I photographing, and Laurie sketching. This weekend was no different. Our “photographic expeditions and excursions” are on temporary hold. However, we make the most of what is locally available. Their property always has great photo ops, but their Lively Meadow is especially lively in late summer.

A forest of sunflowers greets the arriving visitor. As I was driving into Corrales, I almost stopped to photograph some sunflowers growing along the highway. I laughed at myself as I drove into their property. I was also glad I did not stop along the highway!

late summer flowers


The tall sunflowers provide a natural backdrop for the cosmos.

late summer flowers

Sunflowers and Cosmos

Cosmos are a riot of color. The little blue flowers are morning glories.

late summer flowers

Colorful Cosmos

Laurie sketched while Tim and I photographed.

late summer flowers

Laurie Sketching

Later, as we always do, we went back to the house and deck.

Tim and Spunk:

man and cat

Tim and Spunk

On the deck and outdoor kitchen:

man hat coffee

Tim Relaxing



I don’t know how or why, but something a little special and always unpredictable seems to appear at just the right time. I love this beautiful, sparkly little damsel fly that visited the butterfly bush as we were enjoying conversation on the deck.

damsel fly

Damsel Fly

A beautiful late summer day with friends and flowers.


Rose Blooms Not of Exhibition Quality

Rose Blooms Not of Exhibition Quality – Can Photographers Do Anything with Them?

rose blooms

Great Form! Major color faults and not disbudded!

Rose blooms of less than exhibition quality sometimes have some features that photographers enjoy and/or find challenging. Photographs of such rose blooms are not a problem outside of ARS (American Rose Society) shows. However, in the horticultural photography classes in ARS shows, photographs of imperfect specimens are no more welcome than the actual specimen would be. Does this mean the photographer should just “walk on by” and not “stop to smell the roses?” Each person has to answer that question for him/herself. I would like to suggest some ways to enjoy these roses, and perhaps also create an image people enjoy and can be entered in ARS shows.

First and foremost, photographing any and all rose blooms is one way to work on photography skills. You can try different camera settings, explore different lighting conditions, learn if you personally prefer photographing cut specimens or specimens growing in the garden. For entry in ARS shows, all specimens must be outdoor garden grown. Photographs for shows may be of either cut specimens or specimens still growing in the garden. The more you photograph roses, the better you will become as a photographer and the more you will know your own preferences. You will develop your own “style.” Other people may recognize it before you do.

First Example

ARS members may access the Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography here.

One Class is

One Spray: Two or more blooms, any type of rose of Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora, Miniature, Miniflora, or
Floribunda classifications of roses. This class does NOT include collections.

Photography judges not infrequently encounter collections of roses, rather than sprays. When detected, these are not judged.

When I plan to show a photograph of a rose spray, I usually try to show the origin of the entire spray. That is personal preference and certainly not required. For illustration, this is a spray of ‘Dream Weaver.’

Spray of Rose Dream Weaver

Spray of ‘Dream Weaver’

Not too long ago I was photographing Veterans’ Honor. At first glance, what I took to be a spray, turned out to be a spray of two blooms and a stem with one bloom. I liked the flow and the rhythm of the collection but could not enter it as a “Spray.”

One of my favorite Classes is

Creative Interpretation
The photograph should evoke a sense of originality and a new and different way of imagining the rose or roses with the mind’s eye. This may include processes used to alter the original image such as colorizing, texturing, dodging, burning, dithering, painting, shadowing, blurring, layering, cloning, filtering, merging, cropping. Color, Black & White, Sepia, or combinations of these are permitted in this class. Photo enhancement software is permitted in this class.

In this class, pretty much anything goes, which is one reason I like it. The collection of Veterans’ Honor could be shown in this class, no problem. My personal preference in my own work is to try to maintain the beauty of the rose when I make alterations using software. That is by no means a requirement for this class, but it is what I personally try to do.

I decided to create a black and white image. Those of you who work with digital black and white know that there is no single “Black and White.” I wanted something soft and gentle, almost with an old fashioned look. Although the roses may appear to be in a vase, I photographed them on the bush, growing close to the back wall of my house. I was satisfied with the outcome.

rose blooms

A Collection, Not a Spray

Second Example

Another Class is

One bloom.
One bloom, no side buds, of Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora, Miniature, Miniflora, or Floribunda classifications of roses.

These are the exhibition form roses people tend to think of when they think of “rose.” Judges have specific guidelines for judging specimens in the horticultural portion of a rose show, and those same judging points count for 40% of the score of a photograph of one bloom of a rose. Form is extremely important in this class. This is a rose with great form, but it has just a few problems. 🙂

Roses are on the market that are visually similar to the one at the top of this post. However, this bloom should be solid red. The pink/white is a color fault, a major color fault. Judges would severely penalize this bloom. As if that were not enough, this rose has not been disbudded. You can clearly see the side bud in the lower left. The color fault and side bud are the two biggest problems here, but some judges would also deduct points for the rain drops. Rain drops personally do not bother me, but knowing how some judges view them, I tend not to enter in ARS shows images of roses with rain drops on them. In spite of all of those problems, it is a beautiful rose with great form. But, you wouldn’t show the specimen in a rose show, and if you want to show it photographically, you need to get a little creative.

As I have mentioned before, I am not fond of one-click photo editing filters that detract from the beauty of the rose. Creative Interpretation is the only class in which this image could be entered. But, I would have to change it in some way.

I spent a significant amount of time working with this image to achieve an effect I liked. I settled on this crimson/silver, which made the raindrops look like ice. This may be my Christmas card.

rose blooms

Digitally Altered for Creative Interpretation Class


If you see something visually interesting in a rose that you ordinarily would not enter as a specimen in a rose show, photograph what you find visually interesting. Then consider what you can do with it to be able to share it with others. The Creative Interpretation class allows plenty of options for showing the beauty in a bloom or rose blooms that otherwise might never be seen.

Post Script

Will I show these images as entries in a rose show? Probably not, given that I am showing them here for teaching and illustration purposes. But I would like to add that when working with rose images, I nearly always begin by cropping the digital image from the most usual digital camera ratio of 3:2 to a ratio for an 8×10 print, a 5:4 ratio. Prints ranging from 5×7 up to 8×10 are allowed by the Guidelines. For me, the 8×10 is large enough for the details to be seen the way I like for them to be seen.

Additionally, as I have pointed out previously, mounting and matting per the requirements of the Guidelines can be done by purchasing sets for this purpose in multiples of ten or more. These are available in a variety of places, but these are the ones I use:

I print my own images, and the cost to prepare an image for entry is around $3.00. Cost should not be a prohibiting factor for exhibiting your images in a rose show.

I have explained elsewhere how to easily and quickly mount and mat your images to meet specifications. For those who would like that info handy on a mobile device, it is available in Kindle form for $0.99. That is the lowest price Amazon would allow me to charge and still offer it there for convenience.

Above all, when you see something visually interesting in rose blooms, photograph them. Then consider what you might be able to do to share that with others through a photograph. And, enjoy the process!

Sunflower and Bee

Sunflower and BIG Bee

Sunflower and BIG Bee

Update from Baldo Villegas, regarding identification:

this is not a carpenter bee. This is an anthophorid bee. This group of bees are famous for pollinating sunflowers. The males have longer antennae than the females and this is usually how I recognize them right away. Unfortunately, I can’t see the antennae from the picture so my guess is that it is a female.

I’ll be working to get a better image showing the antennae!
Thank you, Baldo!

Sunflower and big bee, and a beautiful blue New Mexico sky! I was out photographing goldfinches playing on the spent sunflowers and cosmos, enjoying the seeds and showing it. This time of year I see a lot of pollinators on most of the flowers in the yards, buzzing around, very busily. Sometimes I specifically photograph them. But, this particular day I was focusing on the goldfinches.

As I sat on my porch enjoying a quiet afternoon, I saw what, at least from a distance, appeared to be a HUGE bee. I’m used to the black and yellow “bumble bees,” and the smaller brown and yellow bees. But this had the appearance of a brown and yellow bee, but very large, and spending a lot of time working a sunflower. Finally, I had to investigate more closely, even though I knew the birds would fly, at least for a bit.

Sunflower and Big Bee

Sunflower and Large Bee

Sunflower and Big Bee

Sunflower and Large Bee

As you can see, this was, indeed, a very large bee. And, it had been very busy! It was covered with pollen it had collected from the sunflower. I think it may be a male carpenter bee, although I need to check this identification.

Under any circumstances, it was a new bee for me, and certainly caught my eye even though I thought I would focus on birds that particular day.

gardens friends

Gardens and Friends

Gardens and Friends: A Day in Corrales with Friends and Family and Friends of Friends

Gardens and friends – gardens are such a wonderful gathering spot for family and friends in the summer. Regular readers here know how much I love to visit with the Price family in their Corrales garden, as well as our “photographic expeditions” to various places. We frequently end those travels back at their home and garden. I have rarely shown all the socializing that goes on in that garden and on the deck. Yesterday was a day for being in the garden and visiting with friends and with friends and family of friends. It ended, as it always does, with wonderful food, drink, and conversation in the outdoor garden kitchen.

I always love driving down the little lane to Tim and Laurie’s home – it is so Corrales!

gardens and friends

Trumpet Vine on the Lane to Tim and Laurie’s

Once there, it was a time for friendships in the garden and at the table. Nothing more needs be said.


2016 Pollinator Week

2016 Pollinator Week, June 20-26

2016 Pollinator Week is recognized around the world. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators to all living things, whether directly or indirectly, and to encourage planting beneficial to a wide range of pollinators.

2016 pollinator week

Some Native Bees

More information on each of the bees in this image can be found here. More information on pollinators in general and 2016 Pollinator Week can be found at Pollinator Partnership.

Here are just a few of the images I have taken of pollinators over the years. The blue osmia is a little over-represented here, because I only see one day a year, late March or early April. But they are so different and so beautiful, I want you to see them. I stopped spraying my roses and using systemics some years ago, and have seen a marked increase in the pollinators in my yard. I love sunflowers and cosmos for their beauty, ease of care, and the way they attract pollinators ranging from bees through butterflies to hummingbirds. My next-door neighbors are evolutionary biologists who do totally organic gardening, so we have a tiny oasis for pollinators.

dward peach bonanza 2016

Dwarf Peach Bonanza 2016

Dwarf Peach Bonanza 2016

Dwarf Peach Bonanza, my first one that I had for many years and loved for its early spring blooms, peaches, the beauty of the little tree itself in the growing season, the interesting bare branches in the winter, died in the extreme, brutal cold of February 2011. It had produced and been a joy for many years.

In the fall of 2014, my wonderful neighbors not only gave me a new one, but planted it for me. It bloomed in the spring of 2015, but didn’t produce (late cold). This year the bloom was gorgeous, to no one’s surprise, but it once again got cold late and I was doubting production of any peaches.
I am happy to say the little tree is producing some peaches this year, beautiful little blush covered peaches! I could have thinned them a bit to produce larger peaches, but I really wasn’t looking for peaches after the cold snap. These were something of a delightful surprise.

dwarf peach bonanza

Dwarf Peach Bonanza 2016

The peaches will be ready to eat before too long. I’ll want to harvest them before the birds get them, but in the brief time before that, the tree and the peaches make wonderful photographic subjects.

Thank you, Rosemary and Burton!


Rose Gold Medal with Butterfly

Rose Gold Medal with Hair Streak Butterfly

The rose ‘Gold Medal’ has long been one of my mother’s favorites. I photographed the rose in her garden near sunset. The hair streak butterfly is from a macro shot taken in friends’ garden on a wonderful day. This image is a composite that brings together people important in my life and two gardens I love.

This image was chosen as the winner in the Judges Class of the 2015 American Rose Society Digital Photography Contest. I thank the special selection committee for that honor of an image that was already important to me for so many reasons.

rose Gold Medal ARS Photo Winner

Rose ‘Gold Medal’ with Hair Streak Butterfly