Valentine roses

Valentine rose_Staats 12479Today is Valentine’s Day – a day to celebrate love, friendship, and all things red and chocolate.  I was the lucky recipient of a dozen long-stemmed red roses.  Not only are they a treat to look at and smell, but I also get the privilege of truly admiring them and photographing them.  I am amazed at the layers upon layers of delicate petals that spiral outward – all slowly opening with the light and heat in the house.  At the days go by, the shade and coloring of the roses will change, as will their wonderful scent.  For now, they are gradually unfolding and revealing their beauty and delicacy.

Summer roses

Roses and petals_Staats-9986We’re in the height of rose season – their colors and scents abound.  We have a wonderful John Cabot climbing rose that blossoms out in profusion mid-June,  becoming engulfed in a riot of color.  I’ve had cuttings in almost every room of the house, and yet the bush itself remains full too.  The blooms hold for many days and then they drop their petals all around – a reminder of their beauty even as they move past their prime.

Roses through the rain

Roses through the rain_StaatsThe rains have continued this past week.  Unlike most years, everything remains green and lush.  We haven’t had the excessive heat of a typical summer, and the rainfall has been more than adequate to keep things watered.  As the rain pelted the window yesterday afternoon, it created a wonderful effect with the roses in the background.  Each droplet reflected the roses – the bright colors and shapes seemed to dance in the water.  How wondrous and mesmerizing to see the many “small roses” that decorated the window pane in those droplets.

Exhibits, awards and publications

This past Friday night was the opening reception for the 4th annual Horizontal Grandeur fine art exhibition at the Stevens County Historical Museum in Morris, Minnesota.  The exhibit brought together artists from across the country, all living in states with prairies.  Inspired by Bill Holm’s essay, “Horizontal Grandeur,” there were inspiring and wonderful interpretations of  the prairie theme.  I was honored to have two of my photographs juried into this show.  This image, “Dawn’s first light on the prairie” was photographed while I was an artist-in-residence at  the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa.  My second photograph in the exhibit is the image from my April 11, 2010 blog entry “Pasque flower welcome to spring.”  For a complete viewing of the pieces in the exhibit, please visit the website for the Stevens County Historical Museum at

Here in the Twin Cities I’m a member of the Minneapolis Photographic Society — a group of wonderfully talented photographers with diverse interests.  Each year there is one image that is selected as Color Print of the Year and one that is selected as Monochrome Print of the Year.  This year I was awarded the Color Print of the Year for my image “Through the red barn window.”    To see more of the award-winning images from the group, please visit the website:

And lastly, I am excited to have a photograph published in the July/August issue of  “The Iowan Magazine.”  This image “Swept into the center” is the opening spread of the portfolio section titled “”

It’s been a busy and exciting few months, and I feel honored with these exhibits, awards, and publications.

Roses after the rainfall

We’ve had a couple of days of constant and sometimes heavy rainfall.  Although it’s wonderful for the lawns it’s also pelted some of the flowers.  We have a beautiful John Cabot climbing rose in the backyard that has been full of blooms.  With the weight of the rain it has pulled some of the canes so far forward that the blooms have been touching the lawn.  Those blooms that were past their prime have been knocked down and have created a carpet of petals on the lawn under the bush.  At first I wanted to clean up all the petals, and yet upon a closer look I realized that they were truly quite lovely as they lay scattered about.   Sometimes the “untidiness” of nature has lessons for us all to learn.