Pussywillow post script

by DaniGirl on March 27, 2011 · 4 comments

in Photo of the Day

I mentioned yesterday that I had one last 365 photo from last week to blog about. It’s got not one but two backstories attached to it, though, so I figured it needed a post of its own.

My mom knows I love pussywillows, and she buys them for me just about every spring. I don’t know why I started liking them so much, but now I love them because my mom gives them to me. 🙂

So a few days ago, she brought me a giant bundle of pussywillows, but these ones had something I’d never seen before. Green bits! And roots! See?


They’re easily the most lovely pussywillows yet. I was so intrigued by the sprouting bits and the roots, that I decided I was going to plant them in the yard. I mean, the only thing better than being gifted with pussywillows each year is picking yer own, right? And so I started reading about it, and it turns out they’re dead easy to grow, but I’ll never be able to plant these ones.

You see, pussywillows are in fact a part of the willow family, and willow trees and septic beds do not get along. Willows love water, and their invasive roots get into the pipes of a septic bed and gum it up. And frankly, I do *not* want to antagonize the septic system!

I’m thinking maybe I can plant them in a container or something and keep their roots bound in a pot. Any ideas?

Anyway, as I said, this photo has not one but two backstories to tell. When I posted it on Flickr, I got what is a rare and delightful treat: a complete stranger made a constructive comment with a helpful suggestion on how to improve the image.

Kate said:

Your Mom is a treasure! This is a stunning shot and creatively cropped. I too am on a septic bed and these darling bushes love water and are best planted somewhere else for sure. I would like to make a suggestion..if you don’t mind..and if you do I will apologize in advance… If this was my shot I would clone out the fuzzy flower on the far right as it seems distracting to my eye. The branch on the right offers simplicity to the shot which seems a bit lost because of the flower. Its all subjective so I hope you don’t mind my saying this. This is a shot I would hang of my wall.

And damn if I didn’t totally agree with her. I couldn’t even look at the image without that darn bushy willow flower dragging my eye down, practically flaunting its annoying presence, so much so that I couldn’t see how I’d not noticed it before.

As facile as I’ve become with some aspects of Photoshop, though, cloning things out was not in my repertoire. Fortunately, I’m married to someone who teaches Photoshop for a living — how convenient is that? — and I finally managed to coerce him into teaching me how to properly use the clone stamp and patch tools.

And voilà — pussywillows redux:

91:365 Pussywillows

She’s right, isn’t she? It’s so much cleaner without that extra fuzzy green puff in the bottom right corner. I know, if you look closely, you can see remnants of the clone stamping — but the kids were all “feed us dinner” on me, and seemed to think that eating was more important than me finessing my pussywillows, so that’ll have to do for now.

So the good news is, my mom IS awesome and I love that she gives these to me. The bad news is, I can’t plant them in the yard after all. The good news is, I learned a new trick or two.

That’s a lot of mileage out of a couple of pussywillow branches!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 2Hirondelles March 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

Willows are invasive, I caution against planting them anywhere on a residential lot. They thrive naturally along streams and in wetlands where there’s lots of room for them.
And I agree, the photo is much improved without the distraction of the fluff on the right.

2 Paula March 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm

The *amended* shot does prevent the eye from wandering to the corner of the picture. Isn’t it nice when constructive advice is given by readers? Thank you for your tweet yesterday re the camera. At first I chuckled (as you had just purchased your spankin’ new DSLR one) as I was attempting to find a little point and shoot and on sale no less! However, you saying that it’s not the camera but what you do with it was right. Not dropping my new one in water as I did with my old one would be a good start to me being able to take some half decent photos. LOL

3 Amy @ Muddy Boots March 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Have you used the clone tool in LR much, Dani? I actually prefer it to the one in PS. You should give it a try…

4 Finola March 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I know zero about photography, but wow, even I could see the improvement in the picture. So cool!

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