Winter Garden and Long Exposure


We had snow yesterday. By far not as much as the poor people who huddle together now to stay warm in the Big Blizzard. But enough to make a Winter Wonderland and bring the return of this fellow. We are pretty sure by now that it is a red-tailed hawk.



Just a few days ago,I made these photos. I love the ornamental grasses in the garden. They bring color and texture almost all year round. And they are good place for all kind of insects to hibernate.


I was just thinking that it was about time to cut them. The previous snow had left the bushes rather wild. In the back of the garden is a little wilderness. When I cut the grasses, I leave the ‘hay’ in a big pile there. This is to save the insects and it is fun to see how much other wild life that haystack brings, seeing the little holes there and birds on top, searching for goodies.


There is more beauty in a winter garden.




And than I looked thoughtful for a while at this bird box. It is made especially for owls and it hangs there empty for a year now. Sometimes I see birds fly in at night when the weather is cold, seeking shelter. That’s at least something. There are at least two owls in our garden, because I often hear them at night having loud conversations and keeping me awake. You see my irritation?


Than Mr. Walker and I played again with the new lens (11mm to 16mm) This is a very good lens to use for long exposure photos. When you do that at night, you can photograph the movement of the stars. There is too much ‘light pollution’ around Cincinnati of course. But still good practice and a nice result. By the end of the summer, we have planned a camping trip to Yellow Stone Park. It will be dark enough there!

Nou even wat sneeuw hier maar dat is niks vergeleken bij de arme mensen die nu schuilen voor de ‘Big Blizzard’. En de mooie roofvogel liet zich gelijk weer zien. Een paar dagen terug, had ik foto’s genomen van t siergras dat ik binnenkort moet snoeien omdat t zo fraai in de zon en vorst leek. Die uilenkast wordt maar niet bewoond terwijl de uilen me snachts wel regelmatig wakker houden…
Er is hier teveel lichtvervuiling om echt long exposure foto’s te nemen s’nachts. Maar t is vast goede oefening voor de kampeertrip die we aan t einde van de zomer gepland hebben naar Yellow Stone Park.

Love and Liefs, Johanna

38 thoughts on “Winter Garden and Long Exposure

  1. I can feel chill, your photography has captured the beauty of winter! There is no snow here in the desert. 😄

    • Thanks Pit..I feel indeed very fortunate with this garden. It is the first time we bought a house with an established garden and since it is very private one at the back of the house it almost feels like a secret garden.

      • Hi Johanna,
        our garden is so much different: many trees and much lawn and wide open. But we like it a lot, too.
        Best regards,

  2. Johanna a garden in winter really does have its own special beauty. We have a lot of ornamental grasses and I love to watch them sway in the wind. We leave them alone all winter and in late winter CH ties each of them up at the bottom and cuts them with a chainsaw. You have some beautiful snaps of the grasses. We are out in the country and still don’t see much of the night sky because we are so socked in by wooded areas. Nice picture of the hawk. That last picture is simply lovely.

    • That is a very good idea, to tie the bottom of the bushes together before winter! I will do that next time, thank you so much. I love watching the breeze going through the grasses too and listening to the rustle. We lived in the country in Canada, in a forest but our back garden was an open area. The night sky was amazing and even magical when at winter time the Northern Lights left us silent and in awe. I was a bit worried when we moved to a suburb of Cincinnati…but this garden is just a slice of heaven to me;0)

      • Not before winter Johanna because then they can’t sway and dance in the breeze. but before cutting them whenever you do that. CH does it late winter, early spring. I didn’t mean to confuse you.

      • Ah no dear Pix, thank you for your concern. I was thinking late fall..the bushes fall apart when there is snow. I will leave the top part to sway and rustle;0) Now your beautiful property is in Missouri? Do you ever have snow there?

      • Yes we have snow in Missouri. Not much at all so far this winter. We get ice storms too. I am not a fan of snow. I like just a flurry of snow and then let it be gone… 😀

  3. Beautiful the way the grass is frosted, and that photo of the hawk is spectacular! Your garden is absolutely lovely in the wintertime. Very, very happy to hear you didn’t get the full brunt of that horrible storm.

    Have you travelled to Yellowstone before? My hubby and I went once, a few years ago, and I so wished we had more time to do some hiking and explore. We camped as well, and really enjoyed the experience.

    • Thank you Sheryl! Those hawks are so beautiful, I think we have about 3 pairs and some offspring in our neighborhood. In Spring, they are quite vocal and have those beautiful flights high up in the air where they catch eachother with their tallons and circle throught the air, very spectaculair.
      That Big Blizzard was a long way away form us;0) Thank goodness indeed, that would have too much winter indeed.
      We have never been to Yellow Stone and are very excited about it, it has been on our ‘list’ for a long time. We are going camping there as well. I have yet to meet the first person that has not good memories of Yellow Stone and the wish of more time to spent there.

  4. Wow–your pictures are wonderful! The grasses look so good at this time of year and I love the photo of the hawk. Is he really close to the house? Tell Charley not to mess with that bird! You’re obviously having fun with your new lens–and finding out just what it can do. I hadn’t known about the long exposure possibilities and I can’t wait to see more experiments!

    • The bird is indeed that close to the house. Red Tails are succesful breeders in our neighborhood and a joy to watch. But only with this winterweather will they come so close to the house to hunt birds. Charley knows not to mess with these birds;0)

  5. Beautiful winter images Johanna. I especially love the sun spots on the grass. We too have owls and when we hear them we say to each other “did you hear that?”. It’s such a special treat! I’m always amazed at all the tracks in our backyard snow. Plenty of life in the winter months.

    I’m very excited about your Yellow Stone plans. That is one of my favorite areas, the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole are lovely gems too. There is an incredible art museum right outside of Jackson that is so worth visiting. Amazing art! You are going to have the best time with your camera! The night photography sounds so interesting. If you are camping, will you be driving out there? There is so much beauty to see!

    • Thank you for the travel suggestions, I googled it and it looks very good. We still have not finalized our travel plan. So such ideas are very welcome. We will fly to Denver and meet up with friends who fly in from the Netherlands. We rented a campervan and that is in my opinion the best way to travel;0)
      The Owls are indeed wonderful but can be so noisy that indeed they keep me awake…I would loooove to see them use the birdbox come Spring in return;0)

  6. I love your frosted grasses. Since moving into the house we are in now I have had a plan to make a gravel garden at the front of the house with lots of ornamental grasses. I keep being thwarted in my plans to get going with this garden – other things I have to do keep stopping me. We have owls that nest in trees close to our house – the babies call all night long every 30 seconds! Are you prepared for this?

  7. The grasses are really pretty Johanna. They look so exotic, like something you’d see along the Nile. What colour are they in the summer? I haven’t ever grown anything that tall, amazing. Do you have to cut them back in the spring and start over again? Owls are so interesting. We attended a presentation at our local bird store not too long ago. I blogged about it. I remember once walking Buddy in the dark on our country road. I had a flashlight lit and saw a giant owl in a tree up ahead. Well the darn thing left it’s perch and flew right toward us. Giant wing span! I ducked and it went past us. I was really freaked out because I’d never been dive-bombed by an owl before. I usually only worried about the odd bat swooping past or the coyote’s howling, seemingly not too far away. Ah nature, it keeps you on your toes. Hey ! I came across this tonight……!

  8. That is indeed very unusual behaviour for an owl! The grasses are green in summer and than slowly to gold. They need to be cut and after a few year to be dug up and dived again and replanted. I love them.

    That link is absolutely hilarious!!! Not a cunning entrepreneurship from me …alas;0)

  9. Ah,it has been such a long time since I last visited your Creative and Pleasing Blog dear Johanna and it seems I have missed so much.Great photo series from your garden and its new wintry look!Loved all the beautiful moments you captured,but the red-tailed hawk on the limb stole my heart!Hope all is fine with you and yours!Take care,Doda 🙂 ❤ xxx
    PS:Heartfelt thanks for leaving your "like "In my recent post …

  10. I just stumbled upon this post which I must have missed before.
    I just love the ‘feel’ of your garden which has such a sense of seclusion, wildness and freedom. It is the kind of place which leaves room for the imagination to be set free. That is so good for you, being such a creative person.
    I loved the sculptural effect of the Pampas Grass too. And you have made me see that plant in a new light.
    I too hear the owls hooting around my house and feel myself to be very blessed if I see one. I have not erected an owl box, but if I did, I would explode with joy if one nested in it. And would be so sad if they did not.
    Karen x

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