Left On The Cutting Room Floor, building my Flower & Garden Show Lecture…

Here’s the perfect chance to show some of my favorite, never before seen pictures that didn’t make the final cut for the book and share several behind the scenes tales from the making of The 50 Mile Bouquet

But how to weave all that into a story that will fascinate, entertain and flow over the imaginations of the audience like water? …or should that be like warm butter?

Start with tens of thousands of images shot in dozens and dozens of locations over a period of five years. Faces, places, relationships, actions, flowers, hands, bouquets, creatures, concepts. Now narrow that immense sea of images down to less than 200 that make sense for the book I co-created this past year with garden author Debra Prinzing, book designer James Forkner and the talented folks at St. Lynn’s Press. How exactly does one build a single slide that addresses all of that?

Here are the iPhone generated photos I shot yesterday as I worked out how to grapple with this ‘funnel it all into your brain’ concept.

First: I’m looking for something that I can use that looks like an immense funnel. Cue the violins as I dig this light fixture out of a dusty box in the basement and try to remember why I haven’t put it up outside my basement door yet. I hold it up while my trusty little iPhone camera counts down the seconds before shooting the self-timer triggered picture. Hooray for Camera+!


OK, it looks enough like a funnel that I think I can use it, but how can I get it to float properly above my head without having to hold it there? Thinking cap time. (PS, I’m wearing the hat in this case partly because I don’t want to have to go take a shower and wash my uber-frumpy hair before I can do this thing…)

20130131_DPP-4Hmmmmm, a light stand, a triangular scrap of wood and a clamp. Yes, I’ll have to retouch out the stand and the back part of the light fixture, but on a dark, textureless background, that should be easy enough. Notice that I’ve now traded my regular eyeglasses for my three dollar “BugEye” glasses to add an overall touch of elegance and class to the image. And notice too that I’ve got the camera tilted at an angle so I can add type to the lighter side of the image while accommodating the crookedness of the ‘funnel’ since it’s hanging all cattywompus from the light stand/clamp. Tricksy little hobbit.


By jove, I think we’ve got it. And I didn’t even have to take a shower.


Oh noes… Can it really have been that easy? A mere half-hour from initial brainstorm to final shot. Still gotta download it into the computer and retouch it in Photoshop. And I need to come up with some kind of special effect for the myriad of photos that will be pouring down from the heavens into the funnel. Doh, and I still need to figure out what the slide should actually say, pick a font and then add the type. But hey…

Total build time for this one ‘concept’ slide: About 3.5 hours.

Only 79 or 80 more to go…     Stay tuned.

Want to see how it all comes together? Come to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show on Friday, February 22. I’ll be presenting this seminar, Left on the Cutting Room Floor at 2:45 pm in the Hood Room and then signing copies of The 50 Mile Bouquet immediately following. Lectures at the NWFGS are free.

Today is building slides day, in preparation for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
Today is another building slides day, in preparation for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.


Welcome new subscribers… Thank you for visiting.

A rainy, cold Saturday morning outside but obviously people want to learn and play more than they want to stay cozy and dry at home.
It was a chill, rainy Saturday morning outside, but obviously people wanted to learn and play more than they wanted to stay cozy and dry at home. My kind of people, indeed. You’ll find you’re among family here.

This is a quick welcome and shout out to those of you who have visited for the first time recently, having decided to subscribe following a lecture and/or workshop appearance. It is also a quick tease to remind all those interested in such things that I will be presenting once again at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. This year my seminar is entitled, Left on the Cutting Room Floor: Gorgeous Photos that Didn’t Make the Book.

If you’ve ever wondered how books like The 50 Mile Bouquet come together, how the pictures are selected and/or rejected for a picture-rich project, this sixty minute slide lecture is for you. Check out the seminar synopsis below and mark Friday, February 22 on your calendar as a perfect day to attend the Flower & Garden Show. There are so many great, free seminars to choose from. In fact, just a bit after my presentation, Amy Stewart, the wonderful author of Flower Confidential, who helped inspire and then generously wrote the introduction to The 50 Mile Bouquet for Debra Prinzing and me, will be lecturing in the Rainier Room on the subject of her brand new book, The Drunken Botanist. And following her, my dear friend Paul Zimmerman of Paul Zimmerman Roses will be lecturing in that same venue on the topic, Roses are Plants, Too. Here’s a link to more info on his new book: Everyday Roses: The Casual Gardener’s Guide To Growing Knockout and Other Easy-Care Modern Roses

(Paul and I are currently building a joint workshop which we’ll be presenting around the country, entitled Roses Old and New, covering both common sense rose care and approachable rose and garden photography. Look for more news on this exciting, full-day workshop here soon.)
You were such an enthusiastic room full of iPhone and iPad wielding travelers. You made my first presentation for the Rick Steves organization a real treat.


Here’s what I’m working on next: Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Left on the Cutting Room Floor: Gorgeous Photos that Didn’t Make the Book

Fri, Feb 22 at 2:45 pm / Hood Room (mark your calendars)
The process of (garden) bookmaking is considered by many who practice it to be one of the darkest of the arts, requiring an iron will, a subtle hand and ferociously focused multi-tasking skills. Fresh from his multiple roles as co-creator, photographer, photo editor and image colorist in producingThe 50 Mile Bouquet in collaboration with garden author, Debra Prinzing, for St. Lynn’s Press, David Perry invites you behind the curtain to see and understand better how the essential visual elements of a picture-rich book actually come together, and how he edited a collection of more than 40,000 photos down to a mere 176. Join David as he shares fascinating glimpses of this complex dance, from selecting just the right pictures that will help the author’s words come to life, to collaborating with the graphic designer in sizing, image placement and cropping, and finally, to the truly mysterious art of enhancing each file individually so it will sing in harmony with the others and stun on the printed page.

Book Signing immediately follows this seminar.

Here’s a little bonus, a glimpse at the cover image for the rose workshop I’m currently developing with rosarian, Paul Zimmerman. Stay tuned…



A Trip to Paradise Garden

When an already amazing winter garden is blanketed in snow . . .

. . . grab your coat, your camera. Hurry up! Go!   ( Here, nearly silent runners duck and swerve to avoid the snow-laden branches as the heavy flakes keep falling.)

Don’t wait for blue skies, though if they show, rejoice . . . (A pungent witch-hazel, in full fragrant bloom, bedecked with a heavy coat of snow.)

For even a hint of sunshine will change the visual landscape dramatically, adding even more color and contrast to the mix.

This stunning and very large Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ literally glows within a small, momentary patch of sunlight.

There are wonders on a snow day, quite different from the rain. (Winter-blooming Camelia blossoms are accented by the darker leaf tops and lighter leaf bottoms, and, of course, a heavy dusting of snow.)

Some blooms may appear in an entirely new light against a background of white. (This Mahonia reaches upward perhaps ten feet beneath an immense cedar and its blooms, a prized source of hummingbird food, are much more visible against the bright snowy background than against shadowy, dark foliage on a snowless day. )

Small details take on new importance as one moves in close, even while still marveling at the larger snowy scene that drew you toward them in the first place.

For me it is that contrast, taking in the beauty of a larger, more pastoral scene and then turning to discover some small wonder on a shrub, not three feet behind me. ( Below: Garrya, aka, Silk Tassel Bush)

An early blooming rhododendron, radiant within a heavy blanket of white, serves as a woodland beacon against a backdrop of greys (below).

Seattle has a most amazing winter garden that many describe as a complete transformative experience once they’ve visited it. I have walked its winter-fragrant paths many, many times over the years, on rainy days and cold sunny days, and never, ever have I left, disappointed for the time spent getting there or being there, regardless of the weather. This past week, however, was something altogether different. This was the first time I’ve driven through a sea of insane-seeming fishtailing cars and trucks on the freeway and then navigated several slippery, narrow side streets in a heavy snowstorm to actually arrive and spend time within the winter garden as an ultimate winter paradise, and ohhh, oh my!

Once I had arrived safely and started walking within that sacred silence, that essential essence of falling snow, I completely forgot about all the crazies along the way, surrendering to the beauty, instead. I could scarcely have hoped for such a complete wonderland treat, and ended up staying there, utterly enchanted for nearly three hours.

If you live in the Seattle area or plan on visiting in the next month or so, and have never yet been to the winter garden, go. If you’re coming to town for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, consider a field trip with friends for a few hours, rain or shine. Bundle up, take your camera and treat your nose and eyes to something completely unexpected. There’s no charge.