En Provence - France

I went to the south of France with friends and had a wonderful time. Still dealing with a residual cold and jet lag. But have a snippet of photos to share.


En Provence - France 2023


1. France Day 6 - the hilltop town of Eze, 2. France Day 6 - Grasse, perfume center of France, 3. France Day 6 - Grasse, perfume center of France, 4. France Day 5 - Saint Jean Cap - Ferrat, 5. France Day 9 (Monday) - Saint Tropez, 6. Day 3 - Verdon Gorge and surrounding towns, 7. Day 2 - Nice, 8. Around the grounds at Kismet, 9. Day 1 - Arrival and Exploring Seillans, 10. Day 3 - Bargemon, 11. France Day 5 - Saint Jean Cap - Ferrat, 12. France Day 6 - the hilltop town of Eze




I Can Buy Myself Flowers

One of the most over played, overused songs of 2023 and yet here I am, falling prey to its catchy theme. The over arching message is just so damn relatable - self empowerment, self care and self love. I don’t need to wait for someone to deem me worthy enough to shower me with flowers. I will buy them for myself because they are beautiful and bring me joy.


I recently discovered a local flower farm - only 3 miles away - that sells bouquets from their roadside farm stand. It’s an honor payment system - a drop box for cash or pay via Venmo. The farm utilizes responsible growing methods and of course, I love supporting a local business. Through this vendor I’ve discovered the ranunculus flower and now I can’t get enough.


Spring moments


The ruffles are to die for - like layers of a croissant!



Layers to Die For


Hidden Agenda

I enjoy these beauties every time I pass them in the kitchen. Looking forward to having more flowers in the house in the coming season.


Spring Retirement 2023

Another year, another update. Short and sweet, I've officially retired from my engineering job. I'm just starting week 4 of retirement and so far I haven't been (too) bored. The temperate spring weather enables all sorts of activities, from gardening to outdoor fitness to photographing all sorts of spring flowers.


Cups and Saucers


I'm settling in, navigating and tweaking a new daily rhythm which includes working on my photography, writing and other creative activities. So more to come.


Herald The Cherry Blossoms

I finally had the chance to see this season's cherry blossom bounty yesterday, on the most perfect spring day. Sunny, barely 70 degrees F and no wind set the backdrop of a lovely two hour stroll around the Japanese Garden grounds. Armed with my cameras and accompanied by photo friends who don't mind looking at a single tree or flower for over 10 minutes, we studied the light, looked for bees and tried to capture the essense of these pale pink and ivory clusters of flowers.

Pink Sakura In Bloom


Buzz In




Puff Balls

In comparing these photos with my earlier Crab Apple blossoms, I had to research the difference between the Cherry and Crab Apple blossom since they really look the same. I learned the Cherry Blossom centers only have one single main stem Stigma carried on a Style, surrounded by numerous Anthers. A Crab Apple blossom Style branches out several Stigmas. That is the only difference! The petals of both local varieties are notched in the center.


Bonus photo - taken from my sister's backyard in North Carolina, where spring is 2-3 weeks ahead. Another Cherry Blossom - this one is a double style blossom, a Kwanzan Cherry. I did not know there was such a variety - they are so beautiful!

Double Trouble #cherryblossom #kwanzancherry #spring #northcarolinaspring

Finally, a group selfie of me and my photog friends, who will go to great lengths to get "the perfect shot":

Spring, Finally


Spring Blossoms - Early Magnolia and Crab Apples

Warmer temperatures and longer days bring on Spring's fleeting show of blossoms - cherry blossoms, flowering crab, magnolia, pear and other flowering fruit trees burst with fluffy petals that create a beautiful landscape. We started "sakura watch 2022" two weeks ago, monitoring tree branches for bud formation and progress. Early to bloom trees like magnolia and some crab apples kept us occupied while we waited for the full explosion of Sakura blossoms.

More to Come






Stand Outs

The photos above were taken early last week, before I had to leave town, and here is what the official sakura branches looked like:

Patiently Waiting


Of course, the Sakura burst into bloom the day I left town. I'm back now and hope to get out to see them before the show fades away.


Wormsloe State Historic Site

Day 4 of our Southern Swing has us driving from Savannah back north towards Marietta, but before we start that 4 1/2 hour drive, I convinced my husband to take an unplanned side visit to the Wormsloe State Historic Site, which had been showing up on my list of Top rated things to do in Savannah. For me, the biggest draw was the promise of beautiful grounds and entrance - a grand 1.5 mile stretch of live oak canopy.


We arrived just before the site opened and we were not disappointed. In the morning light, the Spanish moss filters and highlights the sun mixed with dust in the air for an ethereal feel.


Grand Entrance


The site has numerous trails and ruins of the original estate. We learned about the settlers to the area, the estate owner, Noble Jones. We enjoyed our visit and highly recommend the site to anyone visiting the Savannah area.


Southern Swing


Charleston SC - Fort Sumter

On Day 3 of our Southern Swing, we took a day trip from Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC with the goal of visiting Fort Sumter. The conflict on April 12, 1861 at this military garrison triggered the start of the US Civil War. This National Historical Park is accessible via ferry operated by Fort Sumter Tours.


We arrived into Charleston, just missing the first ferry trip, so we opted to walk from the Aquarium area to downtown, along the waterfront battery with its impressive historic houses. We ended up at the far end of the city at the park - White Point Garden. We walked back via Meeting street and milled through the open air markets.


We finally got to ferry out to the Fort and the tour was very informative.

Southern Swing

Spotted enroute to the Fort, a sand bar and a family exploring:

The Sand Bar


After the tour, we enjoyed "Linner" (between Lunch and Dinner, aka, a meal at 3pm) at Magnolias, another excellent restaurant on East Bay. Another great day of exploring.




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All images on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of Shirley LeMay Photography and Shirley Behind the Lens (© 2005-2020). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code. and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) prohibits the use of digital property to be used without the consent of its owner.

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