Dan Holdsworth

I still dream of unfolding my old 4x5 field camera, of throwing a black cloth over my head, cocking the shutter, and then waiting... and waiting. Landscape photography is about patience and time. It's about breathless observation -- inhale and stand stock still. Tack sharpness cuts both ways. I cannot count how many nights I stood guard beside an open shutter, straining to see what my camera would see. There are many gods in my pantheon of the vast view: Edward Weston, Richard Misrach, Edward Burtynsky, Andreas Gursky, and then there is Dan Holdsworth.

dan holdsworth

Holdsworth's works traverse the earth's edges, from Icelandic vistas to American roadways. Like Timothy O'Sullivan over a century before him, he is master of the sublime, charter of both romance and terror.

Using no tricks, no manipulations -- only film and the cool remove of omniscient observation -- he shows us the beauty and horror of an alien world that pulses before our very eyes.

And yet it's the same world we all live in. If you look very carefully you will see it here, there, and everywhere.

Back Yard Sneak Peek

As you dudes know, Matty and I have been hard at work making our backyard inhabitable. Over the past several weekends we've ripped out the hot tub, trimmed back the deck, replaced rotting trim, repainted the trim, REPAINTED THE ENTIRE BACK OF THE HOUSE MYSELF NO HELP FROM MATT, installed sun shade, and planted some green things in the grass. For the very first time ever in my life.

Because this is only a partial view of the yard, I'm calling it a sneak peek, because that's what a sneak peek is, a preview. ahem, another blog.

Oh, this is also a before and after

Here is a nook at the back of my house as of last week. Before we took the hot tub house down I had never even ventured into this part of my yard. Once it was exposed I realized it needed serious work. First, Matt replaced most of the trim, I started doing some spot painting to fix dings and damage but quickly realized that I needed to repaint the entire thing. Had I known this from the start I probably would have repainted my house a new color but, as it stands, it's the same old green just so fresh and so clean clean.

Once the house was ready I was ready to put plants in the ground.

I've always been pretty good at keeping potted plants alive but never before in my life have I planted something right smack-dab into the earth.

I did 2.2 seconds of research online and half listened to Erin as she dished out advice, hopefully that was enough to keep these babies alive.

First I spray painted an outline around the semi-circle I wanted to dig out (hello, my genius idea!) then I dug about 1.5 feet deep. I then poured in alternating layers of native texas mulch and the dirt that I had dug out. I mixed as I poured so everything got tousled. Then, voila, I threw in some plants.

Here's what I planted (all plants are texas-weather friendly):
lily of the nile
fortnight lily
Canna lily
Stella de Oro Daylily
Australian Canna Lily
Bamboo Muhly (not bamboo) (also the coolest once it gets big)

The rocks that are outlining the little garden actually came out of the ground when I was digging. We've got a ton of limestone around here and while it's a pain to dig it up, I didn't have to spend a dollar on edging

If I'm a really good plant mommy, one day it should look like this Texas landscape. You know, in like a week or something.

!Contest! And some other stuff about pretty landscapes

First let me say that I really wish I could do an upside down ! in this blog.  I don't know how, if I did, that first ! in today's title would have been flipped and it would have been much more awesome.  lowercase i doesn't work, btw. ANYWAY.  As part of my continuing effort to learn everything there is to know about planting stuff in the ground before Austin's 3-second spring season ends I've decided that I absolutely under no circumstances can miss the 2010 Outdoor Living Tour taking place right here in our fair city of Austin this very weekend.

Live in town?  Keep reading for contest details.  No where near?  Keep reading because you love us.

This Saturday, April 17, 9 lushly landscaped modern homes in Austin will open their doors for the wrist-banded among us to enjoy (psst, more on this in the contest part below).

Industry experts will be on hand at each property to talk about the design and execution.  Is it gauche to bring my land survey and ask specific questions about drought-resistant plants?

Just kidding, I would never ever do that.  Just thought I'd clarify.

Click HERE for a complete listing of all properties on tour.

Want to go?  Ok, here's the scoop, you can either:

1.  Buy tickets right now for $12 here

2.  Get tickets for $20 on the day of the show (THIS SATURDAY, people!)

or 3.  Leave a stinkin comment.  Oh, and you best have plans to be in Austin this Saturday.  Leave a comment now-zers and I'll draw a winner tomorrow, Wednesday, at 5:00pm central time.  The winner will be announced thursday morning.  Winner gets 2 (two!) wrist bands.