We traveled to North Carolina this past weekend to visit family.  I was reminded of visiting a couple of years ago in December when we went to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens outside of Charlotte.  Being from the north, it was odd to me that a public garden would be open in the winter. Here in the cold northeast, such public gardens usually close around the Columbus Day.  Not only was DSBG open, they are famous for their beautiful Holidays at the Garden light display woven into a truly amazing example of landscape and garden architecture.  If you are in the Charlotte area at any time of the year, it is well worth the trip.

I had not brought adequate camera equipment to “properly” photograph the gardens but decided to have a bit of fun with the basic camera that I had.  I photographed the lights and the garden by either purposely putting it out of focus and/or purposely moving the camera while using a longer shutter speed.  It was so much fun to “break the rules”.

Those images have just been sitting on my hard drive until today when I remembered them and decided to use a few to create some mandalas.  The first few were just OK in my mind, there were several that I didn’t even save.  However, I really love the ones that use the image of the twisted trees with lights on them (6-9).  The original image was made by rotating the camera during the exposure. I like the light on the crepe myrtle trees and the blue of the just darkening sky and the white lights that were hanging in the trees.    All that gives the mandalas more dimension.  And, I almost always like mandalas better if they include some bit of nature.

What do you think?  How have you broken the rules lately?