I often think of that quote by Leonardo da Vinci when I’m photographing flowers, particularly white callas. Perhaps it’s their simplicity that appeals to many. And perhaps it’s simplicity that makes the popularity of black and white photography endure in some circles. I took both of these photos of a white calla on a black background, one I took as a colored shot and the other began the same way but was edited to black and white. What’s your preference?


Black and White CallaWhite Calla on Black



Those of you who know me, or are familiar with my photographs, know that one of my favorite flowers is the calla or more commonly known as the calla lily. (Botanical name is Zantedeschia) It’s not actually a lily which is why they are often referred to  as “callas.”

I’ve been drawn to the elegance of these flowers for some time and have shot many photos of them. Here are a few of my calla photographs:

3 White Callas3 Callas-1-3

Callas for video-4

Calla with shadowWhite Calla Vert

Single pink and white calla-1Single pink and white calla 2-1

2 color azaleas-1Calla 2Calla 1

But I’m not alone in finding artistic merit in callas. Two of my favorite painters, Georgia O’Keeffe and Diego Rivera have both used the them in numerous paintings. Take a look.


Begonia on Light Box 1
Begonia on Light Box 1

I hadn’t dragged out my light box in a long time. Finally on Sunday I admitted to myself that my work was getting stale, and I was taking the same photograph over and over. Hmm…why not try my light box again? It lives in a corner in my garage, and takes a bit of effort to set it up,  I somehow summoned the energy to bring it inside, cut some fast-fading begonias, and came up with a few good shots.

begonia 2


Rhododendron on Light Box
Rhododendron on Light Box


White Begonias


Like the giant redwoods that begin from a small cone, begonias germinate from dust-fine seeds that grow into plants that can produce huge blossoms. Most gardeners, however, begin with tubers rather than seeds.

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which allows us to count our blessings. Eric Hoffer


Yellowt Begonia

There are 1,500 named species of begonias that come in every color except blue. The dark green leaves provide a striking background for the flowers. I’m lucky enough to live in a cool, wet climate that is perfect for growing them. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens has a large collection that I have photographed for several years, and many of those images are on my Happiness Cards.

White Begonia with Red EdgesI regret that I’m not more knowledgeable about the names. Many plants at the botanical gardens have only descriptive tags. I’m not very interested in the names for myself, but I know some of my readers would like some identification.

Heart Begonia

This photograph was published in a book a few years ago. I had not indicated which was the top of the photo, and it was printed upside down with the caption, “Into the Heart of Mystery.” I hadn’t realized how much it resembles a heart until I saw it in the book.



“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one leave without feeling happier.”

Mother Teresa

Welcome to Happiness Cards! Blogging is a new venture for me, and I hardly know where to start. Maybe I should begin with a bit about who I am and what I do. I’m an 83 year old photographer and maker of Happiness Cards. I guess my age isn’t relevant until you consider the challenge I have when doing everything digitally.

When I was growing up things were very different: dial phones that were attached to the wall, no cell phones ; radios instead of TV; Monopoly and tiddley-winks instead of games on a digital platform; hours of playing outside and permission to bike all over town; and certainly no computers. I was in college before my family got a TV, and we were among the first in our neighborhood to have one. You get the idea. A very different world.

I’m not suggesting the world I grew up in was better. I love the things I can do with a computer (until it malfunctions) and with my digital cameras. But often I feel as if I’m running to catch up with the latest Facebook changes, software developments, platforms and things I don’t even know the names for. But it’s been said that if you aren’t learning you aren’t living, so here’s to life!

With this blog,  I hope to inspire, entertain, educate, and now and then challenge you. I also want to share Happiness Cards and show you how you can use them to make the world a happier place.  I’m looking forward to a wonderful adventure with you. Connie


If you buy a box of Happiness Cards, what are you going to do with them? Let’s see, you could use them to paper your bedroom. Might take too many. How about gluing them to your ceiling so you be inspired as you fall asleep? A little better. Or you could share them with friends and strangers. That’s cool, and it’s why they were made, but if you have other ideas, great! Here are 10 suggestions to get you started. I’d love to hear how you use them, too. The only “rule” is to get happy spreading happiness.

10 Ways to Use Happiness Cards

1. Enclose them in birthday cards, get well cards and other communication.

2. Take several to local Food Bank to be picked up or included with bags of groceries.

3. Leave some in the hospital and ER waiting rooms.

4. Have them for customers or clients to take.

5. Include one with bills you’re paying and other business mail.

6. Leave them on a park bench for someone to find.

7. Give to guests at birthday parties, weddings and other celebrations.

8. Send one in your child’s lunch to give to his/her teacher.

9. Leave them in library books you’re returning.

10. Leave one with the tip when eating out.

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are the sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank