May 1, 2013 at 8:34 am Leave a comment

Up and above at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

T’is spring and the tulip fields are in full bloom.  So is the tulip at our house that was replanted by a squirrel where it didn’t belong so many years ago.  It’s so beautiful and thriving, we’ve been afraid to move it.  We had a lot of fun at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (link).  Parking is difficult to find, but the tulips are worth it.  First thing in the morning it was pouring, by noon clear, and the tulip fields arrayed with surprising variety.  Of our favorites was one that didn’t belong where it was planted so reminiscent of our tulip at home.

Rainy day at the tulip fields

We arrived in Mt Vernon before breakfast when the rain was still coming down on the tulip fields. The Fuji X20 captured this through the car window.

The photo was shot wide and this image cropped out the extra sky and mud near the road. A graduated filter in Lightroom gave the sky some punch and contrast. The focus should have been pulled in to the front of the tulips.

Fields of color at Tulip Town

Endless rows of tulips at Tulip Town

Gotta be me

The fields of tulips occasionally find an interloper of another color.

In this shot the tight depth of field isolates the purple tulip well from the surounding pink ones. The pink one on the left however was a problem isnce it was also in sharp focus. Lightroom’s adjustment brush fixed that by lowering the Sharpness and Clarity just on that one bud. Another Adjustment Brush pulled out the purple tulip as well.

Rows of tulips at Tulip Town

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is held through the month of April in the Skagit Valley (surprise, surprise). The festival has been running for thirty years since its inauguration in 1984.  It split from the Moount Vernon Chamber of Commerce in 1994 and became a separate entity. The festival has also grown from three to seventeen to thirty days because then it would actually catch the blooming of the flowers. There are various events associated with the festival, the most successful of which tend to be the downtown Mount Vernon Street Fair and the Kiwanis Salmon BBQ though there are many other activities available throughout the month. The festival website (http://www.tulipfestival.org/) has all sorts of information of where the blooming fields are, what activities are going on and everything else needed to plan a visit.

Red and white striped tulip

A single yellow tulip

Finding a single tulip in Tulip Town is a challenge.

Tulips are one of the oldest and most numerous species of flora. There are currently 109 different flowers categorized as tulips. The only color not present in the tulip species is black – there are a number of deep blue and purple but never a true black. The flower originated in the Ottoman empire in which the giving of a tulip was the purest symbol of love. A red tulip was to declare your love (the black center being your heart burned to a coal by love’s passion) and a yellow tulip declared a truly hopeless and utter love. The tulip has been featured in poetry as far back as the thirteenth century (Persian poem Gulistan).  During the Ottoman Empire the tulip was seen as a sign of abundance and indulgence and the wealthiest period of the empire is often referred to at the tulip age in Turkish (Lale Devri).



From eating the indoor seedlings to swatting the window glass that divides them from the hummingbirds, the cats know that spring has come.  They loved the tulips we brought in to the house far too much.  We have no pictures of the bouquets.

Tulip dewdrops

As published in Explore, the 2012 Photographers at Microsoft photobook supporting United Way, see http://www.photographersatmicrosoft.com



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