Welcome to Earth, Sun, Film!

Earth, Sun, Film is the direct result of an eclipse and an ugly lawn. After many years of dealing with a front yard that wouldn’t grow grass or ivy, I signed a contract to have sod installed. The company had good references. After waiting for two weeks past the install date, I called the company to find out the reason for the delay. Answer? The head of the company was on vacation. No sod was ever installed. After that call, I gave up on having a lawn. That was June 2013, and soon after, the idea of turning the yard into a flower garden crossed my mind. I have no idea why I thought flowers would grow when nothing else had. 

In March 2014, having read a book about turning a front yard into a garden and looking through a few magazines, I ripped up what remained of the ivy and started planning the garden. It took two months to decide what to plant and another six weeks or so to find the plants I wanted. The first plants went in the ground in June—in Atlanta—HUGE mistake!! Everything looked nice, but the heat was too much—70% of the plants did not come back the next year. I learned a lot that summer—especially about watering. 

From the start, I took pictures of the garden, mostly for planning, using an iPhone. Once the garden began to look decent (four years later), I wanted better pictures than I could get with the phone. The backgrounds never blurred the way I wanted, so cars, trashcans, and whatever else was on the street photo-bombed my shots. Eventually, I discovered that “bokeh” is the technical term for the blurred background look I wanted. But getting that effect required a camera or a much more expensive iPhone, neither of which I was willing to do at the time. Enter, stage right, the lunar eclipse of January 2019. Having never seen a full lunar eclipse before, I wanted pictures. The iPhone didn’t cut it, so, once again, the idea of getting a camera popped up. A few weeks later, I bought a Minolta 7000i.  

But there is more to this story. Planting a garden and buying that camera changed my life.  

Gardening began as a solution to a problem, but I’ve come to realize that working with plants and hanging out with birds and bugs has affected me in ways I never expected. Every spring, each sprout that peeks out makes me happier than seems reasonable. Discovering that plants have personalities, carpenter bees are territorial (but not mean), hummingbirds visit on a schedule, and butterflies are very laid back, has been thrilling, amusing, and enlightening.

Carpenter bee enjoying Black and Blue Salvia

Likewise, the time spent looking through a viewfinder has given me a much greater appreciation for photography as an art. The time of day is important now not only because of what I have to do but also because of where the sun is. And things that once receded quietly into the background introduce themselves. Puddles reflect. Buildings shimmer. People no longer simply walk; they stroll, or amble, or hurry. Decrepit buildings tell stories, and piles of stones are abstract art awaiting discovery. Suddenly potential shots are everywhere! Through the viewfinder, the world is different — so many things to re-see, so many stories to tell. 

I created Earth, Sun, Film to connect with others interested in gardening and/or photography. Posts will range across both areas, covering everything from battling whiteflies and aphids to using focus modes and exposure compensation. 

Earth, Sun, Film — around the garden, around the city, with camera.


  1. Hi. My name is Simon Gilbert and I got your link from the Minolta Collector’s group on Facebook.

    I find Earth, Sun, Film fascinating, as I am both a Minolta collector and a plants enthusiast.

    I was born and grew up in Wisley, Surrey, England – which is the headquarters of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS Garden Wisley) who also have several other gardens across the UK. My father was a UK fruit expert and has written books and articles – E.G.Gilbert Soft Fruit Growing being one.

    Congratulations on your site, and my best wishes.

    Simon Gilbert.

    1. Hi Simon, happy to make your acquaintance!

      Wherever I travel, I try to visit gardens. Although, I never considered having a garden until I couldn’t grow a decent lawn. I see plants are part of your heritage, which makes me pleased that you would fine ESF interesting.

      Please continue to read and comment; it’s always nice to meet another plant person. Good luck with your SR-T!

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