Bougainvillea Boogie

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

I have a motto: If it’s beautiful, shoot it. This has resulted in an eclectic assortment of gorgeous photos that I didn’t know what to do with…until I discovered a website that lets you upload 12 to 15 photos, select music to go with them, then alchemizes the whole shebang into a 30-second video. (Any longer, you have to pay for.) Now, this is not intended to be an advertisement for Animoto.com, but OMG, is it ever fun.  And trust me, if I can do it, so can you.

A nursery near my home has a greenhouse filled with every imaginable bougainvillea, including many with variegated leaves. I love being immersed in all those vibrant bracts.  I sold a story about it to Sunset magazine, but they didn’t need my photos, which sat unused until I made “Bougainvillea Boogie.”  Remember, all these videos are a mere half minute. As you’ll see when you click on any of the links, an Animoto video is fast-pased and upbeat…very much a youth-oriented medium

Photos of flowers that appear to radiate light inspired my “Lit from Within” video.

A garden photographer once told me that flowers usually are shot backlit—excellent advice. It really brings them to life. It’s tricky to avoid getting sun in the lens, though. You have to shade it. I just use my hand rather than a bulky lens attachment.

Several summers ago, when I was at the Denver Botanical Garden, I took photo after photo of a swallowtail butterfly sipping nectar from a bed of gerbera daisies.  Those images are now “Swallowtail Flutterby.” Animoto conveniently had background art of a flitting butterfly as well as a music track about butterflies.

Of course I had to do something succulent-oriented. For “Sizzling Ice Plants” I chose the background music because of the tempo and lyrics. Picking music for the video is half the fun. Animoto provides an assortment of genres, from classical to oldies. You can listen to any selection with a mouse click…usually thinking to yourself, “nope.” And then, amazingly, you find one that fits.

Want to give Animoto a whirl? I hope you do, for the fun of it…and that you agree it’s Gardening Gone Wild in a whole new way!

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Debra is a regular contributor to Sunset and other publications, and her own half-acre garden near San Diego has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Debra specializes in showing how to use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of appealing and creative applications. www.debraleebaldwin.com.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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Rebecca Sweet November 5, 2010, 10:25 am

Debra! You GET it! Animoto videos are great when they’re upbeat, short, and a joy to watch! I’ve seen so many that sort of drag on forever with weird music attached….leave it to you to make the BEST ones out there! (love the Lit from Within, btw). I’m sending Susan on over right now…..

Aw, shucks, Rebecca, I did 30-second ones because they’re free. I’m too cheap to sign up for Animoto and actually PAY. ;+) Debra

Rebecca Sweet November 5, 2010, 10:29 am

Okay – I changed my mind. I’m thinking the Flutterby is now my favorite… :)

I think the name is a bit precious, though. What’s the term? Twee. Thing is, you don’t want to change anything about an Animoto video once it’s out there, because later versions start with zero views. — Debra

Cat November 5, 2010, 11:30 am

So much fun! I learn so much from your blog. Thanks for sharing.

Hi, Cat — I have Bay Area landscaper and garden writer Susan Morrison to thank for turning me onto it. I hope you have fun with it, too! — Debra

Germi November 5, 2010, 1:46 pm

STOP!!! My eyes are on fire!!!
How exciting to see these colors right now – We are lucky in SoCal, but I’m sure our friends in colder parts of the country are going to be loosening their clothing because of the heat your photos are bringing.
I think Animoto is great – haven’t tried it yet … but can you use your own music, or do you have to use what they provide? I’m eager to explore the possibilities! Thanks Debra – as usual, heart stoppingly gorgeous AND informative!

Hi, Germi — LOL. Glad you liked it. Yes, you can use your own music. I’m not sure how it all works, but that is one of the options they offer. — Debra

Susan Morrison November 8, 2010, 2:43 pm

These are awesome, Debra! My favorite is the swallowtail butterfly. I hadn’t thought of using Animoto to show off a collection, but it’s a great idea.

I need to design the holiday cards I send to clients this month, so am swearing off Animoto in order to stay focused. But maybe a short video break wouldn’t hurt…

Susan, you are my inspiration! Do stay off Animoto and design a holiday card, then email it to me right away. I promise not to copy it, or at least not recognizably so, ha. — Debra

Town Mouse November 10, 2010, 11:03 pm

That really is fun! Maybe I could do one with a banana slug? Ah, the possibilities…

Hi, Ms. Mouse — Latin music would be appropriate for a Chiquita banana slug. — Debra