Even though the weather's dreary and cold, and I'm in my second-floor office with no view of my gardens, I'm gazing upon a gorgeous array of desert flowers. But that's just today. Yesterday it was a bold swath of grape hyacinths and white daffodils. And the day before that? Well, it's easy to lose track, but I think it was a striking close-up of a purple crocus hybrid.
This ever-changing botanical display is beautiful, inspiring, and brings me great joy -- but the flowers can't be smelled or touched. Why? They're featured in photos that serve as the wallpaper on my computer. And though the images change daily, they're all from the same source: webshots.
Webshots is a photo- and video-sharing website. Yes, there are tons of amateur photos on the site, but there is also a professional section called pro shots. Each day four pro shots are featured; I check them out daily and download the ones I want to add to my collection. You can also browse the pro shots gallery, which includes a large assortment in the Flowers & Gardens category including: top downloads, highest rated, newest, bonsai trees, daisies, fields, flower arrangements, flower close-ups, flower mix, gardens, lilies, orchids, poppies, roses, sunflowers, tulips, and wildflowers.
The basic level of membership in webshots is free. You can download a maximum of five photos per day. For $2.49 a month, premium membership allows unlimited downloads, access to some photos that are available to premium members only, and a widescreen download option.
I joined several years ago. And when my computer died about a year ago, one of the greatest losses was the webshots photo collection I had built up. Because my new laptop is widescreen, I upgraded my membership to premium so the photos would fit my screen properly. To me, it's worth every penny.
In fact, I've found myself more than once out in nature, admiring a particular angle or view of the real thing -- whether it's a garden or a sunset or the ocean -- and exclaiming, "Ooh.... That's a webshot!"