Flowers for free

Would you complain if someone brought you flowers for free?  Well, if they are considered to be weeds, then yes we do!  Another of Spring’s little gifts is that along with all the plants we love, there are all those other uninvited guests that appear in our gardens and lawns.  The puffy seed ball of the dandelion is one of those that we see over and over.

It really is quite amazing to study the structure of these plants (even if we are muttering unkind things each time we see them) and the clever seed delivery system that is built in.  You can see in this shot, the brown seeds clustered around the stem, each with it’s own little star-shaped parachute attached.  They are just waiting for a good gust of wind to blow them around and start new plants in someone else’s lawn.  I guess that’s why they never seem to go away.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 –  1/320 sec – ISO 800

Spring is here, Dogwoods and pollen

Well, it has been warm enough in Atlanta to qualify as Spring for most places since January but now, it is officially Spring and nature has exploded.  Some of the most beloved signs of the season, like dogwoods and cherry blossoms, are now evident as you can see from this example in my front yard.

At the same time, one of the most hated Spring visitors has returned – POLLEN.  According to the Atlanta Allergy & Asthma the pollen count from yesterday was 2924.  As a reference, a total pollen count of 1500 is considered Extremely High and that’s as far as the scale goes!  Last year we had a few days that went over 4000 so, I’m afraid that it is bad news for allergy sufferers.

I’m going to try to stay on the positive side and enjoy the beauty of Spring.  I will just have to put up with my car being tinted yellow and my throat being sore for the next few weeks.  Hope the flowers are worth it.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 –  1/320 sec – ISO 800

Failure to Launch

I was invited to help with photography for the John Hunter Regatta at the Lake Lanier Olympic Rowing Course in Gainesville, Georgia this past weekend.  It was my first time experiencing a rowing regatta and it was a lot of fun.  This was a special treat because I was able to get in close on the teams while they were preparing for races as well as when they were on the course.

One of my favorite moments over the weekend was the scene above.  I was watching teams launch their boats and saw this one from Northwestern University.  They brought the boat down the ramp and went through the same routine as other teams – Lift overhead, filp the boat, reach out and in, then get the oars set and the rowers into the boat and they were off.  Or so it would seem…

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The next thing I knew, the boat was upside down and the team members were swimming.  It happened that just as the Northwestern boat was passing by the end of the dock, another team was in the process of dropping their boat in and the oars got tangled and capsized them.  The second team ended up with their boat sideways but they were able to pull it back out without going into the water.

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After a fair amount of effort to get the team out of the water and then haul the boat up on the dock, they picked it up and all that water dumped out on their heads.  As it turned out, the Northwestern team was able to re-launch and participate in the race but I bet it was very uncomfortable rowing out there soaking wet!

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John Hunter Regatta 2017
Lake Lanier Olympic Course
Gainesville, Georgia

Featured image:
Nikon D7100
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
85mm @ f/10 –  1/400 sec – ISO 400

Late(er) blooming daffodils

The daffodils at Gibbs Gardens started blooming much earlier than normal this season but there are still some late bloomers to enjoy.  This grouping was just too beautiful to ignore especially with an azalea bush right behind it.

I had to play with settings a bit on this image to get the focus sharp just on the front grouping and have the grouping behind them blur out into the distance.  I opened the aperture up to f10 to get a shallower depth of field.  This gave more separation so that the first few blossoms are the focal point and the others blend into the distance and give a nice backdrop.

I have gotten into the practice of using a very small (f22) lens opening with macro shots because the depth of field usually is quite small when you get in really close.  For this one, I didn’t really want the whole of the group competing for attention so, I opened it up and I like the final effect.

Gibbs Gardens
Ball Ground, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/10 –  1/500 sec – ISO 400

Time for Azaleas

I had heard that there were some early azaleas blooming at Gibbs Gardens.  I was actually looking for these a week or two ago but the ones that came out first got knocked back by the cold snap we had.  There are not all that many in bloom yet but what is here is quite beautiful.

A trip to Gibbs Gardens is nice pretty much any time of the year.  It’s not quite time to plan your azalea/rhododendron outing if that was your lone reason to visit but that is probably coming up pretty soon.

Gibbs Gardens
Ball Ground, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/20 –  1/160 sec – ISO 400

Poppy details

Yesterday, I met up with the North Georgia Photo Club at Gibbs Gardens.  The daffodils that bloomed early this year were on their way out but there is still lots to enjoy.  The cherry blossoms are in full bloom and some early azaleas are blooming.  There are many, many plants sprouting and ready to bloom soon and will probably be making the gardens amazingly vibrant over the next few weeks.

One of the flowers that were eye-catchers this weekend were these yellow poppies.  I was exercising my macro lens on this trip so, I got in as close as possible to capture the detail of the eye of this flower.  I don’t think I have ever made a trip to Gibbs when I didn’t get some good images.  The flowers are a bit restrained right now because so many spring and early summer plants are not quite ready.  I’m sure the summer will be fantastic and I plan to make many more trips this year.

Gibbs Gardens
Ball Ground, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/20 –  1/160 sec – ISO 400

Promise of Spring

I know my complaints about how the cold snap messed spring up may be getting old.  This was one of those little bits of spring that survived.  I’m going to make a trip out to Gibbs Gardens today so, maybe there is some evidence of spring up there to brighten my spirits.  I will be sure to post that when I get back.

Until then, I guess this will do.

Archibald Smith Plantation Home – Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/20 –  1/125 sec – ISO 400