Long lashes

Here’s another view of some of the native Azaleas at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.  If the brilliant orange isn’t enough to get your attention, I know the long stamen extending out of the center must be!

This is another case where I have to wonder, why?  Some flowers have deep cups, some are convex curves with many tiny blossoms and this one has long fingers reaching out from the body of the plant.  Usually, the birds or insects that pollinate will want to land while trying to eat the goodies inside.  Maybe this is a ploy to get them to hover over the pollen and blow it off the plant or get it stuck on wings?  You have to assume that the design works somehow since these plants seem to have no problem continuing on from season to season.

It certainly is amazing, though, to think of how many ways there are that nature deals with so many different situations.

Chattahoochee Nature Center
Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
300mm @ f18 –  1/100 sec – ISO 200

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Face down

I have always found it interesting to see plants with flowers that face downward.  You would think that nature would say, this is wrong.  The whole point of having a flower is to attract attention toward the pollen that will allow the plant to reproduce so why point that to the ground?  But, maybe there are cases where the pollinator is not a butterfly or bee but some other creature that is more earth-bound.  Nature always has a reason even if we don’t know what it is.

I suppose I should just accept the fact that the flower is beautiful.  The colors are wonderful and the shapes so, elegant.  Still, my curiosity makes me wonder why it is this way.  Science would say that the plant naturally developed this way to adapt to something in it’s environment.  I think God has a sense of humor and throws a curve every once in while, just to see if we are paying attention.

Chattahoochee Nature Center
Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
300mm @ f18 –  1/100 sec – ISO 200

Purple power

Little flowers can pack a big punch when they are a vibrant color like this.  The Chattahoochee Nature Center is full of plantings that include small flowers like this. Individually,  they would hardly be noticeable but in groups they really are eye-catching.

I didn’t bring my macro lens on this visit but, I probably should next time.  It is always amazing to look at the detail of things and I kind of think the center of this flower-head is as cool as the open flowers.  Nature is wonderful!

Chattahoochee Nature Center
Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
300mm @ f18 –  1/80 sec – ISO 200

Surprise Blossom

I have been enjoying the many blossoms of Spring in Atlanta lately.  There are so many trees and shrubs and bulbs bursting out right now.  At the same time, I have some plants that I bring inside when the weather turns cold.  I have not brought them back out yet because we keep having these dramatic swings in the weather that produce harsh wind and rain.

I noticed a couple of weeks ago the one of the two Amaryllis bulbs that I have acquired over the last few years as Christmas gifts, was sprouting leaves.  The other one seemed to be doing nothing.  Suddenly, the second bulb put out a long shoot without having any leaves come out and boom, two big, red Amaryllis flowers appear!

We see so many of these around the winter holiday season and it’s not a flower you really associate with Spring but, this was so eye-popping that I thought I would share it today.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
ProMaster LED120SS light
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 –  5 sec – ISO 400

Ma Berry

This past Sunday, Joyce and I made the trip up to Rome, Georgia to visit the Bald Eagle nest at Berry College.  We were invited to join the North Georgia Photography Club and their special guest, David Akoubian for the morning.  I must say, it ‘s not my favorite thing to do getting up early enough on Sunday morning to arrive in Rome before dawn but it was worth the effort.

David had informed the group that the eagles are usually most active right around sunrise as they go out hunting.  There are now two chicks in the nest to feed and they are getting pretty big these days so, they are HUNGRY!  The eagles do not get named since they are wild creatures.  People refer to the adults as Ma and Pa Berry and we saw both of them out hunting.  The male was first to return to the nest with a squirrel followed not to long after by Ma Berry with a duck.

NGPC-BerryCollege-0789

After the chicks were fed and the adults ate what they wanted, Ma Berry decided she needed some water so, she flew to the field that is between the nest and the main entrance of Berry College where there is a little spot that collects water.  We followed the experienced eagle addicts that had joined the group for a rare opportunity to catch a few eagle ground shots.  This image is my favorite from that time.

Berry College Bald Eagle Nest viewing area
Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
500mm @ f/14 –  1/250 sec – ISO 320

Native Azalea

It never seems to fail that when you are looking for something, you can’t find it and right after the deadline passes, that thing is all over the place.  I was searching for azaleas to submit for the Roswell Azalea Festival that started yesterday and couldn’t find any over the last few weeks.  Now, they are in bloom everywhere!

Most of the azaleas we see these days are the Japanese hybrids that are often the red, pink and white flowers that appear in home landscapes.  I think some of the most interesting varieties however, are the native azaleas like this beautiful orange example above.  I am not 100% sure of the variety here but it looks like a Flame Azalea to me.

Chattahoochee Nature Center
Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
100mm @ f18 –  1/400 sec – ISO 400

More Spring macros

I noticed this hellebore at Gibbs Gardens and thought it would make a great macro shot.  I love the contrasting red and green colors and the distinctive shape of the center of the flower.  It is always interesting to notice the plants that are not the big draw when walking through the gardens.  While everyone else was looking at cherry blossoms and daffodils, there are these little beauties waiting on the sidelines to be noticed.

It is a reality that when you do these close-up shots, the small things like shapes, textures and colors are what really make the image pop.  In this case, I feel like all the pieces were there even though this was a plant that most people just walked past without really seeing it.  Looking for opportunities like this really make you open your eyes and not just pass things by.  That’s one of my favorite benefits of being a photographer – noticing the things that many people miss!

Gibbs Gardens

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/13 –  1/80 sec – ISO 400