On the road to Bethlehem

Christmas is nearly here and I went to choir practice this evening to prepare for the celebration.  In our church, the decorations are not up as we are still in Advent.  There is a nativity scene outside but inside, only un-decorated Christmas trees.  Yet, the images of Mary and Joseph that are always on display are the best reminder of what the season is about.

I can only imagine faintly what they must have experienced.  To anticipate the new life that was coming and to know what that means to the world must have been incredible.  I hope that I can keep the gratitude for the true meaning of Christmas in my heart now and always.

Image of Virgin Mary
St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church
Alpharetta, Georgia

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Weed fruit

I went out looking for something interesting and came up with this.  These berries are from a weed that keeps coming up in my backyard.  I’m not sure what it is but it has thorns on it and is a pain to get rid of.  I hope that by removing the fruits, at least it won’t spread too much.

As undesirable as the plant is, these little yellow berries are interesting to look at and made for a macro subject that I could play with.  I tried out a texture layer from Perfect Effects called “Grunge Vignette Light”.  It might be a bit dark but I like the effect.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 –  5 sec – ISO 200

Peaceful Woodland

Well, I didn’t get out this weekend due to the rain and gloomy weather.  It’s not much of an excuse.  I should have been looking for something to do indoors but I wasn’t feeling very inspired so, I went back to some shots from a couple of weeks back.

This is one of the stone lanterns around the ponds of the Japanese Garden at Gibbs Gardens.  It is early December but since we’re in the deep south here, it looks more like autumn.  If we had been to visit a week or two earlier, the autumn colors would have still been on display.  In any case, I just loved the light on the fallen leaves as a backdrop to the texture of the lantern.  A little reflection in the water doesn’t hurt to make this a nice scene.

Gibbs Gardens
Ball Ground, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
110mm @ f/11 –  1/80 sec – ISO 100

Is anybody in Atlanta from here?

I have to say that this scene looks like it could be in any US city during the winter but, this is Atlanta.  So, I bet most of the people you see here are from somewhere else.  Most of the residents of the ATL have moved from areas where winter is normal.  Here, anybody who has been around for a while has become acclimated to the sunny south.  Natives would be freezing to death and wouldn’t venture out.  Still, there is a good-sized group who seem to know how to ice skate and are not huddled in the corner so, probably transplants.

Avalon
2200 Avalon Boulevard
Alpharetta, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
300mm @ f/6.3 –  1/200sec – ISO 400

Garden reflections

It is very difficult to tell what the weather conditions are based on a s single scene, isn’t it?  This quiet corner of a reflecting pond in the Japanese Garden at Gibbs Gardens could have been taken at almost any time of year.  It happens that this is early December and the temperature was not too much above freezing.  With the beautiful sunshine and the reflections from the still water it really didn’t matter.  Sometimes it is great to get images that portray the season and sometimes the image seems to be timeless.

Gibbs Gardens
Ball Ground, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
125mm @ f/11 –  1/125 sec – ISO 100

Nature’s lacework

Even in decay, nature is beautiful

Going back to some of my macro work from earlier this month.  This is what a hydrangea flower looks like after Summer has passed.  Unlike many other flowers, these blooms stay on the stem and form a natural dried arrangement.  You can see these in lacy balls on the plants for a long time into the winter.  If there isn’t any substantial wind, rain or snow to knock them down, they will look like this until spring.

I love looking at the intricate patters that are left by the veins after the surface of the petal has worn away.  Another one of the places where decay can be beautiful.

Spent Hydrangea bloom
Bulloch Hall
180 Bulloch Avenue
Roswell, Gerogia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 –  1/30 sec – ISO 100

A child’s winter

Do you remember when winter was a wonderland?  Somewhere back in the dark recesses of my adult mind, I remember wishing for snow.  Back before the days of battling crazy driving conditions and having to scrape windows.  Before winter weather was a curse that just made you cold and tired.  There was a time when we longed to bundle up and run around outside until our cheeks were rosy and we could barely feel our fingers.

Watching kids on the skating rink at Avalon brought back some of those memories.  Hope we can all keep the child-like spirit of this season alive!

Avalon
2200 Avalon Boulevard
Alpharetta, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
300mm @ f/6.3 –  1/200sec – ISO 400