The Curious Garden

The current special exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is called The Curious Garden.  It is  a mix of plants and man-made objects intended to pique our curiosity and make us think about things in a different way.

The Curious Garden features 11 site-specific installations created to highlight the Garden’s plant collections and plant conservation work by prompting visitors to make discoveries, ask questions and engage in conversations. Bold, often unexpected, man-made and altered natural materials are employed to direct the eye to focus on the simple beauty of nature.

My image above is part of the installation inside the Orchid Center conservatory.  This display features multiple chandeliers and crystal beads with orchids and other plants entwined among the hanging lights.  It is a wonderful combination of shape, color and light.  We found ourselves walking in circles while looking up through the leaves, flowers and shiny sparkly glass.  Quite a sight to see!

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
38mm @ f/16 – 1/10 sec – ISO 400

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Jungle Orchid

There are so many beautiful orchids at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  This one caught my eye mainly because of the leaves.  The apricot-colored flower is magnificent but the patterns in the leaves just made me think of some deep-dark jungle.  Sometimes, the background is just as important as the subject.

In his Macro Bootcamp workshop, Mike Moats tells students that his most successful images come from a combination of a subject and a background that work well together.  I’m not sure if I lived up to his level on this one but I do believe that the combination of the two is more than either one by themselves.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
100mm @ f/11 – 1/16 sec – ISO 400

Hidden in Plain Sight

This spring, when the Roswell Azalea Festival came around, I was amazed to find that I had very few photographs of azaleas in my portfolio.  I mean, azaleas are everywhere around us.  How could I not have any pictures of them?  Well, maybe that’s the answer.  When things are always right in front of you, they tend to be taken for granted.  We miss out on the true beauty that surrounds us just because we’ve seen it before.

This time, I didn’t miss out!  It could be that when you are “tuned in” and paying attention, you see things that you commonly miss.  Since we had made a special trip to the botanical gardens, my eyes were open to the plants and flowers as we walked by.  Even in this place that is so packed with beautiful plants, you have to be observant or you miss out on the most special details.

This Native Azalea was blooming along one of the walkways.  I like the native varieties because of the neat shapes and the long stamen that shoot out of them like whiskers or eyelashes.  Now that I am paying attention, I expect I will see azaleas everywhere and will probably have too many to choose from next year.  That’s not such a bad problem!

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
86mm @ f/13 – 1/13 sec – ISO 200

Lilies on fire

I posted an image of aquatic plant leaves from the lily pond at the Atlanta Botanical Garden a few days ago so, I had to show at least one of the lilies.  It really is amazing to look at these big showy flowers with all the different hues of color.  The lily pad leaves are a world to themselves with the texture and beautiful green and tinges of red.  It is hard to spend too much time admiring these plants.  If the gardens were not packed with so many other amazing sights, I might stay at this spot for the whole day.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
86mm @ f/11 – 1/125 sec – ISO 200

A bundle of Sunshine

Some of the plants at the Atlanta Botanical Garden are exotic and rare and others are just beautiful to look at.  These glorious splashes of color are planted along the walkways in the Children’s Garden.  Not rare but definitely beautiful!

I love to examine things that are uncommonly beautiful when shown in extraordinary detail and with the right light.  Under these conditions, almost anything can be extremely beautiful.  It is fun to uncover that beauty and capture it to share with others.  That’s what I think photography is about.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
86mm @ f/11 – 1/125 sec – ISO 200

Tears of the Orchid

As I said yesterday, the Orchid Center at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places.  The shapes and colors on these flowers are totally amazing!  There were a number of this variety showing off their beautiful blooms and glistening with water drops that are frequently sprayed on the plants in this environment.

I am glad that there are experts who know how to care for these plants and put them on display for people like me who have no idea how to do this.  I can sure appreciate them though and do my best to capture the beauty and share it with others.  We each have some talents and I know mine isn’t gardening.  Hopefully, the photography will make up for that lack.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
86mm @ f/16 – 1/13 sec – ISO 400

Taking time to smell the flowers

OK, I have to give credit to my wife for the idea on this one.  While visiting the Atlanta Botanical Garden this weekend, we stopped at the Cascades Garden.  Behind the beautiful pond and cascading fountain is the 25-foot-tall topiary sculpture called “Earth Goddess“.  The sculpture is always a gorgeous sight but the pond is also surrounded by many blooming plants that are interesting.

Combine the two was the obvious conclusion to be had and so, I found a composition that made it look as though the garden goddess was leaning over to take in a bunch of flowers.  It took a bit of playing with the position and depth of field to get the flowers in sharp focus and to make the face look to be just behind them.

Since the whole purpose of the gardens here is to give people the chance to see and appreciate the beauty of nature in the amazing variety of plants that are on this earth, it seemed to me to be a very appropriate image.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
62mm @ f/9 – 1/160 sec – ISO 200