Unmarked

Each time there is a major exhibit at Atlanta Botanical Garden, it seems that they acquire a permanent installation to remind people of what had been there before.  One of the biggest pieces from Chihuly in the Garden (2016) – the yellow-orange neon column called “Saffron Tower” is still in place.  It stands at the end of a beautiful reflecting pool which is planted with an array of flowers.  Most of these are prominently marked but for some reason, I couldn’t find a tag for this one.

The beautiful pink flowers were not very tall but they were just reaching out for the sun and I loved the way the light was rimming the buds hanging beneath the open blossom.

If anyone know what the name of this one is, I would love to know.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
300mm @ f/9 – 1/25 sec – ISO 200

Oooh, Sparkly!

Every trip to Gibbs Gardens proves to me that I am no horticulturist.  I can identify some plants by sight and there are markers on others to tell me what they are but there are many others that I just don’t know.  In this case, the plant in the background is Lamb’s Ear and they were sparkling with rain/dew drops giving me a great contrast to the little yellow flowers above them.  The cool texture on the flower’s leaves and the water drops on its petals make that interesting as well.

I’m not sure if I actually captured all of the layers of light, pattern and color that there was in the natural scene but I thought this was pretty cool.

Gibbs Gardens
Ballground, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
300mm @ f/18 – 1/60 sec – ISO 100

The art of Nature

There is no end to the amazing beauty of nature.  Looking at landscapes or flowers or animals is a constant source of fascination for me.  It is incredible to think that all of this surrounds us every day and yet, we mostly ignore it.  Sometimes, you just have to stop and enjoy the simple joy that is available in appreciating how glorious our world is!

Photography is my excuse to pay more attention and find things that are beautiful and/or interesting to the eye.  I find that the more I try to do this, the easier it is to spot the things that make a good image.  It doesn’t mean that there is no work involved.  I still need to seek these things out.  I must go out earlier or later than I usually would, visit places I’ve never been or just take a closer look at what’s right in front of me.  This takes patience and practice but the rewards are great.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
270mm @ f/9 – 1/60 sec – ISO 100

Camouflage

Nature has many forms of beauty and amazing patterns in so many different places.  This butterfly was a challenge for me to capture for a couple of reasons.  One of them was that its pale-green color was very close to the surrounding foliage.  It also didn’t move very much but tended to stay on a single leaf with wings folded so, it looked like a leaf rather than a butterfly.

I know this is all part of nature’s design to help these little creatures avoid being scooped up as food for other animals.  In a lot of ways, it also adds to the fun of nature photography by requiring me to hunt for a good opportunity and be patient.  I have to admit that patience is not my favorite thing.  I would much rather have what I want, RIGHT NOW!  But, there is only one thing that increases patience and that is PRACTICE.  Of course, if you don’t have much patience, that can be very frustrating.

Ah well, I guess if I had everything immediately and didn’t have to work for it, I wouldn’t appreciate it much.  When you think about it, taking time to slow down and appreciate the little things is what is really good about life.  So, I guess I will need to keep practicing…

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
135mm @ f/11 – 1/80 sec – ISO 100

Pink Dragonfly

I think this is a Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea) but I’m not sure about that.  Anybody out there an expert on dragonfly identification?

I was told by Mike Moats that the best time for Dragonfly images is early on a cold morning.  He said those conditions cause the insects to be very slow-moving which allows you to get in close and not spook them off.  It seems that hot and humid may not be too bad a combination either.

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While we were at Harris Neck NWR in Townsend, Georgia, the butterflies and dragonflies flitted about the rim of Woody Pond but when they landed, they stayed in place for quite a while.  This pink specimen was sitting at the end of a reed and didn’t seem to be bothered at all by my photography.  It probably helped that I was using my long lens and was not all that close but he didn’t move at all, even when the wind occaisionally picked up.

Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly
(Orthemis ferruginea)

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/125 sec – ISO 320

Eastern tiger swallowtail

On our trip to Harris Neck, I got a couple of bonuses when looking for bird images.  One was the presence of some cool insect life around Woody Pond where the bird rookery was.  Another, was to discover that my Tamron 150-600 works equally well for relatively close shots as it does for distance.

There were some neat butterflies and dragonflies at the pond’s edge enjoying the wildflowers and sunshine.  I certainly couldn’t blame them since this was a beautiful morning to be out enjoying nature and all it has to offer.

I guess I have to go back to work now but, I can always dream of the next opportunity to see beauty like this and capture more images to share.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/200 sec – ISO 320

Rose of Sharon

I have some large bushes in my back yard that were in place when we first moved in.  These plants produce abundant beautiful flowers of three different kinds.  The blossom in my featured image is a double-bloom pink variety which looks somewhat like a carnation.  The other bushes have flowers that will look familiar to anyone who has been in tropical climates as being a Hibiscus relative.  One of these is a red (shown below) and the other, is white.

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The name Rose of Sharon is mentioned in the Bible but it is not a certainty that this plant is the same one.  This plant is not from the Middle East but is native to the Orient and is actually the national flower of Korea.

I’m not quite sure if it is a blessing or a curse that the bushes I have are self-propagating and volunteer plants sprout up around the parents almost every year.  I have been re-locating some of these to different spots with a variety of success.  They seem to prefer a good amount of sun which can be a challenge with a wooded lot like mine.  They don’t require much care at all and attract birds, bees and butterflies.  The only thing I need to do is occasionally trim them back because they grow to be quite tall if untended.  I look forward to these flowers each Summer and they are in bloom for most of the season.

Rose of Sharon “Blushing Bride”
(Hibiscus syriacus)
Roswell, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/14 – 1/60 sec – ISO 200