Magnolia fuzz

The magnolia, a common sight throught the southern United States, is one of the most wonderfully strange trees that I know of.  Originating at around 95 million years ago, the plant is a true survivor.  The immense, fragrant, white flowers attract pollinating insects to keep them reproducing.  I can attest to how quickly they spread and grow by how they sprout up in my yard all the time!

This is a close-up of one of the “fruits” or seed-pods that I most often see as the spent, brown husks that fall to the ground.  You can see in this macro view, that they start off looking like a peach.  There is fuzz on the outside covering and it is colored in reds and yellows.  I assume this is again, a strategy to attract birds and insects to come get the seeds and spread these around.  Obviously, from the age of this line of plants, they have been very successful in this strategy for continuation of the species.  For this, I am glad!

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 – 1/3 sec – ISO 200

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Waves of green

The Orchid Center at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is full of gorgeous orchids but, there are other plants in there that are equally interesting.  This is one that made me think of Mike Moats and his instructions on finding good patterns for macro subjects.  These leaves were so full of color and texture and there was a coating of water drops that made them glisten in the light.  Can’t get too much better than this!

I love how nature is so full of things that just make you say WOW when you look at them.  From the smallest thing to the most immense vista, nature never fails to make me full of awe and wonder.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
78mm @ f/16 – 1/30 sec – ISO 400

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

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

Luck or skill?

Skill is essential, preparation is required but luck, well maybe luck is even better.

On our visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden we stopped by the Orchid Center which is one of my favorite spots here.  The front of the building was rather blocked up as they were preparing for a concert in the gardens and that is where the stage is set up.  In spite of all that, I walked around in front of the stage to see what was going on in the water lily pond that is always a great sight.

I got some great water lily shots but when we were about to leave, I spotted something that stopped me in my tracks.  The image above is a reflection of aquatic plant leaves partially submerged in the pond.  The texture and colors of these leaves were just spectacular and the mirror image made it irresistible.

If I had stuck with my original focus and only saw the lilies it would have been worth the stop but this was the icing on the cake!  I love it when a scene just jumps out at you when you weren’t even expecting it.  I will take the lucky accident whenever I can get it.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
240mm @ f/16 – 1/25 sec – ISO 200

Trumpet pitchers

On Monday, I posted a shot of a dragonfly on a pitcher plant.  This is a more complete view of the plant as it is quite interesting on its own.  The plant shown is a variety of Sarracenia – North American Pitcher Plants, also known as Trumpet Pitchers.  These plants are actually meat-eaters as the pitcher of the plant traps insects and digests them.

I had seen Old-world pitchers known as Nepenthes at the Atlanta Botanical Garden before.  The Trumpet Pitchers are different in that they grow straight up from the ground where the Nepenthes pitchers are on a stalk or vine.  I was also surprised to see the flowers on these plants since I had previously though that the pitcher was a flower.  The pitchers are actually specially formed leaves.  As you can see in this shot, there are yellow flower on stalks present on the subject plant.

Nature is amazing!

State Botanical Garden of Georgia
2450 S Milledge Avenue
Athens, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
150mm @ f/11 – 1/100 sec – ISO 200

Trying to open the pitcher?

In front of the Visitor’s Center at the State Botanical Garden is a water garden full of lilies and pitcher plants.  On a hot July day, the water and plants attract quite a few dragonflies that are not all that concerned with people passing by.  This particular one had laid claim to a bright red pitcher plant and stayed there for quite a while so I could get his portrait.

I had put my long lens on the camera with hopes of seeing hummingbirds but it turns out that this is a pretty good tool for close-up shots as well.  The only problem was that I kept getting closer than the minimum focus distance and had to back up a number of times.

I thought this came out really well since I was hand-holding the big lens and got some fantastic sharpness on the little details like the hairs on the dragonfly’s legs.  I kind of wish I had set my aperture a bit smaller to get the whole of the wing-span in focus but I wanted to blur out the background for a smooth look.  The green background was provided by a lily pad in the pond behind the pitcher plant.

State Botanical Garden of Georgia
2450 S Milledge Avenue
Athens, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/6.3 – 1/640 sec – ISO 400