An Azalea Affair

It was a short season, the annual festival of azalea blooms that charm the south.  It was the schizophrenic weather that did them in, reducing the vibrant flowers to drooping puddles of faded color.  But not all met their demise..  It gave thought to the possibility that old doesn’t always equate to impending doom.  Maybe 60 year old azaleas are made of sterner stuff.  Witness these giant Formosa Azaleas that weathered three days of 20 degree nights.

As you may have gathered, I have changed my mind about ditching this blog. Sort of!  The fancy custom address is gone but I figured if 60 year old Azaleas can carry on, this 72 year old shooter can.  See you after the next frost, maybe before.   


Photo Of The Day: Pride of Mobile

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From Wilmington to Raleigh and beyond, Azaleas are at or near their prime across North Carolina right now.  Driving across the state, one gets the impression that every homestead has some sort of azalea blooming somewhere on their property.  Driving down east, I passed an old abandoned tenant house on its last legs and there in the front yard, pink azalea blooms were peeking through the weeds.

About the shot.  The azalea mavens tell me these scarlet red blooms are on an old variety called “Pride of Mobile” that dates from the late 60’s.  “It exudes southern charm”, they said and who am I to argue.  As I have said before, the main problem with this time of the year in North Carolina, aside from the seemingly constant rain, is the wind.  It never stops particularly here on the coast.  As soon as I arrived, I dialed in Shutter Priority on my trusty Nikon D7100.  Of course the camera is already obsolete – Nikon, as usual, is already  out with the D7200 which is a tad faster with a few other bells and whistles but with only just over 18 thousand snaps on the D7100’s  shutter which is rated at 150,000,  its hard to justify trading up.

As for the shot, I made four versions all with varying light. This one with soft, warm light, seemed to fit the azalea maven’s “Southern Charm” description.  Here are the particulars: 170 mm, shutter speed:1/250, enough to stall the wind, f/5.6 gave me the background blur I was looking for. ISO at 400,  Auto White Balance.  The 7100 excels at Auto White Balance I think.  Matrix metering. The camera rates at 24 mp so this shot yielded a nice large print for the azalea mavens who were very pleased.

The warmer weather has me juiced up for a day trip to the coast before the tourists clog up the beach road.  Either the Outer Banks or more likely, the Bogue Banks, Emerald Isle etc,  which is a bit closer.  I must have 10 thousand beach and coast shots but what can you do.  It’s an itch that has to be scratched. Watch this space!  Thanks for the look and have a great weekend.

Photo Of The Day: Spring Sparkle


Sunrise in a huge, bright red, formosa Azalea.  The days are tick tocking by very quickly and soon the Azaleas and the Dogwoods will be at their peak.  Thanks for the look and have a great evening.

Photo Of The Day: White Azaleas

275a.editedWhite azaleas are always a challenge for me.   The problem is getting the white balance right. I ttried all of the presets and none really measured up.  It was either too yellow or dingy or gray.   I decided to try getting a custom white balance right from the blooms.   I often resort to this when shooting indoors and not wanting to use a flash but this was a first outside.    I was so pleased I thought I would post it, sore neck not withstanding.  Thanks for the visit and have a great evening

Photo Of The Day: Japanese Maple



The Japanese Maple gets top billing but the star of this shot to me are the bright red,Formosa Azaleas which provide the brilliant background.  A simple matter of  opening up the lens to blur out the Azalea Flowers.  My late sister who painted for a living always called this “Camera Painting”.   Alas, its about the only kind of painting I can do.  Thanks for the look and have a great evening.

Photo Of The Day: Big Reds


I’ve spent much of the day shooting Azalea blooms.    The weather has been perfect.   Wonderful light, incredibly warm temperatures (80+  highs all week ),  and not a whiff of wind which is a very rare occurrence here.   These big Formosa Reds pushed all of my buttons.  Thanks for the look and have a great evening.

Photo Of The Day: Southern Belles

Southern BellesThe Azaleas started blooming here in mid March which is about the earliest anyone can remember.   They were quick victims of the almost weekly frosts but now that warmer weather has finally arrived, the blooms have resumed their parade of color.   These red flowers are on a very old formosa variety.

If you’re interested in photojournalism I call to your attention the work of Ron Haviv which is featured today in the New York Times Photography Blog “Lens”.   You’ll find it in the “Links”  listing on this page.  Scroll to “Photography In The Docket”.   Haviv’s very moving and disturbing shots of the Bosnian War of 1992 have been used as evidence in War Crimes Trials.  Unable to stop the “ethnic cleansing”  he used his camera to bring the slaughter of  innocents to worldwide attention.

Thanks for the visit and have a great evening.