Summer’s Autumn: The Changing Color of Hydrangeas

With July, we enter what I’ve always called the second phase of Summer; the start of the high heat in North Carolina.  Nowhere is that more evident that in the Hydrangea beds.  The vivid initial blooms came in late May and early June.  I should point out here that in Eastern North Carolina, Summer really begins in early May. It’s when the warmer temperatures set in and the blooms emerge in their deepest hues.

With the coming of July, the blooms begin their color change, going from deep blue in this case to lighter blue.

As July ripens, the blooms slowly turn to a pale blue and light yellow, then slowly begin to dry out.

For cut flower purposes, hydrangea blooms are harvested here during each phase. Many are selected for drying.

It’s the PH of the soil that determines Hydrangea color.  Blue requires an acidic soil of 5.5. or lowers.  Pink demands neutral to alkaline soil or a PH of 5.5 to 6.5.  For Purple blooms, plant in a mix of acidic and alkaline soil of 5.5 and 6.5.  If you want more control over the color, plant them in containers.

As for shooting them, I usually use a 60 mm Micro lens.  Micro is Nikon speak for Macro.  I prefer to shoot in the shade and I seldom use a polarizer because in the shade, glare is seldom a problem.  And use a tripod.  It’s my experience that floral shots like these seldom score well in the social media whirl of likes and loves and such but the are fun to shoot and who knows, you might even sell one or two.  Thanks for the look and the read and have a good week.  See you next time.


Photo Of The Day: Last Bastion of Color

Schizophrenic trees.  Posted to flickr November 18, 2014.

When I was taking photography 101 at American University in Washington, DC a bazillion years ago,  the instructor who was a shooter for the Washington Post and Newsweek Magazine told us to always remember to look up and turn around.  Sometimes the shot is right there waiting for you! That’s particularly true this time of the year when the Autumn colors are slowly beginning their transition to shades of gray as winter approaches.  These are maples on the farm in all their late fall glory thanks to the setting sun. A simple little shot.  And all it required was to look up.

Thanks for the look and have a great week.

Nikon D800E Camera. 24-120mm f/4 lens set at 24mm.

Photo Of The Day: Spring Salsa

FAA Hard as it is to tear myself away from the Sunday New York Times, my easy chair and a cup of Chock Full Of Nuts Coffee,   I was determined to keep to my self imposed vow to stick to my blog schedule,  so here you go.     I shot this just the other day in some Oscar  winning light that had penetrated just about every nook and cranny of the camellia beds here on the farm.  The blooms, and there are hundreds, had the look of a sizzling cauldron of color.  Lord have mercy it was Kodachome reincarnated;  pushing all of  my painter wanna-be buttons.  Put on your shades  and click on the photograph to get the “Full Monty”!

I shot this with a Nikon D7100 and the workhorse 18-200mm DX lens.  Have a great Sunday evening and thanks for the look.

Dawn Theatrics

Dawn Theatrics

One of the more spectacular light shows at dawn this winter.   Shot in Twilight Field here on the farm in late January.   I framed this as just a simple sky shot with the silhouette of the tree line rather than including the field itself which is barren this time of year.  No filters on this one by the way.  Click on the Photograph for the large view.  Nikon D600 with a 24mm lens.  Thanks for the look and have a great evening.

Natural Abstraction

Ground fog combined with the warm morning light just after dawn gives the orange leaves on this Japanese Maple a degree of natural abstraction, ie.. a  painterly effect.   This image is pretty much straight out the camera: Nikon D600 with an 85mm lens.  Thanks for the look and have a great evening.

The Long Way Home

There must be some kind of law of anticipation or expectations at work with me when I venture out into the field each morning with the camera.  Some variation of Murphy’s Law perhaps.   I say this because those days when  I look forward to a spectacular light show in the dawn sky seldom if ever pan out to be as grand as I had anticipated. Sometimes, but not often.   Conversely, those mornings which have a distinct blah look to them at first glance  almost always wind up being memorable.  Why is that?  Whatever, this was one of those blah mornings.  I figured I would take my D700 ..and make a detour to the field on my way to get the morning paper… know, just in case.  Good thing.   As  I  crossed the causeway over dry creek and made the slow right turn on the path which leads to the fields,  I saw the ground fog forming and I had an inkling nature was preparing a vivid scene.   The dense maples which line one side of the path were filled with retina frying color.  I knew when the sun came up, illuminated the ground fog and the vivid color in the trees,   all I had to do was find some kind of composition and I would have a decent shot.  The image above was my first take.   It’s such a simple little composition but the golden brown  of the soybeans in the field,  the various green shades of the grass on the path and of course the brilliant foliage of the Maples all came together.    As I walked home quite pleased with my little outing,  it occurred to me that if all our notions and expectations panned out exactly as we thought,  life wouldn’t be much of an adventure.   There is one rule or law that always applies though.  Don’t leave the camera behind.  You never know what you’ll find on the long way home.  Have a great evening and thanks for the visit.

Autumn Excursion

I don’t know of many things more spectacular than a Japanese Maple in November.  This one is right at the entrance to my driveway and each time I leave or come home, I have to stop for a bit and soak up the color.   It really is like a B12 shot to the optic nerve.  This view captures the sunlight back lighting the orange/red leaves.   Nikon D7k with a 200mm lens.  Thanks for the visit and have a great evening.