Return of the Sasanqua

They were early.  Again!  That’s been the case for the past two or three years.  Time was when we didn’t see them here until late October. Now they show up in late September.   Another indicator, perhaps,  that this part of the planet is  still warming.  They’re pretty ragged little blooms and their time is short.  An opening act for the Camellias that come on the scene in November,  or is that now late October?  I forget. It’s the Sasanqua that have my attention.  I see them as a sort of signpost that Autumn is around the corner.  And sure enough, after the first bloom premiered last week in 80 degree heat, our first real cold front moved through dropping the temperature into the 50’s overnight and daytime highs in the upper 60’s. And shooing Hurricane Maria off into the Atlantic.  So all hail the Sasanqua, opening act of Autumn.

I was AWOL last week.  Chest pains during the night. The wife packed me off to the ER.  EKG’s, X Rays, blood tests galore.  The diagnosis. No Heart Attack.  Arthritis!  in the rib cage at the breast bone.  Who knew one could have arthritis in the chest?   So a false alarm and I was shuttled back into the world of the well.  Thanks for the look.  See you next time.

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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.

 

Flags of Spring

Japanese Maple with bright red Formosa Azalea flowers in the background.  

                                                        Nikon D7100, Center Weight Metering, Shutter Priority, f5.6, 1/400, Auto

                                                         White Balance, ISO 400

Cherry Blossoms. 

Nikon D7100, Shutter Priority, Center Weight Metering, f/7.1, 1/640, Auto

White Balance, ISO 400

 

The wind off the ocean is pretty much constant here so most of my flower shots

are done in Shutter Priority.

Thanks for the visit. Blue skies and green lights in the week ahead.  See you

next time.

Dogwood Festival

The Dogwoods went into hibernation during the week and half freeze but blossomed with the return of warmer temperatures.  Within a week the flags of Spring were on full display.

 

 

These are wild dogwoods that have popped up on the farm over the years.  Attempts to transplant them to suit one’s own landscaping plan are iffy.  Wild things don’t like to be tamed.  And it seems the wild ones are less prone to the myriad of diseases that plague hybrids.  Wild or hybrid, they are very photogenic.

These were taken with a Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens on a Nikon D750 Camera.  Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.

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 Week: Up Close & Personal

A few splotches of color returned to the landscape this week. Not that we’ve been living in a totally drab world; the Sasanquas and Camellias have been showing their glory  since late October.  Now the Daffodils and Japanese Quince have joined the chorus.

The occasion prompted some lens changes.  The 60 mm and 105 mm macro lenses were clicked into place as I waded into the Daffodil patch and the huge, very prickly Japanese Quince.   It was a nice preview of what’s to come in a few months.  Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead. _dsc8649_dsc8592-1

Photo Of the Week: Summer Tag Team

Summer Tag Team  Posted to Flickr August 20, 2016

Two yellow flutterbys swoon over a Van Gogh Sunflower. These big, tall blooms virtually light up the vegetable garden here on the farm. These smaller butterflies have the late afternoon swoon shift; the Tiger Swallowtails and the Monarchs do their thing around 10 in the morning.  This was taken in late afternoon light when it is a degree or so cooler but even at sunset, it is blistering hot here.  Hottest August any of us can remember. The Sunflowers could care less.  Have a great week and thanks for the visit.