Camellia Curtain Call

Moderating temperatures have brought cheers from the forest of ancient camellias here.   They’ve all put on their best faces for an encore.

These were all taken in late afternoon light filtered by the tall Loblolly Pines and Dogwoods that share the space. The first two shots were taken with a Nikon D700 with a 60mm micro lens, , the third with a Sony a6000 using a Zeiss 16-70mm lens and the fourth with the same Nikon D700 rig. I always use the lowest ISo setting I can possibly get away with, f/8 or f/11 if possible and a tripod.

2018 marked my 50th year in photography and I have learned several things I will share with you.  Cameras come and go, good glass endures. There is no substitute for being there.  Buy a good tripod and use it. Find the sweet spot in your lens. Your best photograph is the next one. and be careful out there.   Have a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.  See you next year!

Camellia Japonica

A sure sign of winter, the Camellia Japonicas pick up where their first cousins, the Sasanquas, leave off in the late fall.  a more structured and symmetrical flower, the Japonicas also bloom longer; from December right on up through mid to late March.  I have no idea how many varieties there are.  Probably hundreds.  We have seven here on the farm.  Four are blooming now. The others will make their debut later in the winter.  Aside from the changing sky, they are pretty much the only color in the landscape in the winter months; so they are pretty much a magnet for a camera.

The photograph just above was taken with a Sony a6000 using a Zeiss/Sony 16-70mm f/4 lens. The others were taken with a Nikon D700 using a Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 lens. Note: The Sony camera is a small sensor camera.  The D700, of course, is full frame.  All were shot at 160 ISO, f/11, matrix metering with white balance set to cloudy.

My thanks to those of you who take a gander at this site every so often.  I appreciate your looks.  I wish you all a Joyous Holiday Season.  Blessings in the coming year.  See you in 2019!


The Sasanqua’s return

I suppose they just knew to wait until Hurricane Florence did its worst before deciding to come on stage.  Sasanquas are delicate blooms and it doesn’t take much wind at all to tear them off the bush. .

.  Sasanquas are in the same family as Camellias but are not as tightly constructed as their cousins.  Each bloom is just a little different and for my money, they catch the light better.

I shot these with my usual setup for flower photography: a Nikon D700 camera and a 6omm Nikon Micro lens.  “Micro” is Nikon speak for Macro.  The D700 is a 12 mp camera but it more than holds its own in flower photography.  My view is that those 12mp spread across the full frame catches the light better.

Sasanquas don’t bloom long only into mid-October.  Camellias have a much longer stay, first blooming in mid to late November and continuing right on up to March.  After the devastation of Florence, the Sasanquas were a welcome sign that life does indeed go on.  Thanks for the visit and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

The P.G’s Return

A large, showy shrub, the PG Hydrangea was sent to the USA from Japan in 1961.   They thrive in Eastern North Carolina from mid summer through early fall, seemingly immune to the severe weather conditions that usually accompany summers here.  When it comes to hydrangeas, PG’s are the strongest of all.  The huge flower clusters open as pure white blooms from 18 inches long and nearly a foot wide.

The show continues throughout the summer.  In late summer, the cones turn a pretty pink and when Autumn arrives, the blooms morph into a beautiful shade of rust with gray-green leaves.  Easy to grow, PG’s like moist, rich, well drained soil and grow to an average height of six to eight feet. They prefer full sun to partial shade.  Great fun to photograph, they are one of the few blooms that last throughout the summer.  Thanks for the visit and have a great week ahead. See you next time.

Springtime Blues

The hydrangeas are staging their annual color show.  They run through their color parade quickly;  from a pale to brilliant yellow then to a soft blue ripening to a deep blue.

The color of hydrangeas is determined by the soil.  The more acidic the soil is, the more blue they will become.  This particular hydrangea bed lives under a tribe of tall Lob Lolly Pines which makes for acid soil.

I use spot metering for most of my flower shots, taking the light reading from the flower itself.  It puts the bloom in the spotlight darkening the background.

It takes several days, depending on the light, for the blooms to go all blue and another day or so to reach their prime color which is of couse Deep Blue.  Nikon D700 Camera with a 70-200mm f/4 lens set at 200mm. Thanks for the visit and have a good week ahead.  See you next time. .

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.