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.

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Photo Of The Day: Short Lived

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We had the hardest freeze of the season overnight. The temperature dropped from a a high in the 60’s yesterday afternoon to a pre-dawn low this morning of 24 doing in early Spring Azalea Blooms like this “Pride of Mobile” flower.  I’m just glad I got a few shots of it before the frost mowed them all down.  Thanks for the look which is better if you click on the photograph.  Have a Great Evening and a Great Weekend.

Paying Respects

The last of the Azaleas,  a very large Pride of Mobile variety, has finally given up its blooms, much to the dismay of the Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies.  I saw a small squad of them fluttering around the dropped blooms seemingly frustrated at their earlier than normal departure.   Perhaps they were paying last respects.   Needless to say, Spring came very early this year.  We had Azaleas in full bloom in the middle of March.   Not to worry though, the butterflies  have since discovered the bright red and orange Lantana which will bloom into the fall here.  Somehow though, I think they, like me, are eagerly awaiting the Sunflowers.  Several acres have been planted.  We’re hoping they will also bloom ahead of their usual schedule allowing us to make a second planting before September.

Black and White Photography with Digital Cameras.

Most digital cameras allow the user to take shots in monochrome which is to say, black and white.  And of course just about every piece of processing software on the market lets one convert color shots to black and white.  There is one school of thought that says that makes for an impressive black and white image.  I just finished shooting a roll of Kodak Tri-X film this past week (Yes they still make it and its readily available)   and I have to say, no matter how accomplished one is in processing images on a computer, there is no way anyone will ever reproduce digitally the tonality and contrast one can get from top  quality pan film like Tri-X.  If you’re really into black and white images,  pick up a  used film slr, they’re dirt cheap these days, and shoot a roll of Tri-X 400.  I think you will agree and you might have a whale of a time doing it.   See you next time.

Pride Of Mobile

A Late Season Bloomer, The Pride of Mobile Azaleas here are also the oldest Azaleas on the Farm.   They were originally planted more than 60 years ago and are still probably the most widely planted Azaleas in the Southern United States.  Watermelon Red with three inch flowers and dark green foliage, they grow pretty much upright and reach heights of 8 to 10 feet with a spread of up 15 feet. The color is my absolutely favorite and I’m sure I photograph them more than anything else grown here with the possible exception of Sunflowers.

Nikon D7000, Nikon 18-200mm lens at 170mm, f/25, 1/25th second, Spot Metering, Manual Program, RAW Image converted to JPEG in Elements 10.

See you next time on most of this same site.