Chihuly at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Chihuly at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

One of the works at Chihuly’s exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Pamela and I went with friends on Wednesday night to view the Chihuly exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It’s truly beautiful, especially near sunset and at dusk. The glasswork is amazing and when combined with the beauty of the garden, it really is worth the price of admission. Enjoy.


Polyphemus Surprising Acis and Galatea

Polyphemus Surprising Acis and Galatea

This beautiful fountain is located in Paris’ Jardin du Luxembourg

Paris truly is a photographer’s paradise. I could wander around in the city for days and never run out of subjects to photograph. So, with only two full days to visit, I had to choose my subjects judiciously. After doing a great deal of research and after choosing the major attractions I wanted to visit, I began to fill in our itinerary with “secondary” sites. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but there are prime locations in Paris (the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, etc.) and then there are dozens of other equally fascinating locations. Since we would be spending some time in the 6th arrondissement, the Jardin du Luxembourg seemed like a worthy destination.

It turned out to be a good choice. We visited on a beautiful Saturday morning when the locals were beginning to fill up the park. We saw a dance class in a weathered old gazebo, parents strolling with their children, a cadre of runners old and young getting in their runs, a college group running some sort of fun run holding all sorts of quirky items (wine bottles, baguettes, hula hoops, children’s blow-up toys, and many others), and the toy sailboats being set up in the pool in front of the Palais de Luxembourg. It was a wonderful glimpse into the lives of workaday Parisians enjoying a perfect spring Saturday morning.

I had a field day capturing as much of the atmosphere photographically as possible. In fact, I had wandered through most of the garden when I decided to explore the last remaining corner. That’s when I stumbled upon the Medici Fountain. It says something of Paris’ beauty that something as beautiful as this fountain simply doesn’t warrant a mention in most guidebooks!

I apologized to my traveling companions – including my long-suffering photography widow of a wife – as I set up my tripod in order to capture the scene in front of me. I wanted to capture the fountain and its reflection in the pond, but I also was intrigued by the fountain itself. I’ve included an image of each for you do decide which one you prefer. After twenty minutes or so of waiting for the wind to calm and tourists to pass by, these are the results. I can only hope you enjoy viewing these images a fraction as much as I enjoyed my time in the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg.

Polyphemus Surprising Acis and Galatea - detail

A closer view of Polyphemus Surprising Acis and Galatea in Paris’ Jardin du Luxembourg

The Red Bridge in Spring

The Red Bridge in Spring

Spring colors and the red bridge in Charleston’s Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Charleston in the spring is a beautiful place. There are many public locations that are free to visit and gorgeous to behold. There are also private homes and gardens that are open for tours that are also worth visiting. Many of those are located on Ashley River Road northwest of Charleston. They are all beautiful in their own way but my personal favorite is Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Although the house is not original, the gardens are laid out as they were originally designed. Located on the Ashley River, it’s not hard to imagine crops being harvested, boats sailing up and down the river, and the ladies and gentlemen of the area strolling the garden paths. Knowing that some of the trees were planted in pre-revolutionary times makes me pause and think about all that has happened on this land in the past 300 or more years.

The gardens are composed of multiple smaller sections that are tied together with a series of crushed gravel paths. One of my favorite sections is the Japanese garden. There are many bridges in the gardens, but only this one is painted a vibrant red. I spent thirty minutes or so composing scenes that include the red bridge. After reviewing them all, I think this is my favorite. This is the scene as viewed when first encountering the bridge coming from the entrance to the gardens. I love how the bridge leads my eye into the scene with azaleas in bloom, spanish moss dripping from the trees, and the whole scene reflected in the still pond water.

I’ve included another view from the other side of the bridge below. They’re both beautiful and make me long for the colors of spring that are now nearly a year away. Enjoy.

Azalea and Red Bridge

An azalea blooms alongside the red bridge in beautiful Magnolia Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina

Rhododendron and Weathered Fence

Rhododendron and Weathered Fence

It’s been too long since my last post. Life has been crazy and I have simply gotten behind. The good news is that there have been a couple of photo trips that have caused some of the interruption and I have some great new material I’ll be sharing over the next few months.

This image is from a trip I took this past summer to see the rhododendron bloom on Roan Mountain. I talked about it a bit in my last post even though that seems ages ago! This image was taken on the last day of spring/first day of summer. In Atlanta, the rhododendron had already bloomed, died off, and begun to leaf out for the bloom next spring. In fact, most of the wildflowers had already come and gone when I went up in the mountains to shoot. But at 6000 feet spring was just making its appearance. I suppose summer is very short up there and snow will start flying in October.

I love the texture of the fence post, the lichens growing on it, and the contrasting pink and green colors of the vegetation. Roan Mountain is incredibly beautiful at that time of year. Even though it’s a bit out of the way, you really should visit in mid-June to enjoy the bloom.

The Japanese Garden in Butchart Gardens

Japanese Garden

A footpath over water in the Japanese Garden section of Butchart Gardens

Perhaps my second favorite section of Butchart Gardens was the Japanese Garden. It was amazing to descend into an area of the gardens so completely different from everything else we had experienced. I’m still amazed at the variety of plants able to grow on Vancouver Island. In my previous way of thinking, it would simply be too cold that far north to support flora that I had associated with warmer climes. The Japanese garden was complete with all the artifacts that one would normally associate with a Japanese landscape. The architecture, sculpture, water features, and, of course, the plants themselves felt authentic.

This simple stone path set over a shallow pond just caught my eye. I love the curve of the path and the abundance of color in the surrounding landscape. Something about this image is soothing to me. It conveys a sense of Asian design that is totally consistent with a Japanese garden. I also love the following image. The graceful curve of the bridge is interesting enough, but the bright red color makes the image very appealing. Hopefully the images conjure up the same sensation viewing them as they did actually experiencing them. Enjoy.

Red Bridge in Butchart Gardens

A red bridge crosses a stream in the Japanese Garden section of Butchart Gardens

Butchart Garden Tulips

Bed of Tulips

A vibrant array of tulips in Butchart Gardens

While we were in British Columbia, tulips were at the peak of their bloom cycle. Everywhere we went there were tulips popping up. Butchart Gardens was no exception. I don’t know how many bulbs they have planted there, but there must be tens of thousands. That made for a world of possibilities for me because I love the color, shape, and texture of tulips.

I captured many more images, but these are some of my favorite ones featuring tulips. It makes me wish that spring was just around the corner! Enjoy.

Scenes from Butchart Gardens

Garden Reflection
An explosion of color is reflected in this pond found in Butchart Gardens

Although I preferred Vancouver to Victoria overall, there is still one very compelling reason to visit Victoria – at least for a photographer. That reason is Butchart Gardens. I had heard Butchart Gardens described for years so I was anxious to experience. However, I had no real idea of what to expect.

As we approached the gardens, it was apparent that a lot of people enjoy visiting there. The parking areas were vast and stretched for blocks away from the main parking area. Fortunately, we were visiting in the low season and were able to park very close to the entrance. Now, I say low season, but that is based on peak attendance not necessarily peak beauty of the gardens. I was skeptical that the gardens would be worth the price of admission in late April. If I were at home in Georgia, that would be the peak time for spring blooms. Since Vancouver is so far north, I didn’t see how there could be the breadth of flowers and shrubs in bloom that it would take to make the garden interesting. Boy, was I wrong.

Butchart Gardens was spectacularly beautiful. I really don’t have enough adjectives or superlatives to convey how beautiful each garden was. I can only hope that the images I captured do the scenes I captured some degree of justice. The only garden that wasn’t jaw-droppingly beautiful was the rose garden and that was simply because the roses were waiting for warmer weather. Of course, by then the tulips, azaleas, and other spring blooms would be long gone. My guess is that Butchart is beautiful in any season and always worth a visit.

Perhaps the most beautiful of the gardens is the Sunken Garden. Butchart Gardens was a quarry at one point and the owners decided to replace the ugly scar of mining with beautiful gardens. There is no doubt that they succeeded beyond their expectations. The Sunken Garden was the primary quarry area, but now is the showcase of the property. The steep-sided pit is totally replanted and is a riot of color. I found myself returning over and over to the overlooks in order to absorb as much of the scene as possible. Each of the images in this post were taken from a part of the Sunken Garden. I think the pond reflection is my favorite of the group because it shows a good sampling of the riot of color that was there.

Lone Tree on Lawn

This solitary cherry tree and the verdant lawn created a stark contrast for one another

The other element that created such an explosion of color was the vibrant green of the grass. I suppose the grass may stay that green given the amount of rain the region receives. In any case, the flowers were set against that vibrant green which made their colors even more rich and saturated.

If you ever are near Victoria, you should definitely visit Butchart Gardens. I know I will when I return. Enjoy.

Lawn and Garden

A cherry tree stands out against a green lawn and the flowers of Butchart Garden

My Annual Pilgrimage to the Atlanta Botanical Garden

As I’ve probably written before, one of my favorite places in Atlanta is the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It’s a wonderful set of gardens that rarely attracts the attention that it deserves. I’ve visited quite a few botanical gardens over the years and only a handful are at the level of Atlanta’s. Very few exceed it. Each year after the long winter, I get the itch to shoot color again. One of my first destinations is the Botanical Garden. The seasonal plantings and the orchid house guarantee a splash of color even as the native flora is awaiting spring. Although spring came early in Atlanta this year, I still made the pilgrimage to the Garden. I hope you enjoy the flowers as much as I did.

I’m posting many more photos than my normal one image per post today. Don’t think that I’m lazy. I just don’t have nine different stories for these images.

I know the common flowers. I’m just not certain of all of the other flowers that I encounter at the Garden. These first two are poppies, one in bloom and one waiting to bloom.

To be honest, I don’t know the name of this flower, but it certainly is beautiful.

Orchids I do know. The Fuqua Orchid house has an incredible collection of orchids native to many different parts of the world.

Another one that I don’t know the name of but I certainly admire its beauty.

This state of a little boy catching frogs has adorned the gardens for year. I love the look of sheer joy on his face and the thoughts evoked by living a simple country life.

I know roses as well. I especially love the peach shade of these delicate, perfectly formed flowers.

I believe this is a poppy as well. I love the delicate feel of the overlapping petals, the soft transition from rose-colored to white, and the intricate structure of the pistils and stamens.

Once again, I’m not sure of the flower name, but the large stands of them made for some interesting foreground in focus, background out of focus compositions.