Flame Azalea | Rhododendron calendulaceum | acid soil loving shrub of the southern Appalachians
I had what I would call a successful day in “the field” with the camera the other day–a wonderful couple of hours devoted to stopping whenever, where ever and for how ever long I wanted along the Blue Ridge Parkway to photograph whatever struck my fancy.
My chief objective was to bring back some Flame Azalea pix, but they aren’t the easiest flowers in the world to photograph, as I could have better explained to my friend Dennis, on whose porch my parkway excursion for the morning ended.
“What difference does it make if the wind is blowing?” he wanted to know.
While there are several issues photographically, I suppose the greatest challenge with this particular flowering shrub is the depth of an individual flower, what with the three inch exserted stamens; and the globular, one in every direction way the flowers are arranged in the flower cluster, adding the challenge of additional depth–up to maybe six inches across.
Another complicating factor is that it is often difficult to find a cluster or group of clusters in good light, not bobbing in the wind, where ALL the flowers are in bud or flower, without a few brown and droopy spent flowers spoiling the prime-of-life composition.
Set this whole mess of orange or yellow waving along all axes in a 10 mph wind, and it makes for no small task on a cloudy day to get an image in focus without cranking the ISO up into the grainy range (>400 max).
So, here’s one of just a couple (true color, actually DEsaturated a bit) with the 18-80 Nikkor and D200. The 18-200 mm lens won’t be back from Nikon for at least another week. (Man, I sure am glad somebody talked me into keeping the backup lens!)
Aren’t we blessed in these gentle mountains to have Flame Azalea as a common roadside shrub?
There is another fact about this plant I hope to tell, but that will require yet another arduous morning out on the Parkway with my camera. Well, darn. Somebody’s gotta do it!