Archive for April 2010

Charleston Redux – Magnolia Plantation

April 3, 2010

The second day of our photo workshop in Charleston, our intrepid leaders took us to Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, providing access before the official opening time of 8 a.m. for the public. As landscape photographers know, being able to photograph around sunrise and sunset is crucial to capturing images in what is called the “sweet light.” Mid-day sunlight is harsh (as witnessed by my struggles with the pictures I took at Middleton Place).

We began by photographing an avenue of live oaks on a deserted road leading into the garden grounds. Azaleas provided splashes of color against the gray moss hanging off the gorgeous, huge oaks.

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, live oaks

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, live oaks

I have to confess that having spent almost my entire adult life (except for two years in college) in climates where azaleas are as common as dirt, I have come to take them for granted and dismiss them as uninteresting and overused in the landscape. Imagine my shock, then, to find myself really appreciating their beauty for the first time. We were catching them at their peak bloom, and the effect was stunning throughout the entire trip.

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, live oaks

In a hidden part of Magnolia Plantation Gardens, a rose-colored azalea stands out against a small outbuilding in the background.

Not all the beauty was in the azaleas, and I had more opportunities to photograph flowers using my usual approach,

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, Siberian iris

Blue Siberian irises

as well as a more impressionistic capture:

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, irises

A "swirl" of white Siberian irises, a la Tony Sweet.

(Which one gets your vote?)

I will close with two of my favorite photos from the day – one of yet another clutch of azaleas near a fence, and the other of a “catch” at the petting zoo on site.

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, live oaks

Red azaleas near a fence at Magnolia Plantation Gardens

Charleston, Magnolia Plantations & Garden, albino peacock

An albino peacock on display at the "petting zoo" enclosure.

Related posts:
Less Becomes More
Middleton Place & Cypress Swamp


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