Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pitchers, Flowers, and Topaz

We finally got to the Atlanta Botanical Garden yesterday.  We're well into spring here in Georgia, and we were already too late for the display of tulips.  But I've enjoyed tulips up north every year, so their charms are nothing new to me, and I can survive a year without experiencing them.

However, pitcher plants are something new to us.  They are bog plants, thriving in damp soil.  They are native to Georgia. And they are carnivorous. As far as I know, we don't have carnivorous plants growing outside in New Hampshire. I once had one in a pot, a fly catcher, but it didn't last a year in my house.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden has an entire area devoted to pitcher plants.  They die back in the fall, and the last time I saw them in their glory was late summer last year.  What I didn't see at that time was their flowers, which come up this time of year.

I had believed the pitchers were the flowers, and never gave any thought to the subject.  So when I saw the pitcher plants in bloom I was temporarily cast into confusion.  It looked like there was an entirely different plant flowering among the pitchers.  The crimson flowers, growing individually at the end of a long, tall stalk, were so different from the pitchers from which they arose.

Photographing these beauties was straightforward.   I opened the f/stop to 4.0 to control the depth of field, got in close, and composed.  The greater challenge was in post-capture processing.  The plants didn't stand out from the background as well as I wanted.  So I turned to Topaz Adjust for help, using a layer mask to block out the Topaz from the parts of the image where it wasn't needed.  I hope these images have adequately captured the exotic beauty of these specimens.

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