Garden Frame: Evening Gardenia — Crème, Sans Brûlée

Description: Early season gardenia in soft late-afternoon light

Background: We have a large gardenia tree. It regularly grows to more than six feet in height. When it gets this tall, I chop away six to eight inches or so and hope I’ve done a good job with no damage. I tried letting it be for a few years, and it produced very few flowers. Every time I trim it, the following year, there are fewer flowers during the growing season. The year after that, there is usually an explosion of blossoms. This year is an explosion year. It is also the year that, while cooped up by the pandemic, I bought a Pentax 645 medium format camera and a 120mm f4 macro lens. About a week into the first round of blooms, I spotted this unspoiled gem, mostly in the shade, close to the bottom of the tree.

Technical: Pentax 645; SMC Pentax-A 120mm, f4 macro lens; Kodak Portra 400 (expired), developed with CineStill C41 kit, scanned Epson v600   

Comments: A little more than two years ago, I bought a Maxxum 7000i to get better pictures of the garden than I could with my iPhone.  This image, with its creamy texture and rich tones, is exactly what I had in mind.   I’m getting there…  

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