Garden Frame: Red Camellias

Description:  Red camellias blooming in mid-February

Background:  Before moving to Georgia, I cannot recall ever seeing camellias. I was invited to a party at a colleague’s house the first December after moving south from Washington, DC. Winters for me started in November and lasted until April and always brought grayness and ice. After going to Cancun one February, I returned home to Dulles airport in 20-degree weather only to find my car with two flat tires and with no gloves handy. Winter and I never had a cordial relationship.

But that first winter in Georgia brought a welcome and pleasant surprise. Stepping onto my colleague’s patio, a wall of flowers greeted me all along the backyard fence. By “wall,” I mean hundreds of pink and white blooms that cheered up the evening’s chilly temps. I stood there marveling at those flowers and immediately knew I could never live any further north again.

The camellias pictured here were shot on the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library grounds. I had never visited before, and I must say, I like the fact there are so many camellias. They must have an excellent groundskeeper because every shrub looked healthy and vibrant. And while the leaves of most trees were awaiting their moment to return, these camellias were lush and green.

Technical: Minolta Maxxum 600si, Maxxum 28-85mm 3.5-4.5, Fuji 100 CN (expired), early afternoon sun, and clear blue sky. (Developed with CineStill 2-Step Color Kit, Epson V600 scan)

Comments: I had never used the AF 28-85mm before this outing. I had heard good things about it, and generally, they have proven to be true. I had to lean through a few branches to get the shot, so the scene was shadier than the image conveys. The shade and the 100 ISO film required I use a larger aperture, so I could not shoot at f5.6, which is my usual aperture for flowers. In any case, those camellias were a welcome sight, bringing back pleasant memories of my first encounter.

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