Love in bloom: Lens-Artists Challenge #189 Odds and Ends

Don’t get upset with me. It’s not what you think. I’m all for Tina’s interesting challenge this week called “Odds and Ends.” It’s just that I’ve been totally self-absorbed in something else — something I’ve written about before. Something that makes me grab my camera and head outside my back door several times during several days EVERY spring: the much-anticipated spring blooms on our White Star White Magnolia tree.

Fuzzy stem, delicate blossoms: white star white magnolia

Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.

Ellis Peters

Say what you wish, but I’m totally into this tree. First, because I love all stages of the tender, short-lived delicate blossoms. But second, because I get to practice photography.

First light on White Star White Magnolia

I’m not much of a technical photographer. I just love snapping pictures. But this year, I’ve tried to use Manual settings only, adjusting the light and focus to yield better photos.

Looking skyward: white star white magnolia

Beginning with the little buds, I focused sometimes on the fuzzy gray calyx.

Early stages: white star white magnolia

And sometimes it was the blush at the stem end of each petal.

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

But sometimes on the second or third day of visiting these blossoms, I’m able to stand on tip-toe and look directly into their open “faces.” I’m not sure if this is odds or ends, but it’s a treat to see the various poses. Some flowers look upward, some sideways.

In a way, I feel I’m intruding on their privacy by getting into their faces! (Now that’s odd, for sure.)

Full on: white star white magnolia

Sometimes, I don’t just look for the positions of these flowers. I also look for variations in light. If I face my screened porch, the dark background contrasts with the creamy petals

Heads up: white star white magnolia

Sometimes, blue sky forms the backdrop that enhances the simplicity of the blooms.

Barely open: white star white magnolia

In many ways, there aren’t any “bad” pictures of these lovely gifts from Mother Nature.

Light and shadows: white star white magnolia

Even in inclement weather, a light spring rain adds another dimension.

Blossoms fold over on themselves for protection, providing another layer of secrecy from nosy photographers like me.

A flower blossoms for its own joy.

Oscar Wilde

So, let me know how you like these odds and ends, and then forgive me for stretching the topic. After all, if you ask my husband what I’ve been doing for the past few days, he’d tell you that I’ve been pretty useless. I just reply that I’m doing important work: taking photos of our White Star White Magnolia!

Afraid to face the light: white star white magnolia

Want to see how others have interpreted this week’s challenge of Odds and Ends? Head to Tina’s post for her wonderfully eclectic photos and entries by many others.

And then, move in closer to view the flowers you love. The reward will be worth it.

Travel in your garden sometime,

Rusha and Bert

37 thoughts on “Love in bloom: Lens-Artists Challenge #189 Odds and Ends

  1. I. J. Khanewala

    I don’t think they are simple flowers at all, and your lovely photos are proof enough of that. I like the way the framing of the flower against the sky reveals the pink in the petals

  2. Pat

    I love your photographs, and totally forgive you for being a bit of a renegade with the “assignment.” I have to confess I never quite follow the rules. And I know the fun of taking time every so often to practice technical skills because I worry that I can’t be a “photographer” without know how to change/use different setting. Now I need to get onto my post that doesn’t quite follow the rules of this challenge. LOL

  3. Amy

    Ahh… White Magnolia! They are so beautifully captured, Rusha. Yes. a light spring rain adds another dimension, love it.
    I appreciate how you took these photos from different angles. The details are special.

  4. WanderingCanadians

    These are such lovely pictures that showcase the journey of a magnolia bud transforming into a blossom. We still have a bit of snow here in Ontario, but there are signs of spring in the air.

  5. Leya

    So beautiful, Rusha! You have captured all stages delicately. I have this tree too in my garden, but unfortunately it seldom manages to keep its blooms for more than two days. I loved seeing yours – and long for mine to come. How great you could enjoy it for so many days – here the temperature goes down too low at nightfall, and the flowers go black. but that’s the way with all beauty – short lived.

  6. Toonsarah

    I love these, so very beautiful! You’ve done a fantastic job of capturing their delicate beauty. I especially like the shots with raindrops and those with the darker background. And good for you trying to get to grips with the manual settings! I do so occasionally but mostly I’m a bit too lazy or too impatient 🙄

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I’m struggling with learning how to use Manual setting. But it does help with lighting and focus. I’m now finding I can’t hold the camera as still as I used to. May have to get a tripod!!!

  7. dawnkinster

    Simply beautiful! You must be in a warmer place than us, as we still have snow. I remember when I graduated my masters program in 2008, walking out of my last exam I wandered the campus, sort of as a goodbye, and there were magnolias similar to this in bloom. So whenever I see these blossoms I always think of the relief I felt walking in the warm spring air that afternoon. Thanks for the good memory.

  8. Nancy Stanley

    Your photographs are beautiful! I have a Star Magnolia in my view also and it is putting on a show! Plus a heavenly scent. . .🤍

  9. Tina Schell

    These are lovely Rusha – I especially liked the wet blossoms. I feel the same way about our magnolia blossoms here in SC – so ephemeral and so beautiful no matter their phase. Even when they brown and fall to the ground they’re beautiful. As for meeting the theme, that’s the beauty of odds and ends – ANYTHING works 😊. Thanks for joining us.

  10. Kaylene Yee

    Beautiful pictures! Yes, we all need to “ travel in our/a garden!!” And appreciate to wonders of nature, especially in blooming flowers! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Alison

    Excellent photos, you’ve captured every aspect
    I’m not sure I have the patience for manual settings! I do play around editing though

  12. Bridgette

    These are stunning. I really like the textures you’ve captured and the different lighting. I’ve not been brave enough to experiment with manual settings, but you make me want to learn faster! These are all so inspiring.

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