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Each spring, the air is filled with an intoxicating fragrance emanating from my Korean Spice Viburnum. With its unmistakable aroma, you cannot help but be drawn closer.

“Aurora” (Korean Spice Viburnum, Carlesi Compacta ‘Aurora’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/3.5, 1/160s, ISO 640

The individual flowers of the viburnum are tiny and for me, have always proved difficult to photograph. Since it’s only the buds that are pink, when they ‘pop’ all you can see from above are rounded clusters of white. But, by getting underneath, I was finally able to capture the whole story of these sweet little blossoms. Hooray! 🙂

Across the yard, putting on a show of its own, stands the giant pink powderpuff that is the ‘Cornell Pink’ Manchurian Azalea. Now, while its ‘pinkness’ is indeed impressive (as seen here), I found this time I was more captivated by the flowers’ graceful stamens as they reached out with inviting gestures to all the insects and bees swarming around.

“Come to Me” (Pink Manchurian Azalea, ‘Cornell Pink’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/3.5, 1/640s, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro “Expressive” Filter

So there they were, doing all the work but being overshadowed by the showiness of those fantastically colored petals. I thought by converting the image to black & white I was able to give the stamens some long overdue recognition. Don’t you agree? 🙂



  1. Flower photography still eludes me… I will content myself to sitting drooling over your pics instead.
    The Black and white one… I see a flower, I see a sea creature… both beautiful 🙂

    • Aw, thank you so very, very much, Kiwi! I am very critical of my photography these days, so much so that I agonize over whether or not to post the pics I take. Your comments are, therefore, just what I needed to hear today. Hugs. ♥

  2. B&W image is very nice. Maybe the bottom bckgrd could be darken a little more to provide some contrast. First image, not sure what happened in the upper right hand corner? Looks blown out?

    • Thanks, Rick. I appreciate your comments!

      On my calibrated monitor, the background in the B&W image is pretty dark and the image very contrast-y. Always difficult to know what others are seeing. The upper right corner of the first image isn’t blown out – it is an out of foucs flower closer to the lens. I did take other shots eliminating that but then I lost the nice brownish olive-y green coloration in the lower left corner. So, I left this as is and thought the two areas played off each other, giving the sense that you really are peering up underneath the shrub. If the cold rain this week hadn’t destroyed the blossoms I would have gone out and given it another go! Oh well! 🙂

  3. Tracy, that B&W is superb! Beautiful work. 🙂

  4. I love your treatment of these flowers – I have been trying to capture that elusively soft look in flower photography (and will be blogging about it this weekend) but I see you’ve mastered it! … I’d also like to mention that I’m proud to be an alum and employee of the institution for which the Cornell Pink was named. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Barbara! Look at you!! Smarty-pants Cornell girl, you. 😉

      My 105mm macro lens inherently yields a soft look which I pushed further with an aperture of F/3.5.

  5. Bee-utiful stuff! I like them both – my only question is what was the light like?? Shooting at 640 ISO? Overcast?

    • Thanks, Derrick! 🙂

      For the first shot, it was later in the afternoon on a mostly cloudy day and at that time of day this shrub ends up mostly in the shade of the house. There was just enough natural light to give the petals a little glow from behind. I used Spot metering to give some brightness to the shot.

      By the time I got to the second flower, the sun had popped out from behind the clouds and washed the whole shrub in bright, dramatic sunlight. I simply didn’t change the ISO (hence, the shutter speed of 1/640s!) 🙂

  6. Lovely little flowers! The black and white looks great but I like that white and pink mix in the first picture 🙂

  7. I think these are great! So soft and delicate, like I can feel the texture through my screen. I love photos like that! Great ones!

    • Aw, thank you, Cindy! Your comments make me smile – big! ! 😀

  8. You’ve introduced me to a new flower. I’ve never heard of these lovelies. Very pretty.

    • Well, look at that! Awesome! 🙂

      I don’t see too many virburnums around, in fact, I know of no others than the one in my backyard. Not sure why this extremely fragrant shrub is not used more often. I keep mine pruned in a ‘larger than life’ Bonzai form which adds interest even when it isn’t in blossom. Otherwise, it can simply look like a giant ball of green.

      Thanks, Karma! 🙂

  9. Agreed, M.P.! I LOVE the delicate, subtle color in your first shot, but I’m always a sucker for a nice B/W!

    • Why, thank YOU, Sig! So glad you agree! You are sweet to comment, as always! 🙂

  10. These are gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. 🙂

  11. Did you lay down on the ground to capture that first shot? My neighbors must think I’m so odd as I’m always on the ground with my camera. That black and white is stunning. So much more noticeable those stamens are.

    • Ha! Not quite, but close! The shrub is pretty large so I was able to squat down and shoot up at some higher blossoms on the outer edge.

      My neighbors have witnessed me in soooo many odd positions for shots that they think nothing of it! (But, I’m sure they shake their heads in disbelief at times!)

      Thank you, Becky! 🙂

  12. I don’t believe that I have ever seen a Korean Spice Veburnum

  13. Thank you for giving the maleness its do. 🙂

  14. beautiful shots!

  15. Love the Korean spice viburnum image – lovely soft pastels (and nothing in the least blown out). The B&W azalea looks nicely contrasty in a familiar B&W image style – I don’t think it needs darker blacks.

  16. This Viburnum I did not know… I have to find one around here!
    Great photos – and yes, the second of the Azalea works super in b&w 🙂

    • The scent is amazing, Truels! But, these would be difficult to find when not in bloom since they appear like any other deciduous shrub. Good luck on your search!

      Thank you, Truels! You are so very kind! 🙂

  17. I have a similar “scents” of appreciation for my Daphne that sits just outside our garage. Every morning when I open the door the garage sucks in the wonderful perfume and it is beyond exhilarating. Similarly I have yet to come away with a shot I like so I very much admire your viburnum image. Really well thought out and executed, Tracy.

    I think there is ample contrast in the azalea image too.

    • Thanks so much, Steve! 🙂

      My mom raves about her Daphne…such a beautiful shrub, too. Isn’t it nice to look forward to the spring scents? Makes us feel so alive after winter! 🙂

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