Monday, August 22, 2016

"Two Miracles"—the back story.

"Two Miracles"—the back story.
Judy Royal Glenn Photography

Before I blog about my photograph, I wanted to introduce a neat new camera that uses a 16 lens system to take a single photograph and the company that makes it. 

After launching a new compact cameraLight also launched the #VantagePoint project to share great photos and photographers' stories from around the world. Participants can post a picture from one of their favorite places and talk about the location and work that went into the shot. Click on the links to learn more about this neat camera technology and company.

Followers of my blog know my second home is the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, in Athens. They know I frequently write about the background story to the photograph, so naturally this is the perfect opportunity to write about my favorite photograph and place.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a magical place where flowers, plants, and wildlife are show cased on a 313-acre preserve owned by the University of Georgia. I am drawn there to photograph its beauty.

The ruby-throated hummingbird is my favorite subject to photograph. I researched and designed the Hummingbird Trail and lead trail walks for visitors to see where hummingbirds are feeding and perching throughout the garden.

While I have photographed thousands of ruby-throated hummingbirds over the last five years, none will ever top the photograph I titled “Two Miracles.” This photograph  of a ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on a Japanese iris represents two miracles.

The starting vision for the photograph began when Shelly, one of the curators, walked me to the iris garden to share with me a special story about a former worker. Jason worked at the garden, and his favorite flower was the beautiful Japanese iris. On September 18, 2012, Jason was killed in a tragic car accident.

Nearing the anniversary of his death, the Japanese flower was miraculously blooming. Out of thousands of plants, none bloomed except this one flower. The plant had been in the ground four or five years and never bloomed in September. 

This first miracle motivated me to set out several mornings to photograph the flower, but it had not opened.

On September 20, 2013, I arrived early hoping the flower was open. Peering into the iris garden, I noticed the beautiful flower had opened and was drenched with dew. With perfect morning light coming, I quickly set the self-timer on my camera to capture the photograph after a two second delay. I did not want my hands to shake the camera.

After taking a series of photographs this way, I paused to scroll through the images. What I saw immediately filled me with awe and made me cry. A hummingbird slipped in to feed on the flower. I never heard or saw the hummingbird! Truly the picture was two miracles. 

Before long, Shelly joined me in the iris garden. He too was amazed at the photograph. He told me the flower opened the day before. The flower opened one year and one day after Jason's death. 

If you would like to see other photographs documenting the story or to learn more details, you can click here. The image showing the flower before it bloomed can be seen here. Click here to see the images from September 2014 and 2015 documenting the Japanese iris did not bloom.

I did all the things possible to perfect my envisioned photograph. Time, patience, perseverance and God's help allowed me to capture my favorite photograph at my favorite place.

You can follow my photography on Instagram, FacebookPinterest, Google +Blogger, FlickrTwitter and videos on YouTube.

Thanks! ~ Judy

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