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Old Jun 10, 2011, 8:57 PM   #1
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Default Holston Mt is blooming

Took a little hike up Holston Mt and a bit off-trail to check on a population of rare orchids. It was a fine sunny day, great for views but not so great for flower photos.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 8:59 PM   #2
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Our trail followed the crest of the mountain, right on the Sullivan County/Carter County line, through dappled woods and fascinating geology.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 9:01 PM   #3
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We were pleased to find that the Flame Azaleas were at peak bloom. We saw mostly the orange variety, with a few of the yellower blooms as well.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 9:04 PM   #4
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The spine of Holston Mt is also a perfect habitat for small flowered Skullcap, and we found them in abundance! (the name "skullcap" comes from the rounded top of each flower - someone thought they resembled the top of a skull...)
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 9:07 PM   #5
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We left the trail after several miles of ridge-running, and followed a small stream down to the orchid habitat. On the way, we noticed that Wild False Hellebore was in bloom. It's pollinated by flies!
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 9:10 PM   #6
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The orchids (Large Flowered Purple Fringed Orchids) were just beginning to bloom, and the population has increased since we found them last year. This is good news for the health of the plants, and the health of this wilderness area!
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 9:13 PM   #7
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Hike back down was mostly uneventful - except for one of the dogs tangling with a black bear! (both dog and bear are fine now.)

Got home before the storms moved in, and enjoyed a fine rainbow at day's end!

Hope you enjoyed the quick floral survey, and will share your comments, critique & suggestions!

(ps - do you prefer the hdr or non-hdr version of the rainbow?)
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Old Jun 12, 2011, 5:10 PM   #8
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Beautiful! All of them.
I think I like the HDR best, except maybe tone it down just a tad in the foreground.
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Old Jun 16, 2011, 8:57 PM   #9
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GW - So glad you enjoyed these. Thanks for the feedback on the rainbow - will try again soon!
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Old Jun 16, 2011, 9:55 PM   #10
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While I like the HDR version better, there's halos in the sky (a pet peeve of mine). The rainbow itself and the sky aren't radically different between the two versions, I think I'd be tempted to take the sky and rainbow (or at least the part of the sky from the trees to the rainbow) from the non-HDR version and put it on the HDR version. The foreground isn't that jarring to me, so I'm not sure I'd bother toning it down and if I did, it wouldn't be very much.

P.S. Did you use a grad filter or a polarizer for the first two? It looks like a polarizer to me, but I'm not quite sure. Love the orchid!
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