Ivory/Dream [Nurture Photography]

Let me introduce you to the "Granddaddy Greybeard", also known as Fringetree or Chionanthus Virginicus.

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It's native to the South and Eastern Woodlands and is one of the showiest trees in bloom, right before the leaves come on (which happened to be about 5 days ago).

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In late Spring, the white blossoms have a puff like appearance and are so abundant that it's hard to see the branches. (It's truly a sight to behold and I'm sorry I didn't get it photographed during the "puff, pre-leaf" stage.) They later cascade downward like the white beard of an old man, which is how they came to be known as the Granddaddy Greybeard.

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But still a magical tree in the post peak time frame and I'm thrilled to have happened upon it by chance. The owners had a lovely garden and were delightful to visit with.

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The Grandaddy Greybeard is beautiful, hardy, fragrant and showy through the summer months. It's a shame it's such a rarity.
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I exercised my creative license and broke multiple photo rules for this shoot to achieve a more dreamlike effect. And although I know they will not appeal to everyone, I'm pleased with the way they turned out, especially with as little time as I had.

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We often find ourselves at the mercy of Mother Nature. (I'm sure many of you northern folks can relate with your recent snowfall.) My hope was to find some golden light like the Sunshine Post from our Spring Series last year. But we've had consecutive dark days here and time was a'ticking so I grabbed my camera and went in search of a dreamy subject. I happened on this charming tree and asked permission to photograph it. (I knew it was necessary after my last photo shoot on private property, so props to me.)

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It was a hazy, overcast day, so I purposely overexposed to create a brighter backdrop. I slowed the shutter, opened up the aperture as wide as it would go, increased my ISO and even tweaked my exposure compensation in camera. I also altered my white balance to be more cool (which goes against normal shady guidelines), I manually "unfocused" the tree shots and I used my Tamron 60mm Macro on several- handheld and in windy conditions (which in case you didn't know, is an enemy to the macro). I think it created a softer look and only added to the ethereal feel I was going for.

I took 150 shots and ended up with about 15 that I liked. I did minimal post editing. I started with a clean edit by brightening and bumping the contrast. You can read more about this in Rebecca's Tutorial. I finished my editing by adding a warming filter and light texture to a few.

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Sometimes rules must be broken in the name of individualism and artistic vision.

I hope you enjoy this gem of a tree as much as I do.


I’m teaming up with Rebecca of Bumbles & Light and Kristi of Live and Love out Loud for another inspiring adventure as we photograph our way through spring with the Nurture Photography Challenge - a seasonal photo challenge series chock full of tips and tutorials, inspiring weekly prompts, personal feedback and encouragement.

Just a few details:

All are welcome regardless of skill level, camera equipment or geographic location.

Share your favorite images inspired by our weekly prompts each Friday and grab our lovely button while you’re at it!


The linky will remain open from 9am Friday – 9am Thursday CST. Don’t forget to visit and comment on the previous entry in the linky list.

We’re sharing the photography love and showcasing our talented photographers by pinning some of your lovely photos to our Nurture Photography Inspiration Board.

The Nurture Photography Challenge has taken to Facebook! Stop by, “like” our new Facebook fan page, ask questions and share your work on our wall as well.

We love Instagram just as much as you do! We’ll be on the lookout for your beautiful winter photos, so be sure to use the #nurturephoto hashtag. We’ll share a few favorites on Instagram each week, sending a little bit of love your way.

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Today Rebecca is sharing some wonderful tips on storytelling through photos. Make sure to stop over. You're sure to be inspired!


  1. I think that you totally nailed the dream feeling. I think that photos of this nature reflect feelings and visions. It's all in how you interpret them :) Love them.
    And yes we are at the mercy of mother nature. She's being a b*tch lately.

  2. These photos are so BEAUTIFUL! <3

  3. Thanks Kimberly. I certainly was trying to set a mood so I'm happy you picked up on that. So sorry about Mother Nature! Total bummer!

  4. I'm sniffing here... for the sake of the beauty of this post!!!!

  5. I've never heard of this tree before! It looks amazing. Your photos really capture the dreamy feeling.

  6. Tiaras & TantrumsFriday, 03 May, 2013

    the south has so many different foliage than here in the midwest - I think prettier too!

  7. Great shots, Alicia! I wish we had a Granddaddy Graybeard here too! :(

  8. What wonderful images you have shared with us today! Definitely dreamy! Have a wonderful weekend...

  9. Serendipity is SweetFriday, 03 May, 2013

    That is a gorgeous tree. I don't think I have ever seen one. Beautiful shots!

  10. Oh I've never seen a tree like this before - it's so photogenic and what beautiful images Alicia.

  11. What pretty flowers. They look dreamy indeed. :-)

  12. elizabeth mcdonaldFriday, 03 May, 2013

    Hi changed my site name...http://enrichingmomentsphotography.blogspot.com/

  13. Jessica RaquelFriday, 03 May, 2013

    I love how your ivory and dream combine in your photos! Very pretty!

  14. These are absolutely wonderful! I do wish we had those trees around here.

  15. amanda | wildly simpleFriday, 03 May, 2013

    These shots (and this tree) are very dreamy!!

  16. What a stunning specimen tree! I love the dreamy effects.

  17. Absolutely gorgeous! What a beautiful tree! I love the soft, dreamy feel to these!

  18. These are beautiful! I want this tree!

  19. oh Alicia! what an absolutely dreamy tree!! i've never heard of it or seen one before. you did a phenomenal drop of creating a dreamy effect. makes me want to bring a blanket and just lay down and stare up at all those beautiful flowers. i'm curious what the tree looks like without the blossoms ... i may have to keep an eye out for it on our trip to N.C. this year. :)

  20. Thanks Tish! It keeps the flowers but as the leaves come in they are not as apparent and they begin to thin out and droop a bit. Still beautiful. ;)

  21. So dreamy!
    I was very late getting my entry in this week, but still wanted to share and keep up with this awesome challenge!