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Callaway Gardens

Callaway Gardens is one of our favorite vacation getaways. The gardens are located about an hour southwest of Atlanta, or a seven-hour drive from Orlando. The gardens are particularly well known for their gorgeous displays of azaleas in the spring, and for the amazing Fantasy in Lights display of Christmas lights in November and December. I also enjoy photographing songbirds in Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden. There are daily Birds of Prey shows with easily photographable raptors. The Day Butterfly Center is also fun for butterfly photography.

We usually stay at the Mountain Creek Inn. We've also rented a cottage and enjoyed that very much.

Photography advice: Take as many lenses as you can - long lenses for birds, macro for flowers, and wide-angle for landscapes. It's all here!

Visit the Callaway Gardens website.

Use Azalea Watch to plan your spring trip!

Fall Blooms at Callaway Gardens

Fall Blooms at Callaway Gardens - November 2013

We spent a weekend in north Georgia recently to capture some of the fall foliage, and I tucked my macro lens into my bag, looking forward to the opportunity to photograph some flowers as well.  The fall blooms at Callaway Gardens are always fun to shoot.  The gardens have large spectacular displays of mums, and the camellias are also in bloom.  It's strange to see the leaves falling off the …Read More

Fall Colors at Callaway Gardens

Fall Colors at Callaway Gardens - November 2013

Rich and I did a quick getaway trip to Callaway Gardens last weekend.  Callaway Gardens is located in Georgia, about an hour southwest of Atlanta.  My photography goal for the trip was fall leaves.   While the peak color is past in places like New England or along the Great Smoky Mountains, the leaves are just now changing in north Georgia.  I kept an eye on the Georgia Leaf Watch …Read More

Fall Leaves

Fall Leaves - December 2012

I thought it would be easy to photograph fall leaves. After all, there are tons of them lying around, right? Turns out they are not as photogenic as you might think. And a lot of them were already brown, which really distracted from the leaves that were brightly colored. So I took lots of attempts, but few turned out to be anything like what I wanted. This one was my …Read More

Soft Colors

Soft Colors - December 2012

I'm always surprised at camellia blooms because they remind me so much of my roses.  The colors of this one are very delicate and pretty.  Pale whites and pinks make me think of spring - but it's December!  I need to go find some poinsettias to play with. :)

Tall Trees Make Me Feel Short

Tall Trees Make Me Feel Short - December 2012

I saw these tall trees still with some fall color and thought it would be fun to photograph them from an ant's perspective.  So I threw myself on the ground (much to Rich's surprise) and starting photographing up into the sky.  The result has an interesting perspective.  Tall trees make me feel really short!

Fun with Filters

Fun with Filters - December 2012

I recently photographed some tiny flowers.  I don't know what kind they were.  Rich stood patiently as I crawled on the ground to get really close.  I liked the images, but they seemed a little boring.  So I played a little bit with the Color Efex Pro and Fractalius filters…

Mum’s the Word

Mum’s the Word - December 2012

I didn't have a chance to get out and do photography this weekend, so I don't have new Florida pictures to share.  So I'll keep sharing shots from my recent vacation to Callaway Gardens.  Mum's the word!

Fall Sunshine

Fall Sunshine - December 2012

In a few months, this Overlook Garden at Callaway Gardens will be a beautiful mass of azalea color.  I hope to get back up there to photograph it.  But now it is a wood with a little bit of fall color remaining, and the sun shone through the trees on me…I never noticed the change of seasons much until I started gardening and photography! :)

Camellia Blooms

Camellia Blooms - November 2012

I was surprised to find the camellias blooming already in Georgia.  The fresh delicate blooms contrasted so much with the fall colors and dead leaves that surround the bushes.  Two bees were pollinating this bloom that I spotted high over my head.  In the background are the bright yellow and orange leaves of a tree still in full color.

Back to the Waterfall

Back to the Waterfall - November 2012

On our last trip to Callaway, I found a waterfall near the chapel that I really enjoyed photographing.  It was my first real opportunity to experiment with slow shutter speeds to blur the water.  I got some nice compliments on the pictures, and total strangers e-mailed me to ask me where in the world this waterfall is!  So on our recent trip of course I had to go back.  This …Read More

Fantasy in Lights

Fantasy in Lights - November 2012

A few days before Thanksgiving, Rich and I went up to Callaway Gardens.  Callaway Gardens is about an hour south of Atlanta, which is a seven hour drive from Orlando.  Each year they decorate the gardens with wonderful Christmas lights and music, called their "Fantasy in Lights" celebration.  It's so much fun!  This was our second year to visit the lights.  We went before Thanksgiving to enjoy fewer crowds, and …Read More

Cosmos Burst

Cosmos Burst - November 2012

The light levels were low at the Vegetable Garden most evenings when we were at Callaway Gardens.  Plus it was wintertime, and there weren't many birds around.  I photographed a few Yellow-Rumped Warblers and a Junco, which is really common but not in Florida, and then my attention turned to other photogenic subjects.  This clump of cosmos was about the only colorful thing in the garden.  I decided to take …Read More

Going in Circles

Going in Circles - November 2012

Sometimes it's fun to mix up your photography using filters and effects.  I took a nice picture of a lake scene with fall colors earlier this week at Callaway Gardens.  But it was a little boring…straight lines, nicely executed, but nothing special.  I noticed the layers in the trees and the waves of the lake and decided to play with Photoshop's Polar Coordinates filter.  It wrapped the waves of the …Read More

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! - November 2012

Rich and I just returned from a weekend trip to Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia.  We're very thankful that we had an opportunity for a few much-needed days away.  And for our nice neighbors who took care of our cats while we were gone!  We went to Callaway for their Fantasy in Lights display of Christmas lights and music.  I'll blog more about that after Thanksgiving.  For today, here's …Read More

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 6 – Waterfall!

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 6 – Waterfall! - August 2011

This is my last post about our Callaway Gardens vacation in Georgia this month.  We had a great time photographing hummingbirds, songbirds, warblers, butterflies, and turtles at the beautiful gardens in Pine Mountain (about a hour southwest of Atlanta).  But we stumbled upon my favorite photo from the whole trip rather unexpectedly.  It was mid-day, and I had my wide-angle lens on the camera while we hiked the various trails …Read More

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 5 – Migrating Warblers!

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 5 – Migrating Warblers! - August 2011

The Beast was napping in his case when Rich and I were hiking in the Azalea Bowl at Callaway Gardens last week.  I had the wide-angle lens on the camera, somewhat disappointed at the meager number of birds that we'd managed to find on our vacation.  So I put on a warming filter and concentrated on making landscape images.  (Note: an APS-C sensor with its 1.6 crop factor does not …Read More

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 4 – Butterflies!

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 4 – Butterflies! - August 2011

The Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens is one of the biggest open-air butterfly centers in the country.  Thousands of butterflies swirl around you as you walk through the conservatory, which features plenty of nectar plants and a waterfall.  In the lobby, you can watch chrysalides turn into butterflies.  Most of the butterflies are not the typical butterflies you would see in a Southeastern garden.  Some of my favorites are …Read More

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 3 – Birds!

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 3 – Birds! - August 2011

My favorite place at Callaway Gardens is Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden.  On our first visit, Rich wanted to check out the veges, and I thought I'd be totally bored.  But it was quite the opposite.  There are tons of birds in the garden.  In fact, it is a certified Backyard Habitat.  It's not just vegetables, either.  They plant flowers in the garden, too, including a Trial Garden for new varieties …Read More

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 2 – Turtles!

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 2 – Turtles! - August 2011

Rich's favorite part of our Callaway Gardens vacations is seeing the many turtles in the lakes.  The two best places to see turtles are in the lake right outside the Discovery Center, and at the little pavilion by Mockingbird Lake.  We also saw them sunning themselves on a log in the middle of Hummingbird Lake several times in the late afternoon, prompting Rich to unofficially change the name of the …Read More

Callaway Gardens Vacation:  Part 1 – Hummers!!

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 1 – Hummers!! - August 2011

Rich and I recently went up to Callaway Gardens for a few days.  Callaway is about an hour southwest of Atlanta, so about a seven-hour drive from Orlando.  The gardens are a great place to relax.  We enjoy hiking during the day (for Rich) and photographing at sunrise and sunset (for me).  Rich realized there's another advantage to having a smartphone: you can fit lots of books onto the phone, …Read More

Callaway Gardens Trip – Spring 2010

Callaway Gardens Trip – Spring 2010 - April 2010

Rich and I decided to take a week off this spring to go to Callaway Gardens to see the azaleas.  With the cold winter and early spring rain, the bloom was supposed to be spectacular.  It's also very late - so the Callaway Azalea Watch was very helpful in planning our trip. The Mountain Creek Inn was full, so we ended up renting a cottage.  It was really nice.  We …Read More

Fifth Anniversary – Callaway Gardens

Fifth Anniversary – Callaway Gardens - June 2009

Rich and I went to Callaway Gardens to celebrate our fifth anniversary.  We had a great time and saw a lot of fun butterflies and birds.

Winter Birding at Callaway Gardens

Winter Birding at Callaway Gardens - November 2008

We went to Callaway Gardens to see the Fantasy in Lights display, but during the day, we had a great time walking around the gardens. There are so many birds at Callaway! The Callaway Birds of Prey show is fun. They pick three of about ten of their birds to display during each show, and they let the birds fly (sometimes right over the spectators' heads!). It's interesting to hear …Read More

Callaway Gardens – Fantasy in Lights

Callaway Gardens – Fantasy in Lights -

Rich and I went to Callaway Gardens this week to see the Fantasy in Lights display. The gardens are decorated with Christmas-theme lights, complete with music and a "sleigh ride" (behind Snowflake, the imaginary reindeer!) What's so amazing about the lights is that they are virtually hidden during the day. Nutcracker and Toy Soldiers Santa's Workshop Animals of Callaway Magic of the Seasons This exhibit was new, and probably our …Read More

Callaway Gardens – Summer 2008

Callaway Gardens – Summer 2008 - August 2008

After two years of talking about it, Rich and I finally made it to Callaway Gardens…and thanks to Tropical Storm Fay, it rained the whole time we were there! But I saw my first hummingbirds, we were pleasantly surprised to run into some of our FL winter bird friends, and two of the butterflies in the butterfly center liked my backpack so much that they tried to come home with …Read More