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Posts Tagged ‘Lady’s Slipper orchid’

All orchids are beautiful, but I am particularly fascinated by Lady’s Slipper orchids, which are characterized by a slipper-shaped pouch. The pouch traps insects that help to fertilize the flower as they climb up and out of the pouch. According to Wikipedia, the Lady’s Slipper orchids are in the orchid subfamily Cypripedioideae, though some apparently consider them to be their own family separate from the other orchids.

I took this shot last week in Washington D.C. at the US Botanic Garden. There were several rooms full of orchids of all kinds, including multiple species of Lady’s Slipper orchids—it was almost like being in heaven.

Lady's Slipper orchid

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This past weekend, I was filled with an inexplicable urge to take some flower photos. With the exception of some clumps of snowdrops, nothing was blooming outdoors, so I slipped into the small glass-enclosed greenhouse at my local county-run garden to capture images of some of the tropical flowers there.

I was alone with the plants for an extended period of time and was able to set up my tripod and use my macro lens, which has been gathering dust the last few months. My eyes have grown accustomed to looking for birds in the distance and it was an interesting challenge to get them to focus on the smaller details of stationary objects.

I am not sure of the names of the flowers that I photographed (with the exception of the second one, which is a kind of Lady’s Slipper orchid), but my senses were satisfied temporarily with the sight and smells of these beautiful flowers.

I can’t wait for spring, when I’ll have the chance to to see more flowers (and the accompanying insects) outdoors.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Progress toward spring seems to have slowed down and frost has reappeared in the morning, though we have been spared the heavy snows that have fallen in other parts of the country.

As a reminder of the colorful growth that is to come, I decided to share a few images of one of my favorite orchids—a Lady’s Slipper orchid—from the orchid exhibition that I visited at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, VA earlier this month. I was really intrigued by the “pouch” portion of the flower and tried to highlight it in close-up photos, which I took with my camera on a tripod and settings of ISO 100, f16, and .6 seconds.

As I think about spring, I feel like a little kid on a trip, who keeps asking his parents, “Are we there yet?” Despite what the calendar may indicate, we are not there yet, and the answer to the question “When?” is likely to be the indefinite “Soon” that parents are wont to use in a response to the child.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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In an effort to chase away the dullness of another gray winter day, I traveled yesterday with some friends to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, VA to see a spectacular display of orchids.

There was an amazing variety of orchids of all sizes and color, displayed in several areas of a large indoor glass conservatory. I know very little about orchids, but my eyes were especially drawn to a variety called Lady’s Slippers that are in the sub-family Cypripedioideae. According to Wikipedia, orchids of this type are characterized by slipper-shaped pouches that traps insects so they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollen, thus fertilizing the flower.

Here is a front view of a green-and-yellow Lady’s Slipper. Although the orchids were amazingly beautiful, it was often difficult to get good backgrounds for images of the flowers, because of visual clutter. I dealt with the issue by using my macro lens and concentrating on small elements of individual flowers.

My friend and photography mentor, Cindy Dyer, however, was better prepared for this by carrying along a piece of white cardboard to help isolate the flowers and simplify the background. (You should check out her blog for beautiful photos of orchids and other flowers and insects).

The second and third images, which provide a side view of the Lady’s Slipper, were taken with a few seconds of each other, one with the existing background and one using Cindy’s white cardboard. In many ways, I like the look of the white background—it reminds me a little of a botanical print, but it is definitely unnatural.

Which version of the side view do you prefer?

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Slipper Side ViewYellowGreenSlipperOrchid

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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