Posts Tagged ‘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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One of the many highlights of my trip this past weekend to Ohio was a visit to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, where I was able to observe butterflies and orchids in a wonderful indoor setting.

I am still going through a backlog of photos, but this gorgeous pink orchid is one of my initial favorites. It was great to have macro lens back in my hands after a winter in which it mostly stayed on the shelf.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Sometimes the beauty of Easter reveals itself in subtle ways, like this delicate orchid that I photographed yesterday in the conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, VA.


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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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I’m finally finishing up with the shots from my trip last weekend to see the orchid exhibition and thought I’d post a couple of abstract images.

The first shot is a close-up of an elephant ear plant. I like the way its veins pop out, like a bodybuilder with a heavy weight. The image is somewhat symmetrical, but the two sides are not mirror images.

The second shot is a close-up of an orchid. Is it just me, or does it look like the flower contains a pink Darth Vader helmet?


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My challenge this weekend was to capture the delicate beauty of a wide variety of orchids and I decided that the best way to do so was to look at them closely, very closely and to use my macro lens.

I took these photos at an orchid exhibition at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, VA, about 90 minutes from where I live. The orchids were displayed in a glassed-in conservatory at varying heights in many different ways at varying heights—sometimes as single plants and sometimes in groups. It would have been amusing to make a video of my body’s contorted positions as I struggled to frame the photos and to look through the viewfinder of my camera, which was on a tripod most of the time.

In some of these images, like the first one, I tried to increase the depth of field to show more details and in other cases, like the last image, I intentionally limited the depth of field to capture one element. In some photos, I was most interested in the lines and colors.

If forced to choose a favorite, I’d probably select the first image, because of the interesting shapes, which are set off by the white petals. Do you have a preference?

White Orchid closeupPinkWhiteYellow OrchidAbstract Pink Orchid


© 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?


Slipper Side ViewYellowGreenSlipperOrchid

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