It's all too easy to get down about such things but I'm going to resist this and enjoy the fact that this year has seen an abundance of orchids, following on from an excellent 2012.
Because of the cold, protracted spring, everything has been a little late this year - about 2-3 weeks I would say. Furthermore, from a photographic perspective, conditions have been far from ideal due to incessant strong northerly and easterly winds. Anyway, I'll stop bleating now and share some images with you.
Note: Unless otherwise stated all images were taken with a 100mm macro lens.
Lady orchid was the first species that I ever photographed and this south-eastern specialty has been prolific in 2013. On a recent trip to Denge Wood near Canterbury I can honestly say there were over 1,000 superb specimens in full bloom.
|Lady orchid, dominating in a sea of emerging common spotted|
|Lady orchid flower spike|
There is a large natural variation in colouration even at a single site, with some very deeply coloured ones, like those above, to ones that are a much paler pink.
The light colour also dramatically alters the resultant image. The one below was taken in very 'warm' evening light giving a much different mood to the ones above that were taken a couple of hours before sunset, on an overcast day. A single shot with a 500mm lens, 1/100th at f/9 ISO 400; the distant hedge helping to give a naturally diffuse and dark background.
|Lady orchid flower spike in late-evening light|
It has been a record year for monkey orchid with over 500 recorded at a single site on the North Downs. They had not grown as tall as previous years though, and were barely above the level of the underlying grass which made them difficult to photograph.
|Monkey orchid flower spike (focus stack from 6 images)|
My favourite species has to be the greater butterfly orchid: These pale, tall and delicate flowers are very difficult to photograph as they are susceptible to the slightest puff of wind. There were hundreds of these in Denge Wood this year where other years' counts have been in the tens.
|Greater butterfly orchid (and common spotted)|
|Greater butterfly orchid|
The photograph below was taken about 2 hours before sunset, directly into the sun. This gives a nice bright, fresh appearance. I used a reflector to push some light back onto the flower and lifted the shadows a little in LR afterwards.
|Common spotted orchid|
One the most rewarding aspects of nature photography is finding something new and unexpected. Whilst I was walking around in Denge Wood I noticed a species of flower I had not seen before, dotted sparingly in the vegetation.
|Lady, common spotted and common twayblade...and something else!|
Earlier orchid posts on Wonky Horizons
Both Anthony and I have posted before on wild orchid photography:
- Photographing wild orchids
- Focus-stacking wild orchids
- A morning on the Kent downs
- Heath spotted orchids at Hothfield Heathlands