Orchids are one of my favorite flowers. They are SO impressive with their vibrant colors and unique patterns. They are also very challenging to photograph! Sometimes, you just don't have a lot of choice when it comes to lighting. It depends on what time of day you are shooting and the position of the orchid. (So far, I have resisted the urge to reposition the flower for a more favorable light.) My best shots, so far, are backlit orchids with lots of nice bokeh in the background. Here's an example:
f/4.0, ISO 160
The best place to take pictures of orchids is at a botanical garden. Local fairs are also great, as they display many different kinds of orchids and it is fun to see which ones are judged blue-ribbon worthy. Some cities have orchid societies that put on excellent orchid shows and plant sales. Typically, I ask a lot of questions and have learned a lot about caring for orchids this way. To use good photography etiquette, it is always best to ask for permission to take photos first. I explain that I plan to sell my photos and ask if that is okay. Usually, I get a resounding "sure". Recently, my husband and I took a trip to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. The greenhouse was simply stunning, with giddy photographers (me included) walking around with huge smiles on their faces.
I learned from a short video upon entering the gardens, that orchids are epiphytes. Apparently, Selby gardens has the largest collection in the country. Epiphytes are plants that grow on another plant without harming it. They receive their nutrients from the air and rain. Some other examples of epiphytes are ferns, mosses, lichens and bromeliads. Below is a picture of a bromeliad and Spanish Moss fountain that you will find at Selby. I love this idea and hope to replicate it some day. This would look great in front of my house!
Click HERE to see my Orchids Gallery on Fine Art America.
Click HERE to see other orchid artwork on Fine Art America.
I hope to go back to Selby Gardens soon, to take more photos and to visit their wonderful gift shop. It is almost as beautiful as the gardens themselves!
For information on art classes, photography classes, botany classes, etc, check out Selby.org.
Is there any better place to visit in October than New Orleans? I think not. With its ghost walks, eerie cemeteries, and haunted past, New Orleans is my number 1 place to visit around Halloween. I highly recommend the French Quarters and Cemetery Tour. I found it both fun and informative. They take you to the famous St Louis Cemetery #1 and walk you around to various haunted locations in the French Quarter. You will see balconies wonderfully decorated with spider webs and skulls. The atmosphere is both electric and spooky.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting on October 31st, there are some very cool activities going on in the city. You will find details here: The Times-Picayune (I love that they have a "Ghost Sightings Forum" and "Vampire Sightings Forum" on their site.)
If you like ghost stories, like me, you might want to check out the local bookstores for books written about New Orleans' haunted history. There are some very cool used bookstores in the French Quarter. Check them out at: New Orleans Bookstores
Basically, any time of the year is a good time to visit New Orleans. But, if you happen to be there during October, you are in for a real treat, especially if you like ghost stories and haunted history.
To see artwork and photos of New Orleans that you can buy as prints, canvases and various other decor, check out Fine Art America's great collection: New Orleans
Photography can turn you into a bird watcher. Just look at me. A few years ago, I didn't even notice all the birds in Florida and I guess you could say, I took them for granted. But now, with trusty camera in hand, I have become quite the birder. My office is filled with bird books and I'm proud to say that I can now identify most common birds and their songs. Birding, for me, is fun and challenging. Working with the light, focusing on small moving flyers means you have to constantly adjust your settings. Going on walks to 'hunt' for birds has kept me in shape and is very relaxing.
One of my favorite places to bird watch is the Birdsong Nature Center in Thomasville, Georgia. The trails are amazing and they have a lovely viewing room where you can watch cardinals (above) and hummingbirds flit and flutter right in front of you. Another wonderful feature is the Listening Place, where you can sit in a screened-in shelter and just listen to all the birds singing around you.
Probably my favorite birds to photograph in Florida are Sandhill Cranes. They walk around our neighborhoods like they own the place (which they do) and are so fun to watch. In the springtime, they bring their chicks into the yard as if to show them off. It is fascinating to watch the chicks follow their parents around, learning how to hunt and to fly.
Brown Pelicans are everywhere along the Florida coast and are also fun to 'shoot'. Visit any fishing pier and you will find them graciously posing. They will entertain you with constant fly-bys, dips in the water and forever preening sessions. They are quite the showoffs.