Thursday, 5 May 2011

Lady orchids at Yockletts

First attempts

I have visited the site a couple of times in the last week, the first time being the Royal Wedding day (well, what else was there to do) and then yesterday. It has been my first time photographing wild orchids so I start some way down the learning curve.

One thing that I learned fairly quickly is that it is quite different to bird photography in that you have much more control of your subjects; there are a number of individuals in different lighting to choose from and they don't move (or fly away!). That said, they are still a real challenge to capture nicely...

Single flower spike
The major challenges are:
  • accurate focusing to get the entire plant in focus whilst at the same time choosing an aperture that diffuses the background
  • finding a specimen that is in good even light (high contrast is bad)
  • avoiding any wind movement (it's amazing how much they move even when the air appears to be still)
  • keeping the camera rock solid on a tripod or bean bag
  • slowing down (in stark contrast to bird photography where you need to think and work quickly) and concentrating constantly on composition and technique
Two flower spikes (these are a bit past their best but don't often see two together)
All images are taken with a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro (the older, non-IS model) on either a 50D or 1D Mk IV (I wanted to see how the different sensor sizes/field of view worked).

The close up below was taken with the aid of a 20mm extension tube to allow me to get in tight.

Close-up; I've not met too many ladies that look like this - thankfully!
This single spike was in a very sheltered, low light and contrast position
Getting a taste for more

Having spent quite some time photographic birds over the winter, it's been great to try something different. I've still got some way to go to get images that I'm really happy with but I'm enjoying the challenge and will be honing my skills over the next few months.

I'm off to Devon next week so may be able to get a couple of half-days in there too.

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