flora, flowers, nature, orchids, fuchsia, Spring, scent, composition, observation

Flower Photography: The Pacific Orchid Expo, or 150,000 Reasons to Bring Your Camera

flora, flowers, nature, orchids, fuchsia, Spring, scent, composition, observation
Most flowers are too busy BEING beautiful to stop and wonder IF.
– K’lee L.

In my never ending quest for new subjects to shoot (with my camera), I stumbled upon mention of an event called the P.O.E. in a local paper this past Thursday. The P.O. E. is the Pacific Orchid Expo. It’s sponsored by the San Francisco Orchid Society. I learned it’s the largest orchid show in the United States with get this, one hundred and fifty THOUSAND orchids from all around the world.

This was the sixty-third annual show, and while I haven’t been here in this life for sixty-three years yet, I do wonder why I didn’t know about the event say last year? I didn’t come up with an answer, so I headed out to Saturday’s showing held this year at San Francisco’s Fort Mason.

I’ve been to a few flower conservatories in my day, but this event overwhelmed from the start. As any of you photographers who’ve shot indoor flowers know, lighting can be tricky; bright in some areas, not so much in others. What that data translates to in real-time photography is a dialing up or down of various specs provided by my trusty Nikon. Experimentation is the key when you’re not sure, this way you’ll end up with several choices and the option to  do a little ‘post editing magic’ once the show has closed it’s doors for the night.

One method I learned of not long ago was this: Initially set your camera to its ‘programmed mode’. This lets the camera automatically adjust itself for the lighting conditions. Look at those numbers; write them down if need be, then set the camera to manual and begin experimenting! A little adjustment or a lot is up to you and what you ultimately think of the outcome.

With this particular orchid, one I sadly can’t name for you, all I added was a little texture filtering and ‘vignetting’, a trick which shadows your subject in a way to draw the eye exactly where you deem most important within the shot!

How many shots did I take? Hundreds. There were one hundred and fifty thousand subjects to choose from so I consider my numbers to be conservative to say the least.

I plan on posting more results, some I even gave black and white treatment which… well you can be the judge of ‘can a flower still be beautiful with its color removed?’

Stay tuned. I’ll be looking forward to your answers!

K’lee L. copyright 2015

5 thoughts on “Flower Photography: The Pacific Orchid Expo, or 150,000 Reasons to Bring Your Camera

  1. Lovely work! I myself love taking pictures of flowers and rework them, actually are one of my favorite subjects to take a shot of. Love modifying and adding my mood to it with removed or partially removed color. Beauty without color…I say yes, color is not the only thing which defines beauty, not for me at least. So I’m looking forward to see your B&W posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thanks for this, Eva! I agree with you on all points. I enjoy taking photos of flowers. I use to see it as one of the biggest challenges to infuse ‘something more’ with them, but these days I feel up for the challenge. Love what you say about ‘beauty without color’. I too believe it’s possible and in some cases, lends the subject more of an air of indefinable ‘otherness’ which draws the eye. I’ll post some of those shots soon… looking forward to your opinion!

      Liked by 1 person

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