I took my first photographs of native orchids in February 2005 at a monthly general meeting of the Native Orchid Society of South Australia (NOSSA). Orchid growers bring their flowering plants to the monthly meetings to show them and to compete for the best orchids.
This is one of my first photographs of an orchid taken with
a digital camera without a flash in February 2005. This is a Sarcochilus hybrid.
My aim at the start was quite simple. I just wanted to get to know the names of the orchids, because I did not know any of them at all. Three of my photographs from the February meeting turned up in the electronic version of the March NOSSA Journal, including the one above.
In the March 2006 issue of the Journal, because there were few plants at the meeting to photograph, the Editor compiled a page of photographs of orchid leaves which I had taken on a field trip to Scott Conservation Park the previous winter. Some of these same photographs appear in my book, Start with the Leaves, including the two of the photographs on the front cover. One couple told me that they took this page with them into the field to identify orchids before they flowered.
This beautiful, newly emerged leaf of Leporella fimbriata is one of my first orchid
photographs taken in the field. It features prominently on the cover of my book.
My reasons, then, for photographing orchids were so that I could get to know them, and to share them with others.
Incidentally, some of the flowers are strikingly beautiful. When my children were helping me prepare the book, they were not happy with pictures that just showed the features relevant for identification; they wanted each photograph to be attractive and balanced.
We went on NOSSA field trips to learn about orchids and photographed them to help with this. We went with our compact cameras while the photographic enthusiasts took their SLR cameras and their tripods. We found the digital cameras to be adequate for our purposes and all of the pictures on this blog have been taken with either a compact digital camera or a smart phone.
In May 2011 NOSSA began having a photographic competition to give members the opportunity to share their best photographs. I entered my favourite photograph of Diuris orientis, which I regard as the most photogenic of our orchids because of its size and depth of rich colours. This photograph was included in the header in an earlier version of the banner for the Trees For Life website. This was the first photograph to win this competition.
Diuris orientis photographed in full sunlight on 4 October 2005.
Notice the splendid rich colours.
We have seen a wonderful selection of photographs from members of NOSSA at the general meetings since this first competition. The only prize is to have the photograph displayed for a month on the NOSSA website. Unlike most of the followers here who share their photographs on the net, most of the participants have not shown their pictures before. This event has been about sharing photographs rather than winning prizes.
The people who judged the orchids at the general meeting had set an example of having two of them speak about the orchids that had been “benched.” So, the practice with the picture competition has been to use this as an opportunity to have somebody speak about the orchids photographed. There was also an informative Journal article about the monthly winning photograph and a similar post on the NOSSA website. This educational aspect makes the competition worthwhile.
The pictures displayed at the meetings are only seen by the 30-40 people attending the monthly meetings, but I hope a larger audience will be able to see them.
What bothers me is the thought of hundreds of photographs stored on home computers that have hardly been seen by anyone and are just waiting for a hard drive to crash when they will be lost for ever. Some may be historical showing orchids where they no longer occur. I would like to explore this idea on a later post.