A Day With the Orchids

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Every year here in Washington DC, there is a show of orchids. This year the display is at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. Getting decent pictures of the flowers can be quite challenging due to the number of people attending and the placement of the plants.

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Many of the plants and flowers have identity signs very close to them which often get in the way. I find I am down on my knees or up on my toes trying to find an angle that minuses the signs.

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Fortunately I was prepared to spend a number of hours waiting for folks to move allowing me to get as good a perspective as I could.

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The lighting also presented challenges. I used a color checker passport to try to get a handle on the white balance. Turns out not all the lighting was the same color temperature. It was also quite dim. I used an external flash to fill in here and there and as the main light in other shots. Another issue is with the reflections off the flowers themselves. Many of them are quite shiny resulting in bright and often blown-out highlights. Turns out shooting flowers at an exhibition is quite the challenge. I think I’ll visit a local shop and pick up a few plants to practice on.

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Autumn blossoms

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If you plan for it, you can have colorful flowers blooming well into the autumn months. Here in Leesburg, the Master Gardeners have planned well. Most of the big showy types are gone or well on the way, but there are quite a few smaller flowers providing plenty of color throughout the garden. I like to wander the garden looking for late butterflies, especially Monarchs. I usually see a few, presumably on their way to Mexico, taking up nectar.

Getting ready to bloom

Getting ready to bloom

Not all the flowers attract butterflies, at least not that I have seen. Most though attract bees of all sorts, as well as ants and other insects. They also attract other critters like me. Most days I will be the only one there watching as the season turns. I like the quiet. I can hear the birds better. Even my sandwich taste better. Thank you Master Gardeners of Leesburg for your wonderful garden.

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