Photographing Orchids
Seems To Be One Of The Most Difficult For Me To Capture
I have been collecting Orchids for about 15 years of so and combined with my love of cameras and photography you would think I have thousands of orchid images. While yes, I have captured a lot of my orchids over the years, I seem to have only ended up with 2 so far in the Gallery.

Although in a wider angle of view shot such as "Veins of Glory" shown here don't pose the same obstacles to shoot as compared to close-up and macro shots.

In close-up and macro orchid captures, it seems to be almost impossible to get sharpness from font to back that is, as they say... "tack sharp". Although in most types of flowers it is Ok for parts of it to just blur to out of focus. In fact it can be the one aspect that makes the image as dynamic as it may appear to be.

Aside from Orchids being a small flower, it's the intricate details of their hearts that poses a difficult problem with depth-of-field. And since I am quite anal about the final DOF of my works, I have not ended up with a lot of final pieces I would hang. That is of course in the "macro" category, as for the 2 orchid works I have in the Gallery now, they are captured from a much greater distance away.

The image here was captured with a Nikon D600 with a Nikkor 60mm micro lens with an EV of ISO 800 - 1/13 @ f/32. This is also a non-cropped scaled down version of the full frame 6016x4016 RAW file.

You can roll the mouse over the image and see the pixels at 100% size and get a better idea of what the total DOF of this image was. You can see that the lower arms that appear to have a claw on the tip of them, are just beginning to go soft in focus. But there also seems to be a slight chromatic aberration along the bottom edge of the inner petals that needs addressed even more than the loss of sharpness.

Another situation you will soon discover is that you will be limited in the amount of viewing angles that will get you this much DOF. As you aim the camera in more of a straight on view, you will find it hard to get the tiny little arms sticking out to be in focus and also have some good sharpness in the center of the flower.

Back away from the subject just a little, and you can get pretty much the heart of 1 bloom all in focus, but you will be hard pressed to get 2 blooms that same sharpness. My personal preference for this scene below, would be the one shot at f/5 but including some of the other sharps spots from the one shot at f/32. And still with the processing time it will take to combine those two, I still would not have an image that I would put in the Gallery.
I guess for me, I am just to particular about the orchid captures I have made, and even the ones specifically shot for this article are not what I would want to invest the time and materials into for further processing and possible inclusion in the Gallery. Although I am very thankful that I did sell the 20x24 wrapped canvas I made of "Veins of Glory", but I doubt I will print another Giclée of it unless I want one for my personal collection.

I am in fact issuing a personal challenge to myself to produce a new botanical piece featuring an orchid for a future project. It does seem rather odd that being my favorite flower that I only have 2 in the Gallery. But yet, my favorite car color is Red and I do in fact have a large percentage of red cars in my Art of Autos Gallery.

Hopefully I can get into a situation where I am not shooting at ISO 800 to get an aperture of f/32. Due to the unique surface of the orchid petal, it is a fine line between retaining detail and getting blown out in the highlights. But shooting at f/32 is about what it takes if you plan to shoot up close to them.

At least I did get out the cammie and shoot a few shots for this article and was able to prove once again to myself just why I don't have but 2 orchid works in the Gallery. Hopefully I can tackle this subject again in the days ahead and produce piece number 3 at least.

Cover | About TPE | Previous Issues | Workshops | Gallery 5
Website Designed & Powered by Doctorsid Visual Media