Photographing native orchids.

There are more than 12,000 species of wildflowers in WA, making it the world’s largest collection. It’s a staggering sight to behold, especially when you consider 60% of Western Australian wildflowers are found nowhere else on Earth. So we want to capture them in such a way that shows this beauty and diversity.

As the orchids and a lot of wildflowers in Australia are very small, what is the best way to photograph them?

Believe it or not, you can actually put your big boy and girl cameras away. The best way is a high quality point and shoot, preferably one that shoots in RAW. Failing htat using your camera phone is also an option.

“What?”, I hear you say. I am a photo coach as well as a photographer so part of my job is to keep up to date on new developments in cameras and with the advent of the high megapixel small cameras we have discovered that they take amazing flower photos.

I love nature and landscapes so generally lug my big camera everywhere with me, but after doing some reaserch I thought I would put it to the test. I have a Fuji F770exr point and shoot. It is 16mp and shoots in jpeg and RAW and yes the queen of sheeba I shot with this.

The main issue with a point and shoot is the lack of manual focus, so here is a little trick for times when the camera doesn’t want to focus on the tiny flower. Get a leaf, a stick or a piece of bark and hold it above the flower or beside the flower at the same focal distance as you are shooting, focus on this and then remove it and take the shot. You will have lovely sharp images like the one below.

Drakaea glyptodon
Native orchid of Western Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What settings, again believe it or not the macro or flower setting in scene modes usually gives you the best result.

The orchid above which is called King in his carriage or Drakaea glytodon is only about 2cm long, so that is tiny to get a focus on, but by using a piece of bark it wasn’t a problem. This orchid grows in white sandy areas in forest or scrub-land. I found this one yesterday out at Yalverton Hill, Busselton. Just watch where you walk in the sandy areas as these and the flying ducks are everywhere and quite hard to see. look for the small heart shaped leaves.

If you are using a smart phone, again use a stick or leaf and focus on this. To lock the focus just hold your finger on the screen on the place you want it to focus, if you just press it doesn’t lock, but if you hold it there it will say ef lock. Now remove the stick or leaf and take the shot. You can also get clip on macro lenses for the smart phone which help as well.

one open and one closed Flying Duck Orchid
double headed flying duck, one open and one closed
leaf of flying duck
This is the leaf of the King in his carriage

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