Funnel Web Spider Orchid

Yesterday we went out looking for the Funnel Web Spider Orchid.

It was going to be a long day so we packed a picnic and a thermos and headed off.

The first placed we stopped at had lots of slipper orchid leaves but nothing much was out, so we continued to Augusta flat rocks.

There we were greeted with a carpet of yellow, lemon scented sun orchids, so small and yet so intricate.

emon-scented-sun-orchid

Lemon Scented Sun Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were with a group, so we all spread out to look for the funnel web spider orchid. We found a mantis orchid, a reaching spider orchid and a frilly leak orchid and then finally someone had spotted the funnel web. It was time to line up and wait our turn to take photos.

As we waited I noticed people having trouble focusing, so I grabbed a piece of bark and held it next to the flower so that the camera had something to focus on. It was windy and the orchid wouldn’t stay still. Once they had a focus I moved the piece of bark and they took the shot. This is a handy trick to remember as you can get focus in hard to focus situations. I also use leaves or twigs, just something with a bit of contrast or pattern or an edge that the camera sensor can pick up. Using this I go home with mostly keepers instead of only having one or two in focus.

Also remember you can add a flash or light to help freeze the motion. I have a ring light that gives a nice even light.

So here is the lovey Funnel web spider orchid, Caladenia infundibularis, this orchid is usually found in Jarrah or Karri forests or coastal heath in the southwest corner of Western Australia.

funnel web spider orchid Caladenia infundibularis-full-plant

Full plant, showing leaf

funnel-web-spider-Caladenia-infundibularis

close up

funnel-web-spider-orchid

Side view of funnel web spider orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will add images of the others in posts on those particular one:)

Something to look forward to….Full plant, showing leafFull plant, showing leaf

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

Do you love taking photos?

Truck in the dust at sunset

Do you wish you could take better photos or were motivated to take more?

I have good news for you and it’s not going to cost you a cent!!!

Yep totally free.

I am going to be posting tips, tricks, walkthroughs and more to help you when taking the image and when processing it.

If you are subscribed to my newsletter you will receive a link to any articles I have put up during the week. If you want to have your finger on the pulse, bookmark the site and check each day.

Depending on my health as to how often I post.

Now we get to the best part. It’s orchid season. For those of us in Australia anyway. I like in an area in the south west of Western Australia and we have some of the best wildflowers at this time of the year, including many orchids.

I am going to start off with a teaser…..

Thelymitra variegata

This is the rare and endangered Thelymitra variegata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the rare and endangered, “Queen of Sheba” or Thelymitra variegata

It grows in Banksia woodlands in the scrub areas around the coastal areas of South West Australia.

For most of the orchids I will give you a general idea of where to look for them unless they are endangered, as is this one. I will tell you though, that each year, they have tours in the Stirling Rangers where they will take you to see them. They have finished for this year, but we are planning on heading down there next year.

We will do a bit of travelling and sometimes I will get information from other people. I want to add here a very important note. Many people are not sharing locations anymore as people are digging up the plants. The plants need certain fungi and certain trees around them to grow and they need there specific pollinators to  be pollinated and reproduce, so digging them up is a waste of time, it is also illegal as is picking of all wildflowers in Australia and carries with it a hefty fine.

Take you camera or your phone and take pictures but leave the plants for others to enjoy.A lot of these orchids are very tiny, ranging from the size of a match head to the size of a small daisy, so when going through any bush watch where you put your feet.

Another important thing we have learn’t through our own journey, I have been hunting and photographing orchids for the last 6 years, is that whatever grows in the bush also grows by the paths or tracks. Often you will find them on the path and if you go into the bush looking for them you won’t find any more, so most often look along the road verges, follow tracks or paths and you will find them. Even the Queen we found 3 foot off the path and easily spotted from the path. (After I had spent 3 different days looking through the bush, thinking it wouldn’t be near a path!) So learn from our experiences.

The other reason to stay on the path or road is there is less chance of getting ticks. Ticks love the Western Australian bush and if you go bush bashing I can guarantee you will get a few. They are not nice and carry some nasty diseases, so look after yourself and the environment at the same time.

I will end this post here as I want to pin this to the front so any new people to the site can read it, but I will add another post giving you an idea of what is out now and where to look.