Yellow phalaenopsis orchid

Flower photography is about peace, tranquility and renewal. While flower photography should be a path to a Zen state of consciousness, it is in fact frustrating beyond belief, and technically demanding.

Many of the shots in this gallery are focus stacks, images assembled from multiple exposures taken at wide apertures with an extremely narrow depth of field. The cameras and lenses of today are truly amazing, but still poor tools to capture the memories in our minds. As an artist, you may assemble these pieces in such a way as to provide the viewer with an image that has more depth and detail what a camera can capture in a single frame.

The idea is to more accurately control the areas of crisp sharpness and the transitions to the softer background. If done correctly, the result is an image that more closely matches the way we see the world through our own eyes.

It takes time an discipline, but it’s worth the work. When we achieve a level of competence, the image of a flower can calm the mind, and at the same time uplift the spirit with bright splashes of color. The work becomes its own reward.

Flowers are the basis of many legends and fables. One of my favorites is about how violets came to be blue.

In ancient Athens, violets were a sign of good wishes. Violets in those times where white, and were displayed in every happy home. No wedding was considered complete without violets. It was Venus who turned violets blue. Venus argued with her son Cupid over who was more beautiful, herself or a group of young maidens. Cupid thought the maidens were more fair, which caused Venus to fly into a rage. She beat the maidens until they were blue, and became violets. Forever after, violets have remained blue as a symbol of the transient nature of beauty and love.

Orchids are one of my favorite flower subjects. Aside from their often spectacular beauty, they have a history of having magical and medicinal properties. There is evidence the Chinese were using them as medications since 2800 BC. To this day, orchids are used in preparations that help relaxation and sleep. It’s also believed orchids can benefit the immune system and fight fatigue.

Many societies believe orchids are an aphrodisiac and improve libido. It’s not an accident that an orchid makes the perfect corsage for the high school prom.

All in all, a very worthy subject for any photographer. My own feeling is this…

A good photograph freezes an instant in the life of the flower, holds it still for us to enjoy as a memory we never had.

A good photograph freezes an instant in the life of the flower, holds it still for us to enjoy as a memory we never had.Robert Baucom

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