I follow Florida Hikes and they tweeted about wild orchids blooming at Fort Christmas,
Fort Christmas Historical Park is east of Orlando close to Orlando Wetlands Park. I’ve written about it before:
I hadn’t ever seen Orchids in the wild and I hadn’t been out there since 2012, so this was a big enough motivation to make me want to visit again. I ended up exploring with Tom M. on a morning last week.
Once we knew what to look for, the orchids weren’t hard to find. There were a lot of them higher up in the large live oak trees. The strong back light, wind, and distance made them hard to photograph well, but with a longer lens, a flash, and some careful camera positioning I managed to isolate these blooms against a dark background. I like the colors and background, which remind me of an oriental flower painting.
Wild Orchids – Up in the live oak trees. Two frames, with flash, different focus points, hand merged in Photoshop. I believe these are Florida Butterfly Orchids (Encyclia tampensis).
Sunflowers were also blooming in one of the small gardens on the site.
Sunflower bloom – In the garden. Single frame, ambient light.
We also spent some time looking around inside the buildings. You’re free to enter most of them as long as you’re careful. And since we were there on a mid-week morning, there weren’t many other folks around. Until two busses of summer camp kids showed up around 10:30.
In the bedroom – Single 1/2 second exposure at f/8 for depth of field. I didn’t have a tripod, so I rested the camera on the window sill
Antique fixtures and appliances fill the rooms. These and the wood and fabric textures make for some very photogenic settings – perfect material for a bit of nostalgic, B&W processing.
In the kitchen – I was able to hand hold this one when I opened the aperture to f/2.8. The depth of field is acceptable since there’s nothing too close to the viewpoint.
Here are some photo hints for you:
- For the orchids, you’ll probably want a longer zoom lens, a flash, a tripod and remote release.
- Some of the flowers and other items would make good macro subjects.
- For photos of the building and room interiors, I found a wide-angle lens very useful. A tripod might be handy for this too, but I was able to brace my camera and / or use the pop up flash to eliminate camera shake / blur.
I’ve posted other photos from Fort Christmas in this set on Flickr. It’s a wonderful year round photo-op. And the blooming orchids in the summertime are a nice bonus.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.