Weedy Orchid IV

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), a wild orchid, is a wide ranging, invasive, plant now found across North America. I suspect this success is based on a partnership with fungi. Commonly known as the “Weedy Orchid” it is not especially particular on the fungus partner, accepting a wide, curiously undefined for lack of research, variety.

In this the fourth of a five part series, the 50 mm lens f-stop is tamped down a bit, narrowing the diaphragm to f2.2, yielding the column of orchid faces in sharp focus. The nodding top, bent into the frame, unfocused, stem and leaves soft focus, still lots of detail discernible. Background far less distracting.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Today’s header image is from yesterday’s post, by way of comparison.

Click me for the first post of this series.

.to be continued.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Weedy Orchid III

This series reveals an an interesting plant I encountered July 2019. the Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), a wild orchid.

Each flower produces a seed capsule with an uncountable profusion of minuscule seeds. Germination is only possible if a fungus is present, mycorrhizal symbiosis the scientific term from the root words myco (fungus) and rhiz- as in rhízōma “mass of roots.”

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

This photograph minimizes the clutter of this rose garden site, lost in a beautiful bokeh, at a cost of much flower detail. Many of the numerous blooms are out of focus. F-stop is set to wide open, f1.2. The apparent image distortion, upper left hand quadrant, is the blurred arc of a juniper bush limb.

Today’s header image is from yesterday’s post, by way of comparison.

Click me for the first post of this series.

.to be continued.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Weedy Orchid II

July 2019 I photographed an interesting plant growing in the wild. Motivated by curiosity I identified it as Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), a wild orchid.

A few years back we fenced in the rose garden as protection against marauding deer. This orchid specimen thrived within the enclosure, possibly turbocharged by rose fertilization.

The number of tiny flowers on a single stalk give a freakish, monstrous impression.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Here, the tripod is moved to the fully illuminated side, at f9 the details of the interesting leaves, entire flower stalk including the top bent toward the view, are in focus. The background fencing is a distraction.

Click me for the first post of this series.

.to be continued.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Weedy Orchid I

July 2019, while hiking Fillmore Glen I photographed an interesting, till then unknown to me, plant growing on shale till beneath the gorge wall. Motivated by curiosity I identified it as Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), a wild orchid.

Using this information, I found the plant growing in our yard as a persecuted weed, observed closely a specimen surviving in a neglected nook and discovered the tiny face of an orchid flower.

2020, on my request, germinating plants with the same leaf form were spared weeding, even allowed to grow among the roses were the specimen of today’s photographs thrived.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

I captured this and all following (posts) photographs of this orchid in late afternoon light, after the sun was behind the hemlock hedge to the west, mounting on a portable tripod made the shot possible in this light.

This specimen benefited from the ample fertilizer applied to the surrounding roses. Compare with the specimen photographed in Fillmore Glen, in post header. I needed to fit into a tight space, so the smaller tripod was used. The lens is a 50 mm, f-stop 5.6. I could open up the diaphragm to 1.2, though the additional blur would not improve the background very much (over f 5.6) at a cost of much of the plant out of focus. Each orchid is smaller than a “pinky” fingernail.

..to be continued.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Mouse Collection

Happy Mother’s Day

Here is a project completed for a “Fundamentals of Photography” refresher course. The task is to use a variety of lenses of my choice to document scene from my surroundings. These photographs document a family heirloom, mouse figurines collected by my wife, Pam’s, mother, Patricia Crist, assembled by Pam into two display cases with assorted figures created by Pam’s daughter, Denna.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Pam’s Begonia Basket

small, unloved, on clearance

Once a year when Pam’s gardens are at a summer peak I venture out to capture her work in early morning light. For this image I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 50mm f 1.2L USM. This is the fifth post of this series. Click me for the first series post, “Begonia Grandis” from my photography gallery.

Click photograph for a larger view.

Pam’s gorgeous Begonia Grandis hanging baskets had a humble beginning. Not quite born in a log cabin, our local Aldi was the beginning where Pam saw sad little $3.00 potted begonia’s, on clearance, that needed a home. Cherished through the late frosts of May, carefully watered, placed in the perfect light, it was no accident these are so……perfect.

One strange fact, I have not witnessed a single honey bee harvesting these blooms.

I used three Canon lenses in the course of these five posts. This lens is a portrait lens. I used a large format image for this post, enjoy!!

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Another Woody Peony

A handy length of black velvet

By way of personal inventory, our home has two types of woody peonies in different hues. Last posting I gave you red, au natural. Today, you get yellow in a studio setting, back-dropped by black velvet. There is a story behind that long sheet of fabric. Back in the day, a nephew of mine named Chris and I used to hang out together in the Catskills and Adirondacks. Later, I offered to photograph James, his first born. In preparation, I purchased this six foot length of fabric. It served well for that job and, since then, has done double duty as a wintertime cage cover for the parakeet.

This week, I told Pam our yellow wooden peony was in bloom. A largish bush of full leaves that tend to cover the drooping blooms, Pam harvested six blooms to created an arrangement. These “babies” look great against the black velvet.

Yesterday I used the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USB lens and a tripod to capture the following two portraits of Pam’s Yellow Wooden Peony arrangement. In deference to the unanimous reader choice for crisp flower petals the following two versions differ in the crispness of the velvet backdrop.

My timing was fortuitous, last evening the petals started to drop. Pam reports 12 more blossoms are hidden in the bush, so we’ll have at least one more bouquet to enjoy.

Click either photograph for a larger version.
f 5.0 Black Velvet Backdrop
f 7.1 Black Velvet Backdrop
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Birthday Card

capturing a personality

Last year, you read about our grandson’s 6th birthday celebration in “Volcano Cake.”

 A year has passed and we were amused at the changes and what did not. He makes his own clothing choices and the shark shirt reappeared, surprisingly it still fits. GMa combed his hair and he refashioned it, messy and spikey is the look as in these photographs of opening the furry birthday card (“The Grinch” was the cake theme).

I used a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens, tilted the flash to bounce off the ceiling to gently brighten his face. For the memories we left the kitchen “as is” in the midst of cake baking, decoration.

View a larger version of each photograph by clicking twice. First to open a page, a second click on the image will yield the larger version.

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills