Spring is upon us and it’s a great time for the flower-lover to get out and about.
If we consider orchids alone, there are 26,000 species! And, according to a 2014 article on the Australian Geographic website entitled Orchids: The coy seduction: “In Australia, about 1,400 of them thrive in wet habitats around the margins of the landmass, with the biggest diversity in the south-west and south-east.”
Lucky for us, we’re in the ‘south-west,’ so we dispatched flower-lover and photographer Sam Everitt, photographer and mentor Rob Cox from oxy images, and expedition organiser Wanda Ariano to seek out and capture the beauty of the orchid. Here are their top tips illustrated with photos from everyone on the excursion.
But first, special thanks to Robyn Harris for the compressed orchid identification course. And, if the team has misidentified anything, they’d be delighted to hear from you in the comments section.
Where to go?
If you’re in Bunbury, make your way to Manea Park and you won’t be disappointed. This is the best time of year to spot the elusive beauties. According to a City of Bunbury Community Conservation Network factsheet, over 30 species have been identified in this park alone. Turn onto Somerville Drive, and head straight for the first roundabout. Informal parking is available at the trailhead.
Don’t be shy to ask
There was a host of orchid-lovers in Manea Park at the same time as our intrepid Art Partners trio. Wanting to spot a Spider orchid but unsure of where to look, the team was fortunate in meeting Julie Clarke from Friends of Manea Park. Julie took a few minutes to point out the very shy Leaping Spider orchid.
Finding a way to stabilize your camera will go a long way to ensuring you get a focused shot. Rob encouraged Sam to try a small tripod that sits on the chest of the photographer to provide camera stability.
Rob then attached Sam’s camera to a tripod and he had his first experience with this most useful of photographic aids.
Rob also demonstrated one of his own techniques: a sort of upper-body self hug that works wonders for keeping the camera steady.
Towards the end of the shoot, the Cowslip orchid was proving to be particularly elusive. Vague directions from other orchid enthusiasts weren’t landing the trio this final prize. The group was about to turn back when Rob spotted two yellow Cowslips just off the trail and hiding behind a small pile of dead wood. So, be patient and chances are you will be rewarded.
Orchids mix it with other flowers
These photos by Sam make it clear that the orchids of Manea Park cohabitate beautifully with a range of other flowers.
Beauties by Rob Cox
Here’s a mosaic of stunning photos by Rob.
Benches along the way ensure there is a chance to rest and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Manea Park. If you’re in need of a photographic diversion, taking portraits of each other is always a great way to unwind by focusing on a completely different subject.
Here’s Sam and Rob relaxing at the end of the shoot.
This is Sam and Wanda as captured by Rob.
Faces and Orchids
As it turns out, there’s a relationship between faces and orchids: In a 2013 article 5 Surprising Facts about Orchids published on the Live Science website, author Miriam Kramer is interviewing orchid expert Tom Mirenda. She writes that “orchids have a symmetry similar to human faces.” She goes on to explain that “an orchid has a bilateral symmetry – like a human face – so if a line is drawn vertically down the middle of a flower, the two halves are mirror images of each other.”
Mirenda then offers this concluding observation: “When someone looks at an orchid, it looks back at you.”