When Someone Looks at an Orchid…

Spring is upon us and it’s a great time for the flower-lover to get out and about.

The numbers

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.”

Teaming up

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.

Manea Park entrance. Photo by Rob Cox

Manea Park entrance. Photo by Rob Cox

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.

Be stable

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.

Sam with chest tripod

Sam with chest tripod

Rob then attached Sam’s camera to a tripod and he had his first experience with this most useful of photographic aids.

Sam using tripod. Photo by Rob Cox

Sam using tripod. Photo by Rob Cox

Rob also demonstrated one of his own techniques: a sort of upper-body self hug that works wonders for keeping the camera steady.

Be patient

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.

Cowslip orchids. Photo by Sam Everitt

Cowslip orchids. Photo by Sam Everitt

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.

Other diversions

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.

Sam and Rob

Sam and Rob

This is Sam and Wanda as captured by Rob.

Sam and Wanda. Photo by Rob Cox

Sam and Wanda. Photo by Rob Cox

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.”

50 thoughts on “When Someone Looks at an Orchid…

  1. helenseiver

    What a fabulous day this must have been! The orchids are stunning as are the photos. Congratulations Sam and Rob and Wanda. And to think this is in Bunbury’s back yard! I wonder how many people take advantage of it.
    Congratulations once again!!!

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks Helen! It was a totally amazing afternoon. And Sam achieved some great results with two images now in frames and exhibition bound thanks to Rob’s encouragement and support.

      Reply
  2. Dianne Chaytor

    Must have been so much fun for Rob, Sam and Wanda to seek out natures hidden wonders and secrets. The native orchids have always been my favourites and we have so many of them yet unseen by most Australians. Thank you for sharing the results of this wonderful expedition and great photos Sam.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks so much Dianne for checking out the post. It was indeed great fun. A real treat to take the time to look closely at these natural beauties. And, as a result, Sam has a couple of images bound for exhibitions in Perth and Cervantes.

      Reply
  3. Sam Everitt

    This was a great day, I really enjoyed the experience of finding all these different Orchids with the help of Rob and Wanda

    Reply
  4. Jill

    Manea Park is a wonderful place to spend time with a camera. As usual. I love Sam’s attention to detail in these photos, especially the Spider Orchids. It is great that he continues to learn from people such as Rob. Thank you so much for sharing the photos and story.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      How lovely to hear from you Jill! Delighted that you enjoyed the post. You’ll be pleased to know that one of the images that Sam captured on the day is heading up to the As We Are Art Award and Exhibition in Perth opening on October 4!

      Reply
  5. Leighton Jay

    Beautiful photos and great, simple photography tips too. Glad to hear the time was enjoyable as well as rewarding and educational. I’m enjoying your development as a photographer Sam – thanks for sharing the journey with us.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Hello Leighton. Great as always to hear from you and to get your feedback. It’s always appreciated. One of the works Sam captured on the day has been printed and framed (thanks to Rob) and will be shipped to the As We Are Art Award and Exhibition opening in the Central Park Building Foyer on St. Georges Terrace on Sunday, October 4. Maybe see you there. Thanks, as always, for staying in touch.

      Reply
  6. Life Images by Jill

    I love hunting for wildflower orchids, and Manea Park is a great place to go this time of year, and so conveniently located for people in Bunbury. Well done Sam on your orchid photos. They can be tricky to get focused in low light. I hadn’t seen a tripod that you can mount on your chest. It looks like a great idea.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Wonderful to hear from you Jill. It’s great that you’ve been a part of Sam’s photographic journey, and are able to stay in touch with his adventures via our blog. Thanks for checking out the post and contributing!

      Reply
  7. Johanna

    I love these tiny springtime orchids so thank you for the wonderful tips about where to find them and how to photograph them. Loved the ‘brace’ advice. What a fun and interesting time you all had at Manea Park 🙂 Congratulations to you all for making good things happen.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks so much Johanna, as always, for stopping by the blog. We thought you’d appreciate this post given the number of gorgeous floral images you have been posting on your social media accounts. Until next month…

      Reply
  8. ingridrick

    Thank you for this lovely post on the glorious wild flower orchids and excellent photos Sam and Rob. Certainly patience and photography go hand in hand to be rewarded with spectacular photographs. Your post is most inspiring for people to get out there and enjoy the delightful Manea Park right in our very back yard … how fortunate we are.

    Reply
  9. Louis Ariano

    What a beautiful story on orchids which enriches the spirit. When I see such photos, I feel the promise of Spring and wonder of nature. Congratulations to Sam, Rob and Wanda!

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks so much Louis. Perhaps when it’s spring in the northern hemisphere, you’ll have to get out and look for orchids and let us know what you find. It would be great to compare notes. Thanks for staying in touch.

      Reply
  10. Jenny

    Fantastic photo’s, showing so much beauty and hidden treasure in our own city! Certainly very lucky to have this in Bunbury. Keep up the great work and it looked like an awesome day.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Nice to hear from you Jenny. Yes, Manea Park is truly a lovely spot and a great resource for the people of the City of Bunbury. Thanks for stopping by and staying in touch. Happy day!

      Reply
  11. Rob Cox

    Sam’s enthusiasm for photography – and flowers – is contagious! It was a lovely afternoon to be out and about, and great to be involved with Wanda and Art Partners in supporting Sam on his journey. Good luck in the As We Are Exhibition and the Cervantes Show Sam. Looking forward to future collaborations 🙂

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks Rob for your encouragement and support which has enabled us to achieve tangible outcomes: not only this beautiful blog post, but Sam’s framed images which will be packaged up today for shipment to Perth and Cervantes. Looking forward to the next collaboration!

      Reply
  12. Billie June Griffiths

    Hey Sam, looks like you guys had a great day. Seeing you all out and about in nature with smiling faces and the little orchid faces too got me inspired to take a look outside at the spring flowers. I went for a little wander down the track near my place and there is lots of colour popping up everywhere. All your photos are such a pleasure to look at. Please keep on exploring and showing us what you find. And guess what – my son is buying a camera for me, so now I will have one too. Yay!
    Billie

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Sam will be thrilled to hear from you Billie. Thanks for stopping by and checking out the post. We’re delighted that we have inspired you to get out and about. And, when you get your camera in hand, you’ll have to join us for the next adventure! How wonderful would that be?

      Reply
  13. Verity

    Looks like you had a great day out! Great photos of the photographers too 🙂 I love the different techniques you tried to capture the best shot of the orchids. We’re so lucky to have such biodiversity on our door step.

    Reply
  14. Lindy Loo

    Fabulous photos and prime examples of beauty in our ‘backyard.’ Nature never ceases to be amazing. Congratulations to the orchid trio. A huge thank you to whoever the people where who had the foresight to keep this piece of land from being developed.

    Reply
  15. Louise

    Wow these orchid photos are so beautiful. I had no idea there was such a great place to see them in Bunbury. The photos really highlight the diversity of types and each ones individual beauty

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks so much Louise for checking out the post. Manea Park is really a terrific spot. If you’re keen, I saw advertised on the City of Bunbury Facebook page a Manea Park Wildflower Walk on September 26. Hope you get there soonest and we can compare notes!

      Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Hello Linda. How lovely to hear from someone on the other side of the world! Yes, it was a wonderful exercise in seeking and finding! Thanks for checking out the post.

      Reply
  16. Irene in Canada

    What a lovely blog post and sweet photos to accompany it all. So pleasant to discover this park and its hidden treasures, to accompany the orchid seekers on your quest and to learn helpful hints on photography. Wishing you great success as the photographs travel to venues for broader display. Very best to Art Partners initiatives – always – Irene

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Lovely to hear from you ‘Irene in Canada.’ Yes, the park is a beauty, and two of Sam’s orchids have now been safely delivered to exhibition organisers in Perth. Once again, thanks for checking in, and stay warm until your spring flowers are once again in bloom.

      Reply
  17. Isabell

    What beautiful photos, they have really captured the beauty of the orchids. How lucky we are to have such amazing natural wonders on our doorstep. Thanks Rob, Sam and Wanda for bringing this beauty into my day.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks Jo for popping by. Yes, it’s a great concept that orchids have faces. And, when you look at the Donkey Orchid, it’s just so obvious. Thanks as always for your encouragement and support.

      Reply
  18. kathymarris

    Orchids are such beautiful flowers and your photos have portrayed them in their natural environment wonderfully. Also these photography tips will come in very handy.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Hello there Kathy! Glad you enjoyed seeing the orchids. Rob and Sam have done a great job of capturing the beauties and their natural environment. Thanks for visiting.

      Reply
  19. budgettraveltalk

    Loved the leaping spider orchid – it’s name as much as it’s beautiful self. Liked the tips on different ways to keep the camera steady too.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Greetings budgettraveltalk! Delighted to hear that you enjoyed the post. That’s another thing about seeking out beautiful flowers: it’s free! And, yes, the Leaping Spider Orchid is a stunner. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  20. Art Partners Post author

    Thanks Jill for asking about the As We Are Art Award and Exhibition. It went really well as Sam sold his ‘Spring Delight’ which is a cropped version of the donkey orchid feature image (the one at the very top of this blog post). Thanks for your interest.

    Reply

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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