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Tasmanian Orchids – Sun Orchid

Tasmania has a wonderful array of native orchids and last month I joined an Eco Tours Tasmania trip to search for and photograph many species in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area. I have a great many images to share, and I am starting with some sun orchids, which are known collectively as “Thelymitra”.

Thelymitra aristata (great sun-orchid)

The sun orchids were just starting to appear in late October in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Reserve. Thelymitra aristata (great sun-orchid).

Thelymitra aristata (great sun-orchid)

This shot was taken with a much shallower depth of field, and an umbrella raised to shield the flower from direct sunlight.

Thelymitra flexuosa Tasmanian Sun Orchid

Thelymitra flexuosa – twisted sun orchid

Thelymitra aggericola - bleak sun orchid

Thelymitra aggericola, the Bleak Sun Orchid

Thelymitra aggericola

Thelymitra aggericola – close up

Thelymitra rubra (pink sun-orchid)

A very nice looking specimen of Thelymitra rubra (pink sun-orchid), near the Nelson Bay River

Thelymitra rubra (pink sun-orchid)

Thelymitra rubra (pink sun-orchid) – close up

Sun Orchid in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Reserve

Another one 🙂

Photographing the orchids was an interesting challenge and resulted in some camera settings I normally only use for auroras! As the orchids are only supported by very slender stalks, they are very susceptible to bobbing around  a lot in even the slightest breeze. Hence I found myself using ISO’s in the thousands with a wide open aperture despite the bright middle of the day light.

I also found myself wanting to fire off multiple shots of the same composition, just to make sure I caught a sharp image without subject motion blur. Generally speaking I subscribe to a “compose more/shoot less” philosophy when it comes to my photography, but given the subject matter this time I was firing off a lot more shots than usual. I must say the fungi of autumn, given they dont move at all – is an easier subject to shoot – although the orchids were just as enjoyable and fascinating.

Finding them of course is probably the toughest part – just like the fungi!

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Luke O'Brien

About Luke

Luke O'Brien runs a stall at Hobart's popular Salamanca Market every Saturday where his prints and cards are available for purchase. Follow Luke's photographic adventures on Twitter at @lukeobrienphoto, at his Facebook page or by subscribing to his email newsletter.