Usually I turn left as I leave the entrance buildings, walk past the orchid garden to get to the lily pond as the sun is just reaching out to give a morning kiss to the opening blossoms. My routine is to turn into the orchid garden at the end of my trip after having a ginger limeade and scone at the Fogg Cafe.
I changed my routine last week, deciding to take a look at the orchids first – instead of waiting until I’m tired and ready to go home. On the short walk along the outside of the garden this orchid stopped me in my tracks. I was captivated by the beauty of the flowers demurely hanging from the stalk, the drops of water.
I have taken hundreds of photos of the orchids over the years but I haven’t been happy with most of the images once I download them to my computer. Maybe it is because I usually take them when I am tired and my senses are dulled. Maybe it is because of how the flowers grow or their environment. The orchid garden is full of foliage and flowers.
Many of the images I bring home are deleted because the background is too bright or too busy. But yesterday I was reading a book on photography, thinking of the orchid images I have been processing, and the WordPress Daily Prompt of “captivating.” I think orchids require a difference type of connection with me and my camera.
I have worked hard to record the anatomy of the orchids – to make an accurate image. This isn’t easy because I want the subject to be sharp, the edges clean – but orchids have fleshy parts that result in soft edges. They look out of focus. But even more important is the fact that many orchids seem to have a personality that doesn’t want to be recorded in a factual way.
I don’t think I have been listening close enough. That first orchid, the one that spun me in my tracks, taught me that it was too special for my standard way of trying to capture an orchid. It taught me that I need to think about what makes orchids so captivating. I need to allow myself to be pulled in by the orchid so the image I make will hopefully captivate the people who view my photographs.