Photo Walk: the Illowa Orchid Society Orchid Show

flowers, photography

The local chapter of the Orchid Society had their annual show yesterday so I grabbed my camera and took some time to practice my photography and ogle the pretty flowers. 

The orchids did not disappoint. The breadth and depth of variety among orchids is astounding – from tiny, delicate flowers the size of your fingernail to bold blooms as big as your hand, in colors ranging form subtle to outrageous and in multiple forms, some of which border on the alien, they were all beautiful and amazing. 

They were also a good challenge for photography practice – they stay still, but the blooms often seemingly float in space making it difficult to get good backgrounds that don’t distract. Lighting was also an issue as there was both a lot of natural light (the show was held in one of the greenhouses of a local garden center) and artificial light. I used both my usual lens (Nikkor 18-140mm) and my Nikkor 50mm. I love the 50mm for the clarity of the images and the way it handles light, but it’s a fixed lens so my range is more limited (and I love taking detail shots). The 18-140mm is heavier and I still struggle with the correct lighting and white balance (something I’m working on) but I love it’s range and versatility. What to do, what to do. Also, I changed lenses a couple of times and while it went smoothly enough, it takes time and, for me at least, a secure place to set a lens down while I make the switch. Not a problem this time, but how do the pros handle this? I suppose they use several camera bodies, each with a different lens and large camera bags and maybe an assistant to haul the stuff around (camera equipment is heavy!)

At any rate, it was an interesting challenge and good practice. Plus the orchids were gorgeous, so win-win!

Yes, that price tag says $55 (there were vendors at the show as well) which is a big reason why I didn’t come home with any orchids. And these were the retail plants that were for sale – I shudder to think how much the show orchids cost!


This white beauty won Best in Show. The picture doesn’t do it justice – the flower spike was huge and was covered with at least 20 absolutely perfect blooms, perfectly spaced. I did wonder how they transported it to the show without damaging it!  


4 thoughts on “Photo Walk: the Illowa Orchid Society Orchid Show”

  1. Sheila says:

    Beautiful! You really did a wonderful job of photographing these lovelies!


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