Native Orchids of Western Australia

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Right off the front foot of our trip, Mike and I made a wager (honestly, though it’s very rare we are not in some form of a competition).  It was: Whomever could spot the most orchids would owe the other person $100.00.  Mike then stipulated that he would need a 10 point lead to keep things fair as he thought I might be difficult competition (and that he’d be hard pressed to get me out of the bush before he found his).  I accepted the challenge.

We couldn’t double up – and tracked our progress daily (Reminding each other constantly of how much the other needed to catch up – and shouting with extreme enthusiasm when one did find a new orchid).  Who would have thought this could be such a thrilling activity?

Mike was well and truly ahead of me by day three as he had stayed at the front of the orchid walk and counted every new species as one of his own (we saw 14 during 1.5 hours at Mount Trio on our second day).

The end score was: Mike – 22 species  &  Holly – 16 species

He beat me by a mile.  In the end it made our hiking and wandering very interesting and pushed us to take the time to find more plants.

What helped us was a book called “A Guide to Native Orchids of South Western Australia – Second Edition” by Bob Liddelow.  Mr. Liddelow details the GPS coordinates as well as shows small maps of prime locations to find orchids.  It was with his help that we were able to find large concentrations of orchids throughout the many regions that we came across, in fact we planned our travels around these locations.

Orchids flower here from July – October so there is a large period of time you’re bound to spot something.  We were both very happy with the information that Mr. Liddelow shared, his gifting of this sometimes confidential information has helped us both stoop down low and really look for the treasures that the forest floor might otherwise be hiding from us.

Here are a few of the orchids we found during the trip:

  1. Purple Pansy Orchid
  2. Sugar Orchid
  3. Purple Enamel Orchid
  4. Sugar Orchid
  5. Lemon Scented Sun Orchid
  6. Hare Orchid
  7. Little Laughing Leek Orchid
  8. Greenhood Orchid
  9. Jug Orchid
  10. Red Beaks
  11. Silky Blue Orchid
  12. Crab Lipped Spider Orchid
  13. Dancing Spider Orchid
  14. Little Pink Fairy Orchid
  15. Cowslip Orchid
  16. Common Dragon Orchid (this one attracts a male wasp with pheromones to pollinate it)
  17. Zebra Orchid
  18. Dwarf Spider Orchid
  19. Fringed Mantis Orchid

Just a note if you’re curious about the camera set up I’ve used for these images.  They are all shot with the Canon 5D Mark III and a 100mm 2.8 Macro lens. (All of the images on this blog from Sept 2014 onward are taken with this gear.  No special lighting or flash were used, simply harnessed the natural light available at the time.

Do you shoot macro?  I’m curious to learn more about the different techniques… do you have a favourite subject that you like to photograph?

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