Every year at this time, the Missouri Botanical Gardens puts together what is said to be the best Orchid Show in the United States. For the past 5 years, I have had the privilege and honor of photographing this show right before it opens. The minute you walk thru the exhibit doors, you are immediately transported to what looks like a rain forest. The scents of the Orchids make you forget it is winter outside. This year, like every other year I was amazed by the beauty everywhere I looked in this exhibit. Exhibit designer, Pat Scace and her team of artists really outdid themselves this year. The Orchids were beautiful, and the whole scene was surreal, complete with what looked like the entrance to some lost ancient temple. This piece, by the way, was hand carved by one the design team.
As a photographer, shooting this exhibit is an exciting and daunting task.
Each type of Orchid is so perfectly displayed, that you can get one great shot, move two feet to the left or right and find another perfect shot. Oh, and during the course of this Shows run, they rotate the Orchids on display. So you can capture beautiful images on day one of the show and then come back a week later for a whole different show.
For this shoot, I used a Canon 5DMKIV for natural Color and a Canon EOS-R converted to Hyper Color and then added a Super Color Filter. The lenses were a 24-105L, a 70-300L and of course a Lensbaby lens, the Velvet 56.
Because there was so much to capture I went thru initially 3 times, one for each type of image, then wandered to see if there was anything I missed. I arrived mid-morning and there was plenty of natural light throughout the exhibit. The light was good that I never had to push my ISO above 400. I shot everything between f4 and f6.3. It’s not a big surprise, but the images I liked best were made with the Lensbaby Velvet 56.
In total, I was there for about 2 hours and shot nearly 1k in images. Everything was shot bracketed, 7 exposures, a 1/4 stop each way. In post-production, I ran the RAW files thru my RAW editor, Canons Digital Photo Professional to set the final White Balance and then convert the files. Then processing was completed using Photoshop CC and new NIk Collection.
If you are anywhere near to St Louis, MO, this show is definitely worth the visit.
The Missouri Botanical Gardens Orchid Show is on now thru March 24 and you find information about it here.
If you would like to see the entire series I shot, you can find those images here.