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24th June 2012, 06:46 PM
Queen of the Night (Peniocereus gregii)
This Sonoran native cactus looks like a small, dead stick for most of the time, but for one night each year, it blooms. The bloom is synchronized, so nearly all the plants in a particular area bloom on the same night. Good luck figuring out which night that's going to be, because no one knows how the synchronization works. Fortunately, I had a real, honest-to-goodness expert who sent me an email about 4:00pm Saturday afternoon... "The bloom is tonight!". Not a lot of advance notice, but it's the best anyone can do, so I grabbed my camera and set out to capture the Queen in all her short-lived glory.
I planned to "light-paint" the exposures with a flashlight, so I could eliminate shadows without lugging around a lot of lighting gear. I spent half the night stomping around in the desert, and found plenty of great blooms, but unfortunately, I didn't find any wind sheltered blooms. Just too much wind for any sort of long exposure. I finally gave up without taking a single shot, but I stopped a a greenhouse on the way home (surprized they were still open). Amazingly enough, they did have one Queen in the greenhouse that was in bloom, and they didn't mind photos, so I got my Queen shots this year, after all.
C&C invited and appreciated, as always.
#1 I really needed some fill light in these shots to eliminate the pistil shadows, but I didn't anticipate the need for any, since I was expecting to light-paint. Oh well, there's always next year, lol.
Last edited by Snarkbyte; 24th June 2012 at 07:33 PM.
24th June 2012, 07:25 PM
Re: Queen of the Night (Peniocereus gregii)
Really impressive shots and interesting story about the capture. As most of my photography involves capturing plants in their native environment, I can appreciate the effort it goes into the shot. Thanks for sharing.