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Thread: Cactus flower short life

  1. #1
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Cactus flower short life

    This is the second chance I have had in the past couple of years to shoot the rare event of a cactus we have flowering. This time I used the 50mm, manual exp at 1/250th f11, ISO 200 handheld with SB600 flash in TTL mode on camera with diffuser.

    As this event only happens at night over a couple of hours I had little choice but to go for the flower isolated with the black background. The series shows from just before opening to about 3/4 open but the rain decided to come and that was it for the night.

    All the shots I took included the entire flower but it was a difficult decision in determining if I should include the whole flower or cropped sections in the images. Not sure if the ants are a bonus but the other half advised not to use insect spray on it to try and remove them The scent from it is amazing.

    Any observations or coments are of course welcome.
    Cactus flower short life
    Cactus flower short life
    Cactus flower short life
    Cactus flower short life

  2. #2

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    Re: Cactus flower short life

    Does the flower repeatedly open each night or just this one time?

    The second one is just marvelous, though I understand why you would want the others for documentary purposes. Though your other half gave you good advice regarding the insect spray, you could easily digitally remove the ants.

  3. #3
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: Cactus flower short life

    Grahame,
    these were well worth the effort. A well executed and composed set of pictures.
    Well done.
    *If you want my opinion, I would leave the ants as they are; I sort of think they add to the interest of the picture.

  4. #4
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Cactus flower short life

    I am in love with the first 2 shots. I really like the black background so your lack of choices works for me. They are beautifully composed and well executed.

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Cactus flower short life

    I like the last one best, the mystery of what's inside.

    I get used to seeing blooms with stamen poking straight out, that these have apparently rested along the bottom, then turned upwards is interesting to me.

    If it only blooms for such a short period, what does the pollenation - perhaps the ants?

    I think they should stay.

    Nice shots Grahame, well done,

  6. #6
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Cactus flower short life

    Mike, John and Terri, Thank you for your comments.

    Mike, the flower only opens once and by the next morning is fully closed and wilting. Really makes you wonder about the purpose behind the design and short life of such a sweet smelling and beautiful flower. For info the flower is approx 6 inch diameter open.

    I am not generally a flower photographer and struggle to decide if I wish to produce a documentary or an artistic record.

    John, for a documentary record I wlll leave the ants but perhaps if I was going to print them for 'art' I would remove them.

    Terri, I find it interesting that you say you love the first two (I far prefer the second two). Whilst I like the subject and the fact that you can see the entire flower I find the amount of 'black' background that has to be included to achieve this is too overpowering for it to be used for printing for wall art.

    Grahame

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    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Cactus flower short life

    Dave,

    I have undertaken some investigation on the cactus type and as far as I can see it's a Dutchman's Pipe Cactus, Night blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum). The only info on pollination seems that it's done by bats or moths. Whilst we have many bats around at night they are very large so I'll go with moths or ants !

    Cheers, Grahame

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