Monday, June 7, 2010

What a weekend for Lady Slippers

I've had the good fortune to find Lady Slippers twice in the wild. Once was last year and the other a few years ago. On both of those occasions the Lady Slippers were obviously past their prime. Last weekend I could not have timed it better. Both locations where I'd seen Lady Slippers before had fresh new blooms. In fact both locations had flowers that hadn't completed opening yet.

The yellow Lady Slippers were taken on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation. It was a chilly foggy damp day with an ever so slight breeze slowly moving the flowers. The late afternoon light made photographing these flowers an exercise in patience as we waited for the flowers to stop moving prior to making the image. With wide open apertures and shallow depth of field we were able to get a reasonable 1/125th of a second or so. Stopping down though quickly elongated the shutter speed to 1/20th.

Sunday, on my way home, I stopped at Cascade River State Park and checked out a place along the trail where I had seen Lady Slippers a few years ago. Sure enough there were a couple of clumps of these beautiful pinkish-red flowers. The morning was overcast but mostly dry with just a little dew on the vegetation. Again there was a slight breeze but the light was more intense than the evening before so achieving a moderate amount of depth of field was possible. In fact I was able to stop down to f/22 with my 100mm macro lens. I photographed these flower for about an hour before the sun came out.

No doubt when I return to the North Shore in 2 weeks these flowers will totally different. I feel quite fortunate to have witnessed these gems so close to their initial bloom.


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