green winged orchids
I am very pleased to have been awarded Highly Commended for two of my images in the International Garden Photographer of the Year, in the same category – Fragile Landscapes.
The first, below, was taken at Marden meadow, in Kent. It is one of Kent’s best remaining examples of unimproved hay-meadow where each May it is covered with thousands of green-winged orchids and adders tongue fern. I have visited this site many times over the years largely concentrating on small groups and individual orchids. However, I was never really satisfied as I felt that something more could be achieved in such a wonderful setting. So, for 3 consecutive mornings I rose at 3am and drove the 20 mile trip to the meadow. Each morning, there was a thick mist which slowly dissipated as the sun rose and burnt through it. All the while, a cuckoo would punctuate the silence.
It was shot using a Nikon D2x, 12-24mm at 42mm, iso 100, 1/8 sec. f16, 0.9 ND grad, Manfrotto 190 tripod, mirror lock-up. Processed in LR3 and CS4.
And the second was taken on the North Kent Marshes, last May. I had noticed this isolated group on a dreary day a few days previous and so returned when the conditions were more favourable. The yellow, or flag, iris is not a common flower on the marshes so where is does occur, it really stands out from the surrounding green marsh plants.
I shot this image using a Nikon D2x, 12-24mm at 18mm, iso 400 (a higher than normal iso was selcted due to a nagging breeze), 1/5 sec f16, 0.9 ND grad, Manfrotto 055 tripod, mirror lock-up. Processed in LR3 and CS4.
To see the winning and other commended entries, please click here.
A not at all common species that has been in decline throughout its range of central and southern England due to extensive farming practises and ploughing. Fortunately, this particular site is managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust, thereby ‘hopefully’ safeguarding its future for many years to come.
I desperately wanted to return, to see if I could come up with new images but most of all, to soak up the atmosphere of an ancient hay meadow in spring, at dawn. Once again, the cuckoo didn’t disappoint.
Its name, derives from the Anglo-Saxon words, daeyes and eayes, meaning day’s eye. Its other names include the dog daisy or Marguerite after the French princess who adopted it as her official emblem. It is a herbal remedy for stomach upsets, whooping cough and asthma.
Here’s another from that same morning. When conditions are that good and the sun’s rising so rapidly, I invariably find myself frantically searching for more, stronger images.
A very early start was rewarded with the most beautiful conditions in which to photograph green-winged orchids at Marden Meadow. I arrived at dawn to the sound of my first and sadly up to now, only cuckoo and for the next 2 hours shot a number of compositions. By 7 o clock the sun was too high and so I made my way home while others made their way to work. More will appear here shortly.
About Robert Canis
Robert Canis is a professional photographer specialising in the natural world.
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