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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Orchid Cactus

orchidcactus.jpg

Creative Digital Winner

Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards

ORCHID CACTUS

Hilo, Hawai‘i, USA

by Donald Brown

Hilo, Hawai‘i, USA

“A friend who owns this night-blooming orchid cactus, whose fragrant blossoms last only one night, called and told me that a bud was enlarging and it would bloom that very evening. I brought the plant home and set up an impromptu mini-studio in my living room, using a black velvet backdrop. The photo shoot was conventional: metering was center-weighted TTL at f/11 and the flash exposure compensation was bracketed. I made multiple slide images over an eight-hour period.  

“I selected four slides and digitally scanned them with a Nikon Super Coolscan 4000ED. Using Adobe® Photoshop® Quick Mask mode, I layered each image of the flower onto a black canvas, positioning them in an overlaying cascade. When I was finished with the layout, I flattened the image and saved it as a TIFF file.”

Nikon F100; 105mm macro lens; shutter speed unrecorded at f/11; Fujichrome Velvia 50; SB 20 strobe (off-camera); Photoflex mini soft box; Photoflex reflector; Gitzo tripod with StudioBall head.

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