Wild Orchids

I was very happy to receive a tip off the other day of a meadow, alongside the River Wye in Monmouthshire, with a fantastic display of wild orchids. This is a very special and delicate habitat, so I am not going to give directions to it – sorry, it will be up to you to research.

Anyway, not only was the field carpeted with a variety of common orchids, I got to see and photograph a wild Bee Orchid for the first time.

This rather striking little flower has evolved a very cunning means of attracting pollinators. It cons male bees into trying to mate with it, and dollops pollen onto the back of their heads when they do. This specimen was in superb condition still with fresh pollen on the stamen.

Fortunately, having been tipped off, I was prepared and I had taken a set of extension tubes and a focussing rail along with me. I shot this with a Canon EOS M6 and 22mm lens with 12mm extension. This allowed me to get close, but still encompass enough of the setting to give context. I also used a small white reflector to edge light the flower and buds to create some separation from the background.

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