For these past few weeks, I’ve made a larger round of travels from the Santa Fe River near Lake City to the area around Marianna near the Georgia and Alabama state borders. I covered much of this area from the border to the north to the Gulf of Mexico. I had a much better time as a photographer with non-orchid subjects – many of the photos will be saved for my next blog – you’ll see why.
rt one of this blog, and others I have already photographed hundreds of times and can be seen in my web galleries at www.FloridaNaturePhotography.com. This particular orchid is a hybrid between two northern ladies’-tresses orchids found in the fall, Spiranthes odorata and Spiranthes ovalis var. ovalis, and is known as Ichetucknee Hybrid Ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes X ichetuckneensis). It occurs sporadically all over the area where there is sufficient moisture in the topsoil year-round. I usually don’t pay much attention to hybrids, but there was a gap where the photos of the downy rattlesnake orchid that still eludes me should be!
Hunting orchids for me does not necessarily mean finding orchids. It is often looking for places where they might be, testing out my knowledge of the land – both with a good understanding of geology and biology, as well as natural history and a love for my home state. There is a wonder and beautiful feeling when a new orchid that I have never seen before is found through hard work, usually through very uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous conditions, and knowing that if I keep quiet about it, I can mark it on my GPS and visit it anytime I want and it will still be there.
Hunting orchids also means everything that orchid hunting is not. 90% of my photography sales come from all the things I photograph while hunting orchids. These are all the beautiful landscapes, birds, snakes, flowers, etc, I find while wading through swamps with snakes and alligators, climbing trees to get that good close-up a flower, or sliding down a ravine with no way of stopping with my gear spread out all over the hillside. Not only is it good fun most of the time, it is also a way for me to bring to you what Florida is really about.
My garden is Florida, to help protect, keep beautiful, and to do my part in keeping it as unspoiled as one photographer can do. There is a message in many of the state parks and wildlife areas that I see all over the state that says it best. – “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints”.
December 15, 2008
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