Behind The Shot: “Mystic Flower” by Christian Kneidinger – Linz, Austria

Close-up photograph of the moth orchid with a center that looks like a bird head and face

Mystic Flower by Christian Kneidinger

I visited the local botanical garden in Linz, Austria, last February. At this time there was an orchid exhibition. My plan was to get some nice pictures of orchids. The main focus of this visit was to capture flower structures and abstract colors in details. Therefore my main lens was the Canon EF 100 macro. Because this was my first visit in this greenhouse I put a lot of my photo equipment stuff into my photo-bag. 

First I found flower details that I had expected, but nothing exciting. About 1 hour later I went to another orchid, a light-yellow orchid with pink lines. On a first look this orchid did not look very special. Then I arranged my tripod as close as possible to the flower and looked through the finder. I realized that the center of this flower looks amazing. Unfortunately the first captures were very flat because there was no sunlight, only shadows. Then I took my video LED light with brightness control. To get a better view I connected my tablet to my camera and I used a remote control viewing application. So I had a very well-detailed preview and saw immediately the effect of the LED light. I put the light on different positions and a lower background position with half the brightness was the best choice for me.

Finally I tried several aperture values with different effects. The final picture was taken at f/16. This was the best for me and to get a 3D dimensional look and to bring the mystical “bird” into the foreground. I was very proud to find this; it was very unexpected. I showed this picture to several visitors and also to the gardener, nobody had seen something similar. 
During post-editing I only added just a little more contrast, everything else was done by nature. Last summer this picture was published in several British newsletters and in the German-magazine ‘View’. – Christian Kneidinger

photograph of the moth orchid with a center that looks like a bird head and face

Moth Orchid (full flower perspective) by Christian Kneidinger

This image is available as a print by emailing Kneidinger here. See more of his work at his website, www.c-k-images.com. Follow him on 500px or Facebook.

Equipment and settings: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, Dörr Ultra LED 126 light (aka CowboyStudio LED CN-126 light), Sirui N-2204X 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod – 1/5th @ f/16 – ISO 160

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