“Je vous ai apporté des bonbons
Parce que les fleurs c'est périssable
Puis les bonbons c'est tellement bon
Bien que les fleurs soient plus présentables
. . . “

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“I brought you candies
Because flowers are perishable
And candies are so good
Even if flowers are more presentable
. . .”

Jacques Brel in 1964 thought more about the feelings of St Valentine (with a twist) and less about the eye. I will propose more for the eye than for the stomach…

The Assiniboine Park Conservatory just finished an exhibit of tropical flowers and plants. This was an occasion not to miss.

I have to admit that I am not worth a penny as to knowledge in flowers and plants. I’m able to recognize the banana plant, when the bananas are still on it, but that is mostly the extent of it. On the other hand, I learn. Orchids can have lots of strange forms; the stranger the forms of the flowers, the more chance I have that they are orchids.

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In the wild you would find them here and there in the tropics. In the Assiniboine Park Conservatory they are all together for us to enjoy.

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Inside, the temperature is kept high enough to leave your jacket or winter coat on a bench. I simply walked around in shirt sleeves. Wonderful temperature!

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As you can see in different pictures, this exhibition is a “setup”. Here and there the plants have “help” from some metal, just to keep them in place. Winking smile

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The Conservatory houses more than 8000 flowers and plants non native to Manitoba, but they grow wonderfully in the Palm House and Display Garden. The Display Garden is where the orchids in this post are on exhibit.

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Taking pictures of these wonderful flowers is a bit trickier than I thought in the beginning. After all, flowers are flowers, they don’t move, so it’s easy to take their picture. Even more, they don’t need a model agreement so I can use the pictures whenever and wherever I want.

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Apart from the inexistent paperwork, these orchids present a few different problems. All of them have such vibrant colors and contrast that even with the covered sky, blown out highlights were frequent.

In some cases I even stopped using the available light and used my SB600 to light the flowers. At least I had some control over it. I guess this kind of pictures needs the full manual setting on the camera.

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Usually, I pump up the Vibrancy slider a bit in Lightroom to give a little extra punch to the colors, here I had to push it down as to keep the colours in check. Mostly all colours were out of reach of my monitor. In other words the gamut was too large.

Can you find the spider?

Pictures in this post have no legend, simply because they are all flowers and of none of them I can even imagine the real name. Better to stay quiet about this. Angel

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All pictures have been shot using a tripod. This was the first time in the Conservatory with my tripod, a Manfrotto 7302. It’s amazing how a ball head makes positioning your camera easy.

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Also, the tripod made it easy to keep the camera perfectly still, many of the pictures have shutter speeds of longer than a second. The absence of wind here is definitely a plus.

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So here we are, at the point of shooting inside to get some much needed colours in life. Well, I can think of worse places to be than the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. They allow for photographers, as long as you are not a professional and are not shooting groups. The equipment you use is up to you.

Welcome to the Assiniboine Park Conservatory.