Pink Lady Slippers

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We live about 15 minutes from an entry to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Right off the access road is an area where Pink Lady slippers bloom every spring. I have been going up there every May for the past 5 years to photograph them. They are located right near a popular trail and I watch many hikers walk by without even noticing them. I also meet people who make a pilgrimage every spring to visit them. Unfortunately, disclosing the location of wild orchids is not a good idea. People illegally dig them up to have in their own yard or to sell. Pink Lady slippers are tricky to transplant and will not survive unless you know what you are doing. Several plants have disappeared in the past few years, but others seem to be forming bigger clumps. Usually they are in singles or doubles, but this year, I found a group of five.

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Orchids can be tricky to photograph. The dead leaves that they grow in are not an attractive background and can be distracting. My favorite time to photograph them is near the end of the day when the sun is at a low angle and the light is golden. This last photo was taken in what I consider to be ideal light.

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