Orchids and Rain

A day of wind, rain, clouds, and orchids!

A busy day at work on Saturday, so Friday had been planned for some time as a day of orchid or butterfly hunting.  Late May/early June in the southern Oxfordshire area is generally good for both since there are a range of sites with rare Orchis species as a well as butterflies.  Monitoring of the weather both last night and this morning meant that, if anything at all, this was to be an orchid day.  Max day temperatures of 9° C, winds of over 20 mph, and heavy rain from midday onwards!!  Not looking too good.

However I set off for the south of Oxfordshire first thing, making sure that my raincoat and Optech Rainsleeve were both packed.  Both were definitely needed…

If the weather had been warm and sunny, I would have had a good chance of catching up with Green Hairstreaks today, but on arrival at my first site the weather was very cloudy and rain was threatening.  Neither of these is too bad for photographing flowers – clouds provide natural diffusion of sunlight – , but the gusty wind wasn’t.  The orchid season is still at least a week behind last year I think, and Monkey Orchids are rather weedy so far this year.  Lots of purpurea x simia hybrids, but only two heads of Orchis purpurea aka Lady Orchid.

Managed a few shots of these with the new camera, using the DX crop to good effect for the close-up shots.

Also met another Orchids enthusiast on his way down to Kent for a week’s holiday and orchid hunting; he suggested I make a trip on into Buckinghamshire further down the road for Military Orchid (Orchis militaris), which was apparently also now in flower (just about!).  So I managed to find these, which I’ve never gone for before, along with some little greeny-yellow Twayblades (Neottia ovate).  Didn’t find any Fly Orchids, but I didn’t have enough detailed site info to find them.

Anyway, all in all quite a good day out despite the awful weather.  Too much wind meant that the shots aren’t perhaps as sharp and detailed as they might be, since the wind and low light levels made for marginal results.  The Military Orchid stack is quite pleasing, since getting any stacks in that weather took some doing.  Would normally have shot this with about 10 frames at f/11, but the gusts had me cutting my losses and shortening the stack with 5 frames at f/22, DX crop again.  Will probably go back to find more, and hunt the Fly Orchids once I have some better info.



Orchis purpurea

with hybrids in foreground and background

Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

ISO 500 1/400 f/4.2



Orchis simia

Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

Gold reflector

ISO 100 1/50 f/4.8

Weather: overcast and grim!

Shot wide open but could have gone for a tad more depth of field.


Orchis purpurea x simia

Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

ISO 500 1/40 f/14



Orchis militaris


Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

DX mode

Stack of 5 frames

ISO 320 1/8 f/22



Neottia ovata

Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

ISO 320 1/60 f/20


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