LOOSESCREW ORCHID © 1999Big Cypress Gallery
Every year when native orchids bloom in the pond behind the Big Cypress Gallery, I go out to explore. Often, I don’t start off knowing the specifics of the plants I photograph. The flowers’ innate beauty is what attracts me. As I fell in love with the intricacies of the Everglades, I learned more about the ecosystem and shared with others my newfound knowledge through my images. Over the years, I have come to know many biological details of the Everglades by traveling to the interior with naturalists, park rangers, and lifelong residents. This orchid’s name is the dingy-flowered star orchid (epidendrum amphistomum). Diversity Within the Swamp At first glance, the swamp can seem visually chaotic and confusing. However, if you slow down for a look, the treasure of biodiversity emerges. The feathery fronds of an indigenous sword fern are distinguished from the broad, arching, leathery leaves of a native orchid as both cling side-by-side to the tree bark that supports them. Diminutive pale-orange blossoms hang in small clusters from a bare stem of this native orchid, camouflaged to most. Groupings of longer, lance-shaped leaves of air plants are often mistaken for bird nests as they too are supported above the water by the trees. Loosescrew Orchid was taken with a Deardorff 8×10 camera on T-Max 100 film. This photograph is hand-printed in Clyde’s darkroom on fiber-based paper, selenium toned, then mounted and matted to current archival standards. The photograph is a limited edition and signed by Clyde. Camera settings: f/45 | 120mm Nikkor SW lens | 30 seconds Disclaimer – Cropping, contrast, and image density may vary. To learn more about the darkroom printing process, click here.