- In the Field
How to Photograph an Orchid
These fascinating plants are worlds unto themselves.
There are over 25,000 wild species of orchids on six continents around the globe, not counting thousands more hybrids cultivated by horticulturalists. Orchids come in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, and in almost every color except true black. They live in soil, atop rocks, or on trees, gleaning nutrients from the moist air.
Orchids are also masters of manipulation, using the full arsenal of their anatomy—color, textures, and smells—to trick insects into spreading their pollen. Their diversity—and adaptability—are what enthrall photographer Christian Ziegler. "Every place I have been, there have been orchids," he says, from the woods of southern Germany where he first discovered them on nature hikes as a boy, to the rainforests of Panama where he now lives.