Recent work | Hopeful yellow flowers


From recent travels to California, these vivid yellow pincushion protea flowers stood in bright contrast to their dark green foliage. Spotted while on a waterfront walk in Monterey, with blustery spring showers and fast-moving clouds overhead, these fresh blooms were a welcome colourful reminder that spring is just around the corner.

Elegant yellow Protea flowers stand out against dark green foliage on a rainy spring day.

Protea flowers symbolize hope and transformation, and these golden arching forms of the stamen catch the light beautifully on a dark, moody day. Find this image and more fine art botanical, floral compositions in my “Flowers & Plants” archive gallery.

In full bloom, Paphiopedilum maudiae

While familiar in form to most of us, orchid flowers retain a sense of the profoundly exotic, especially those blooms of the Paphiopedilum variety.

These distinctive orchids have been collected from their forest floor and canopy habitats of Southeast Asia, and are now widely cultivated and hybridized. I have never managed to keep a Paphiopedilum maudiae orchid happy among my small houseplant and orchid collections, but I have been lucky to see many of these dramatic flowers at orchid shows and greenhouses.

This pair of fuzzy pink and chartruese lady slipper orchids are some of my favourites, with both stripes and spots in varying shades and petals bristling with tiny hairs; striking and delicate all at once.

I have collected many photos of orchid flowers over the years, and have gathered the most stunning specimens into a gallery of Orchidaceae images available as fine art prints. I have not had a chance to identify most the the specific orchid varieties, and if you are an orchid aficionado who is good at plant identification, I have a print-discount code for you in exchange for a few good taxa tips – leave a comment on this post if you’re interested!

  

 

Delphinium Rain

Summer gardens here in Saskatchewan are abundant with flowers, and these pale blue and lavender delphinium blooms are from a volunteer plant in the one flower bed I have managed to tend this past year. It is a surprise every spring, as having not planted it, I easily forget that such a lovely plant is hiding, dormant between the chives and tulip bulbs all winter.

This particular stem of soft petals was broken by a heavy summer downpour during an afternoon thunderstorm. I looked out the kitchen window and saw it drooping heavily, and after the lightning subsided, went outside to see if it could be salvaged. The stalk was torn nearly through, and the flowers were drenched in rain. I cut the spike free, gently shook most of the water off, and put the two foot tall tower of pastel blooms in a vase.

The clearing storm provided soft, diffused light and seeing how some tiny waterdrops still clung to the flower petals, I ran inside for my camera. This was a wonderful opportunity to use my macro extension tubes, and the exercise of shooting manually, leaning in and out ever so slightly to perfect the plane of focus, was an enjoyable reminder of the photographic techniques I learned when shooting film decades ago.

A selection of these lovely summer flowers have been added to my fine art prints gallery titled Bloom and the entire collection of rain-soaked delphinium blossoms can be found in the APK Photography archive gallery Flowers & Plants.

Rare Iris Series

Of all the flowers I collected and grew in my coastal California garden, this dark, mysterious iris was an all-time favorite. The colors of the petals were so rich, so unusual, when I found the plant for sale at a native plant nursery, I knew I had to have it.

For several seasons it bloomed happily in the shaded patch of bulbs and lilies near my front door, and on a softly overcast day I knelt in the rich soil to capture these photos of my rare iris. To this day, I have not been able to pin down an exact name (identifications welcome!) and my best guess, based on provenance, is some variety of Pacific Coast Iris, possibly ‘New Blood’. Regardless, I will forever be hoping to find this variety again, as these maroon deep purple shades are rare in the flowering world, and made even more striking by the flames of golden orange and yellow in the center.

Native iris, detail

These three images are now available as fine art prints, and can be found in my Botanical Prints collection – custom sizing and styles are always available, please use the Contact form to reach me and we will work together to bring these dramatic, stunning iris flowers to life once more!

Paeonia, peony, perfection

Is there any flower more beautiful than the peony, bursting with elegant, ruffled petals? Each bloom is at once refined and tousled, often softly fragrant, and so quick to fade as the heat of summer overtakes the blushing warmth of late spring. I’ll just let these macro and abstract peony photos speak for themselves…

Pink peony macro (2)
Pink peony macro #1

All of these dreamy peony close-up photos are available as prints, and if you’d like a custom size or print style, please use the Contact form to reach me, I’d be thrilled to help bring these incredible flowers to life for you!

Scarlet poppy flower and raindrops, macro

Everyone knows the copper, orange-gold of California poppies, particularly as they form drifts of color across the hillsides of a Western summer landscape. This poppy is of a slightly different variety, a shade of deep scarlet red that I’ve not seen in the wild. It was a prolific garden bloomer however, scattering seeds every season and thriving in the sandy soil of my coastal backyard.

Scarlet poppy, waterdrops
A scarlet red California poppy seems to glow, as it drips with raindrops

I saw this particular bloom after a light rain shower, as the sun came out from behind the clouds, and I couldn’t resist capturing the vibrant color and jewel-like water droplets in full macro detail.

This image has been a favourite for custom print orders, and I am releasing it as a Limited Edition of 30, sized 8×12 and printed on fine art paper with luminous colours and beautiful detail. Find this stunning flower art print and more like it at apkphotoprints.com

Lithops, Flowering Stone

Of all plants, succulents are among the most varied and unusual to have found a place in my garden. They offer a range of colors, textures, shapes and sizes that make for particularly interesting macro photography.

Lithops plants are native to South Africa, and resemble the pebbles and rocky landscape in which they evolved. They seem to be forgiving houseplants, and bloomed often in the mild coastal climate of Monterey, California.

These two macro images are a Lithops plant at different stages of blooming. The leaves look like pale green rocks, and the flower emerges as a tightly held bud, with hints of the vibrantly colored petals about to unfold as the flower opens.

Lithops flower macro
Macro of a tiny succulent flower, bursting with little orange petals

Macro of succulent lithops flower
Macro of blooming Lithops flower petals

Both of these images have been added to my Open Edition Square Prints gallery, and to find more unique botanical images and photographs of succulents, please visit the archives at apkphotography.com.

 

Masdevallia Orchid Pair

Many years ago, in the milder climate of coastal California, I fell in love with orchids. It started innocently enough with the gift of a Phalaenopsis or two, and after finding them relatively easy to care for I began to explore the wider world of Orchidaceae. Along the California coast there are many orchid growers, and I discovered greenhouses open to the public in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, where orchids of every variety and color could be seen and photographed.

Two masdevallia flowers
Close-up of a pair of pink and yellow masdevallia orchid flowers, their exotic shapes brightly colorful against the greenery of an orchid exposition

My orchid collection grew, and I learned that some varieties were very forgiving when I’d forget to water them or would fertilize them irregularly despite the recommendations and warnings of other enthusiasts. I even attended a few Orchid Expositions, to see the most exotic and amazing flowers, and it was at one of these events that I spotted the orchids in this photograph. Masdevallia have always been a bit beyond my orchid-keeping abilities, as they are particularly sensitive to humidity and my home can’t be maintained as a greenhouse climate, but I fell in love with their unusual shape and bright colors and captured this photograph to enjoy instead.

I have added this image as a new release, to a collection of square prints sized and priced for the casual art collector. These charming, colorful flowers are available to brighten any room, in sizes that start at $30 USD, with gallery canvas wrap and standout mounting options available – with the added bonus that an art print is much easier to care for than these sometimes finicky orchid varieties.

I will periodically be adding new images to my Open Edition Square Series print collection in the months to come, so please check back for announcements or subscribe to this blog for updates.

To purchase ‘Masdevallia Pair’ please visit apkphotography.com

Happiness is a butterfly…

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

More butterflies, flowers, and quiet moments here…

Still Life: Tulips in Blue Vase

Fresh and delicate signs of spring, captured in the tradition of still life imagery. Fading flowers in a second-hand blue vase, shot in the diffuse light of my kitchen window, these soft white and pink spring tulips become an elegant reminder to pause and enjoy the simpler moments in our busy lives.

Orchidaceae, oh my!

, originally uploaded by A.p.K.

With an estimated 20,000+ individual flowering species, the Orchid family of plants is considered one of the most diverse and highly evolved forms of life with roots, leaves and flowers.

Orchids exist in every habitat except glaciers, and new species are still being discovered. My encounters with orchids typically take place in greenhouses or at orchid collector expos, and on occasion, in my own home.

Most people understand orchids to be terribly finicky and temperamental houseplants, and for many varieties a haphazard windowsill lifestyle certainly won’t work. I have learned though, through extensive trial and error that there are dozens of orchids that are quite happy to live by a bright window and receive intermittent water and attention, and the reward is always remarkable. With colourful flowers that range wildly in shape and size, just one orchid plant in bloom can transform a room.

I’ve accumulated hundreds of photos of orchids over the years, collected on my website, available for stock licensing and prints. I hope to have the time to research more specific identification for some of the more unusual specimens. In the meantime, feel free to explore the remarkable variety of these exotic flowers!

Ravishing ranunculus

Ravishing ranunculus, originally uploaded by A.p.K.

The colours that emerge in nature are sometimes so startlingly brilliant, it can be impossible to look away. These floral beauties grow in my garden, and the blended shades of fuchsia, scarlet, orange and gold rival even the most technicolor sunset skies.

One of many such stunning blooms available for licensing and as fine art floral prints.