Flora: Serapias

Today's Flora contribution is not about a particular species of flower, but an entire genus: Serapias or tongue orchids. At least 15 species of Serapias are distinguished, which are all characterised by a long, tongue-like lip and a "head" or "helmed" that is formed by two petals and a sepal. The overall structure and aspect of these beautiful flowers is so unique and recognisable that it may be justified treating them together. In addition, and to my shame (I am a biologist after all), I may have misidentified some of the species. If you are a Serapias specialist and have something to comment or correct, please let me know! To my defence, there is even a scientific reason why some Serapias individuals may be difficult to identify correctly: The colour of the flowers is often quite variable, there a closely resembling subspecies, and different species easily hybridise and thus create intermediate forms.

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Serapias lingua (?)

Species in the genus Serapias are native to Europe and most frequent around the Mediterranean; all the way from Spain to Greece, and Turkey. Apparently, these orchids are named after the god Serapis, which was promoted as a deity to unify the Greek and Egyptians in the reign of Ptolemy I  of Egypt (in the 3rd century BC; it is not obvious to me how this may be related to these orchids).

Although some Serapias species may grow tall and be easily spotted, many species are tiny and hidden within the grass and undergrowth (especially S. parviflora). Often we have been standing next to a couple of tiny pinkish Serapias flowers without noticing them at once. Luckily, with time we have become better at spotting them. To me, these orchids signify holidays in sunny and warm mediterranean climate. I have only ever seen Serapias species during spring vacations, at the end of April and beginning of May, in Corsica, the Provence and Côte Azur. All the photographs shown here were created this spring somewhere between Aix-en-Provence and Cannes.



Serapias vomeracea (?)


Serapias vomeracea (?)



Serapias neglecta (?)


Serapias neglecta (?)


Serapias parviflora (?)


Serapias lingua (?)


Serapias lingua (?)


Serapias lingua (?)

2015/06/24 by Florian Freimoser
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Watercolors 13: Lake Thun from above

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I have neglected the watercolors theme (all themes actually) for some time (more than half a year!). Nevertheless, I still and again feel inspired by the "water theme" and here is thus a new composition that is very different from the ones already shown in this gallery. Instead of having been created from close by the water's surface, this photograph was captured from a hiking path high above the lake - Lake Thun in the Bernese Alps. It is also not showing strangely shaped distortions, reflections and colors, but just the light and regular pattern of waves that were created by a passing by boat. 

2015/06/21 by Florian Freimoser
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May 2015 print: Gannet colony at Muriwai Beach

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The 2015 New Zealand print project continues with one of my favourite photographs from our trip. This composition was taken at one of the nicest stops on our journey - Muriwai Beach. After a couple of rainy days, we spent three sunny spring days at Muriwai, on a beautiful campground close to the beach, everything was friendly and quiet, and the landscape impressed with sweeping vistas across kilometers of sandy beach and the wild Tasman Sea. However, the main reason for our visit was the mainland gannet colony that is so easily accessible at Muriwai Beach. The paths in this beautiful park are well-organized and direct the birdwatchers, photographers and visitors to different viewing platforms that are just above the shrieking and stinking birds and the thunderous Tasman Sea.
The composition shown here is one that I imagined long before we even came to Muriwai (New Zealand even). I am quite satisfied with the result, even though chromatic aberration was a problem here as well - as in the last print example. Actually, this is the first time that I cheat a little bit with my monthly print: Although I have printed this photographs already several times, the result is still not satisfactory. There is an annoying line of black spots that appear across the entire print and that I still have not managed to get rid of, but I keep trying and cleaning the printer.

2015/06/08 by Florian Freimoser
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Flora: Wild tulip update

Last year, I have shown you three wild tulip compositions, which were all taken of the only specimen that I had ever seen. During this years's spring holiday in Southern France, we have repeatedly discovered populations of Tulipa sylvestris and I have taken a few more photographs - some of which I would like to share here. This "Flora" blog post is therefore just an addition to the first wild tulip blog post from last year.

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Wild tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis)

Wild tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis)

The three sepals and petals of Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis.

2015/05/25 by Florian Freimoser
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April 2015 print: Emerald lakes

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The April 2015 print, again a photograph from New Zealand, is much belated, but better late than never. This photograph is a good example to illustrate the value of printing. Not only did I struggle to get the highlights, shadows and colors right (to my linking), but I also discovered an annoying chromatic aberration along the mountain ridge. To my shame, I have not ben aware of this problem before; probably because I look more consciously at a print than at a photograph on the screen and because I am not a pixel peeper.
Before the final print, I prepare small test prints to get an overall impression and to look for major shortcomings and defects. After several rounds of adjustments I prepare a print in the final size (roughly 19 cm high, which fits on an A4 paper) and sometimes I have to return correcting and adjusting; such as in this case. Unfortunately, in this particular case the printing has actually lowered my appreciation of a photograph (and of the particular camera-lens combination).
In many ways - artistic ones - I do not rate this photograph very highly. It is "just" a nice landscape documentary. However, for us it is a souvenir, from our amazing hike in Tongariro National Park, that brings back precious memories, which is the main purpose of many photographs.

2015/05/24 by Florian Freimoser
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