Small Mosquito Orchid Detail

Small Mosquito-orchid or Tiny Gnat Orchid (Acianthus pusillus)

We’ve been here for two Spring seasons now.  Each time, my friend BJ has told me we’re too late to see the Helmet Orchids.  She was able to identify some that had finished flowering, so I know they are here.  Yesterday I decided to get out my Orchid book and see when the Helmet Orchids begin flowering.  About now, is the answer, depending on the particular varietal.

So I set out with my camera and a small tripod in the hope of finding Helmet Orchids.  Almost the first tiny heart-shaped leaf I investigated had a tiny bloom, but they weren’t Helmet Orchids, they were the Small Mosquito-orchids, or as I believe they are now called, Tiny Gnat Orchids.   The more I looked, the more Tiny Gnat Orchids I found.  Sadly, I didn’t see a single Helmet Orchid, but I will keep looking for them.

Today as I type this, I have aching feet and knees from squatting so long to take photographs.  The orchids are so tiny and difficult to photograph that it is not a matter of just snapping once or twice.  I took about 60 photos and I think about five of them are good enough to show. It didn’t seem to matter whether I used the normal lens or the macro lens, the shape and size of the orchid meant that something was out of focus.

Here are three of the photos that demonstrate the initial bud, the full flower stem and an open flower.

To give you an idea of the size, the bud was on a stem about 1 cm high, and the full flower stem with multiple blooms was about 5 cm high.  These orchids are so tiny they make the Parsons Bands look large!

Small Mosquito Orchid bud
A tiny bud lifts its head. The entire plant was about 2 cm high if it was lucky.
Small Mosquito Orchid Flowers
Multiple blooms are on the flower stem, which was about 5 cm in height.
Small Mosquito Orchid Detail
Looking at the open flower, you can see the typical orchid flower structure.

24 thoughts on “Small Mosquito-orchid or Tiny Gnat Orchid (Acianthus pusillus)

  1. These photos are fantastic. No wonder you are achy today!
    I don’t know what kind of camera you have, but maybe you can set your aperture for greater depth of field (smaller aperture number) and it will hold the full field of the flower in focus.
    From 2007 – 2012 I wrote a photo-blog about a small pond in New England (in Massachusetts, U.S.) and, as your blog seems for you, it was a labor of love! Your work is not in vain! Those who happen by it immediately respond to the images you share and the content. I look forward to your posts now that I no longer live by the pond about which I wrote. And this post reminds me of the pain of a day of awkward posturing to get my shots!
    If you’re curious, my blog is http://www.SilverLining-MaryMcAvoy.com
    Thanks so much for the pleasure of your posts.
    Mary

    1. Thanks for taking the trouble to give me some advice Mary, I really appreciate it. I haven’t studied photography, so I have a lot to learn in relation to the technical aspects. My camera is a Cannon DSLR with Tamron lenses. The macro lens is a new addition and I am still working out how to use it. I’ll try putting the aperture on a smaller setting and let you know if I get better results.

      The Autumn and Winter fungi are just starting to come up, and of course they don’t have flat surfaces, so I will need tow work out how to get better depth of field using the Macro lens in order to capture the details of these.

      Thanks again for giving me something to work with next time I go out.

      I’ll also take a look at your blog and let you know when I have done so.

      Lisa

    2. Mary, THANK YOU so very much! I took your advice and went out again today, with much better results. Not only have I been able to photograph the Mosquito Orchid more clearly, but I have also been able to photograph moss, creanberry heath and a few other plants giving me trouble. Thank you again. You’ll see the results of my successes in the next couple of days. 🙂

      I’ve had a quick look at your blog, and your photos are beautiful. I will have a closer look tonight. I saw your photos of the turtles swimming. That is another one of my goals – we are supposed to have long necked turtles in our dam. The previous owner had photos of them on the bank of the dam. Richard saw one swimming, but it dived as soon as it spotted him. I haven’t even glimpsed one yet. Lisa

      1. Yay! I’m so excited for you!
        By the way, on my camera (Nikon D40) the LCD screen doesn’t really show the photo results accurately when I view them after I’ve set the aperture for a deeper depth of field. It’s not till I download the images and see them on my computer that I can see that all the elements I had hoped would be in focus are. Also, if you are at all math-minded (I’m not…!) you can calculate your settings based on your distance from the subject, etc. You can find resources to study how to do that. I never quite get what the formula is so I just wing-it!
        Also, not to overload you with too much at once, but if ever you wonder how photographers get those gorgeous sunbursts or starbursts (that star effect around an intense source of light – such as a water droplet with the sun shining through it, or sunlight through trees or a street lamp post, etc.), it’s by setting the aperture at about 20. That makes the aperture a tiny pinhole and the effect on strong sources of light is to create a starburst effect. Here’s a link to my photography site that shows an example of what I mean:
        http://theripestpics.com/2014/01/18/sunburst-through-birch-trees/
        It’s just a so-so sunburst. I think the center of the sun should be smaller and more evenly round. But as I was freezing as I worked on this shot, standing in the cold for about 45 minutes, following the sun, I was really quite happy with it! This technique is something you can also study if ever you want to give it a try. I’m sure there are resources online.
        Have fun! I can’t wait to see turtle photos! I hope you have luck finding them and photographing them.
        I enjoy all your posts – thanks.

    1. I’m lucky to have the time to do it at the moment too. In the past time has been a luxury. It’s only over the last eighteen months this passion has developed. Before that, I didn’t even know these orchids existed. This is largely due to the interest and passion of my friend BJ who has a far superior knowledge and passion for them than I do. I’m so happy she introduced me to these very special orchids. Lisa

      1. Its fun to see nature being enjoyed. My boys and I are reading a book called Laddie by Jean Stratton Porter. The main character is a little girl who knows all of the trees, flowers and animals in the area she lives in. It is very inspiring.

      2. Ah! Sounds like a great way to educate. This blog started out as me just wanting to know what grew here naturally, and which birds were frequently here. It grew from there. I don’t know the book, but is sounds like a great thing to read about with your boys. 🙂 Lisa

    1. Thank you! I’ve been following up on Mary’s tips, and in the process, I think I may have found a helmet orchid with a flower bud. At the moment I’m not too sure, but I will monitor it over the next few days and see if the bud opens. Then (hopefully) I will be able to photograph it clearly! Lisa

  2. Yay! I’m so excited for you!
    By the way, on my camera (Nikon D40) the LCD screen doesn’t really show the photo results accurately when I view them after I’ve set the aperture for a deeper depth of field. It’s not till I download the images and see them on my computer that I can see that all the elements I had hoped would be in focus are. Also, if you are at all math-minded (I’m not…!) you can calculate your settings based on your distance from the subject, etc. You can find resources to study how to do that. I never quite get what the formula is so I just wing-it!
    Also, not to overload you with too much at once, but if ever you wonder how photographers get those gorgeous sunbursts or starbursts (that star effect around an intense source of light – such as a water droplet with the sun shining through it, or sunlight through trees or a street lamp post, etc.), it’s by setting the aperture at about 20. That makes the aperture a tiny pinhole and the effect on strong sources of light is to create a starburst effect. Here’s a link to my photography site that shows an example of what I mean:
    http://theripestpics.com/2014/01/18/sunburst-through-birch-trees/
    It’s just a so-so sunburst. I think the center of the sun should be smaller and more evenly round. But as I was freezing as I worked on this shot, standing in the cold for about 45 minutes, following the sun, I was really quite happy with it! This technique is something you can also study if ever you want to give it a try. I’m sure there are resources online.
    Have fun! I can’t wait to see turtle photos! I hope you have luck finding them and photographing them.
    I enjoy all your posts – thanks.

  3. A delightful orchid and such intricate parts, like most. Welcome to the fascinating world of macro. It is a hugely rewarding photographic style and it takes quite a while to get comfortable with it but well worth perservering. Looking forward to the next shots and the moss 🙂

    1. Thank you! I’m hoping to get out with the camera again in the next day or so. The weather has been fine, and today it rained, so this usually triggers a growth spurt, and it greens up the moss. We’re also starting to get a lot of interesting fungi popping up here and there. I’m enjoying the Macro a little bit more now. A little good information goes a long way! 🙂 Lisa

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