IN THE FIELD: Wilderness Treasures

During our last trip to Idaho and Montana, we spent some time exploring the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. While photographing the region was our primary focus, we did manage to sneak in some hiking and fly fishing.

One of our side trips was a visit to Selway Falls, which is southwest of the Lolo pass. From the trailhead, it was a relatively easy hike to several good vantage points to view the falls. It was rocky, but downhill the whole way.

After getting some shots of the falls, we decided to take a short break before we headed back up the trail. As beautiful as the falls were, I was actually more fascinated by what we discovered as we relaxed under the shade of the evergreen trees.

Behind the old log we were sitting on were several dozen Fairy Slipper orchids (Calypso bulbosa). These orchids are not rare, but they can be hard to find. They thrive in the moist environments of evergreen forests. We were amazed to see such tiny delicate flowers among the towering fir trees.

After photographing the orchids, we decided it was time to head back to the car. Hiking to the falls was the easy part. Making it back to the trailhead was all together different. The trailhead was only 3/4th’s of a mile away…except it was severe uphill trek and the day had become blistering hot. I don’t know how long our steep schlep back to the car lasted, but it seemed like three lifetimes.

I shot this with my 50mm 1.8 lens, used a tripod and cable release. Underexposing about 1/3rd of a stop helped to make the color richer.

  1. June 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Ah hah! I knew it was an orchid 🙂 Not something I would think you’d find in that part of the country. Cool!

    • June 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Same here, I guess they can handle the winters better than we think. I still can’t believe how tiny they were. Just about the size in the photo!

  2. June 25, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Beautiful, David! What an awesome find! I can see the morning dew (or maybe rain) dripping on the flower.

    • June 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Thanks Gracie, they were so tiny and growing out of the moss. And that was morning dew on the flower…the temperature under the trees was nice and cool so dew didn’t evaporate by the time we got there.

  3. June 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Absolutely beautiful shot 🙂

    • June 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Thanks you Mybeautiful…it was such a peaceful scene under the trees!!!

      • June 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        I’ve just had another look at that beautiful photo and noticed something – what is that fine, very delicate five leaved plant bottom left? It’s remarkable. 🙂

      • June 26, 2012 at 8:35 am

        Ya know…I have no idea what that plant is, but it sure is neat looking! I don’t remember if it is part of the orchid.

  4. tedgriffith
    June 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Gorgeous shot, David!

    • June 26, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Thank you Ted, they looked so pretty nestled among the moss and twigs.

  5. photographybyjoylene
    June 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Beautiful image!

    • June 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

      Thanks Joylene, It sure was a pretty spot to rest!

  6. June 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    beautiful shot, David, I saw these in Jasper but got nowhere near as nice a photo. Congrats on such a good capture!

    • June 26, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Thanks Jane, they sure are pretty little things!

  7. June 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    WOW! This is great shot… Thank you dear David, fascinated me. Love, nia

    • June 26, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Thank you Nia, they are so small and delicate growing in the forest understory.

  8. June 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    It’s always so exciting to find an orchid and this one is beautiful and mysterious. Pretty shot.

    • June 26, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Thanks Meanderer, It was pretty exciting to find them hiding in the undergrowth of the forrest.

  9. June 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Great find and great capture David!

    • June 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

      Thank you Vickie, It was a nice discovery!

  10. June 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    What a great find! It’s such a cute little orchid. I like the rich colors.

    • June 26, 2012 at 9:40 am

      It sure was fun to find them. We didn’t see any others on the hike to and from the waterfall!

  11. Jo Woolf
    June 26, 2012 at 2:51 am

    What an exquisite flower, and a really beautiful image. Your efforts were definitely worth it!

    • June 26, 2012 at 9:45 am

      They are beauties! We looked around for more but we only found this little grouping. I suppose they found the perfect conditions to grow!

  12. June 26, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Absolutely beautiful, so fresh and crips! Such rich and deep colours!

    • June 26, 2012 at 9:47 am

      They were such dainty little flowers yet so colorful against the moss and pine needles. I wish they grew around here!

  13. June 27, 2012 at 12:08 am

    They are beautiful little flowers! For some reason this has turned out to be a very good year for them here. Even this late, I’ve seen some still in bloom on the sides of the cooler canyons.

    • June 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Aww man you are so fortunate, we don’t have anything like them around here. At least I’ve never seen them. My new quest!!!

  14. June 27, 2012 at 8:01 am

    ¡Preciosa toma! es una belleza llena de dulzura, abrazos

  15. June 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Thank yo so much, they sure are pretty peeking out of the forrest floor!

  16. June 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    This is a stunning capture, and words can’t express what a delight it was to open your post and see this beautiful creation. Nature has so many surprises in store for us, some of which we may never see, but that doesn’t stop nature continuing to create.

  17. June 28, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Gee Kate, thanks so much for the kind words. Yes, this wonderful world we call home never fails to astound me. If there are other worlds out there somewhere, I wonder if they have such a diversity…

  18. June 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Beautiful! What a great find!

  19. June 29, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Yes they are sweet little flowers that spring up out of the clutter on the forest floor.

  20. June 29, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    AWESOME Capture.. This is fantastic and I really love the deep purple color captured in this photograph.. I am pretty amazed that you were able to capture this using the 50 1.8. I have always had issues focusing with my version at really small distances. Great job!

  21. June 30, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Thanks MD, I must admit I am happy the way this one turned out. Luckily is was calm when I took this because it was pretty dark in the shade of the forest.

  22. July 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Wow! Beautiful shot!! What a lovely example of one of nature’s gems!

    • July 4, 2012 at 8:55 am

      Thanks Tara, nature sure is amazing!

  23. July 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    gorgeous colors David. the underexposure here seems just about right to me !

    • July 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Thanks Abu, thank goodness for the tripod…by the time we made it back to the top of the trail it was really heavy…but worth it!

  24. July 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    love how it stands out against the moss-like hue as a background. great shot!

  25. July 9, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Thanks Nitzus, it was pretty dark, lush and cool under the trees so it made a nice stop to rest from the heat of the day.

  26. October 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Belle Prise en Effet , en Regard du Vivant ,
    Son Teint Rafraîchissant , ne Laisse rien Filtrer ,
    Si ce n’est la Rosée , Une Larme des Quatre Vents ,
    Tombant Naturellement , A Pic en Randonnée 😉

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