Monday, April 20, 2009

Paradise Regained

A Feast Of Colours And Angles

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


This series of shots was taken last week, while I was in Sydney with my family. Travelling interstate is always an interesting experience for anyone with the slightest interest in horticulture, because some plant varieties thrive as you travel further north.


These are called the bird of paradise but the correct botanical term is Strelitzia reginae, while they are known as the crane flower in South Africa, where they originated.

Although it is several weeks since they disappeared in Melbourne, they are still very showy in New South Wales. We were walking through a mall to get to a bakery when I noticed this clump, with their vivid colours.


After we had picked up some hot cross buns and other wonderful products from the bakery, I told the Authorblog clan to walk on to the car and that I would catch up with them. They didn’t even need to ask what had caught my attention.

Several other shoppers must surely have wondered about my sanity as I poked my head into the towering foliage. You see, these blooms can grow to two metres or more, depending on soil conditions, sunlight and drainage.


While the dominant colour is orange, you can sometimes find specimens where the mauve segments, lower down on the flower, are still redolent of the sort of vivid colour you’d expect in a neon sign.

I think I was just lucky to catch these plants at the right time. If you look closely at the second shot in this sequence, you’ll notice a couple of droplets of thick orange sap trickling down the side, which suggests that they were about to start decaying as winter begins to draw closer.


Visit Luiz Santilli Jr for the home of Today's Flowers.

62 comments:

C. Michael Cox said...

What a great subject for photography - wonderful colors.

*SparkleMirror* Kiln-Fired Art Studio said...

Beautiful

Woman in a Window said...

That mauve is irresistible, as are your photos.

Sink said...

The orange colors are stunning. Thank you. And reading your text reminds me that my little world of blooming daffodils and spring coming is so small and so fleeting. I love the cycles of seasons and am grateful for the reminder that winter just isn't right around the corner, but also around this increasingly smaller world.

ellen abbott said...

Great pics. I love the close-ups.

My daughter has a large variety in her front yard. The flowers, blooming now, are mostly white with black and blue accents.

Denise said...

I remember first seeing a Bird of Paradise only a few years ago. I was bedazzled by it's beauty. Your photos show this beautiful flower to perfection, they are exquisite. I have sent a friend your blog site address as it is also his favorite flower. Thank you so much for sharing them in Today's Flowers.

Sylvia K said...

What exquisite shots! The colors are so rich and so beautiful!

mountain.mama said...

Birds of paradise are some of my most favorite flowers. It's too cold here for them to grow, so I have some wooden ones in my flower pot. Your pictures are wonderful and makes me want to touch them.

Kirti said...

still waiting for flowers to bloom around here :(
nice to see exotic flora (if only in pictures...)

AirmanMom said...

exquisite shots of an exquisite flower!
~AM

ANNA-LYS said...

Beautiful shots
it ache n' hurts

Maggie May said...

These are beautiful plants, with a lovely flower. My cousin, who lives in the Canary Isles, has sent me pictures of these, but they are bright red.

I would love to see you at work..... rummaging in the plants, but I expect people know you are a professional by ypur manner!
I, on the other hand, do sometimes get some funny looks when I rummage about. However yesterday I was snapping some seaside scenes, when some people came over & asked me several things about local issues as though I was an authority! As this is the second time that has happened, I assume I am looking more as though I know what I am doing! Ha ha!

nanny said...

These are some of the most beautiful pictures of Bird of Paradise I have ever seen. I struggle with my Canon Rebel, it has so many features that I usually leave it on auto.....
I love your blog and read it often.

Rinkly Rimes said...

You have a very keen eye. And, of course, you noticed how much more exotic we are in NSW!!!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Birds of Paradise are some of my favorites...had them in our back courtyard when I was growing up...and of course, your camera makes a stunning piece of art from these!!!! Absolutely beautiful! You are my all-time favorite photographer!!!!! David, I'm not sure where to make comment about this...but wanted to ask if you have been to Sunday's post for Christopher's photos?...he's got some really nice shots up...you might enjoy... http://crleth.blogspot.com

Kendris said...

Beautiful colors and I love the perspectives that you tried!

introspection said...

Always beautiful colours and pictures. Never a dull photo. Great orange color.

subtorp77 said...

Incredible snaps, David. And the colours( Mom would love these )!

lime said...

just gorgeous!

Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

Gorgeous photos - I love how you captured the intensity of color and intriguing design, especially in the first.

Thank you for your comment! I guess you are a bit of a hop, skip and a jump away from Art & Soul...

Lola said...

Stunning images, David. They're called "Uccelli del Paradiso" in Italy too. I love their meaty, complex structure, the lush softness juxtaposed with the pointy spikes.
You captured the colors and the texture beautifully. I loved the 1st vertical shot the best.

I wished to thank you for leaving your lovely comments on my blog, and wanted to reassure you, I won't disappear, I'll just post less often than now.

Ciao

Jientje said...

Yeah, the good looking guy in the diving suit!! I must say I was honoured by your visit and even more by your comment. But it says so in your header, doesn't it? You like to encourage people? Well, ... you did!
I'm a door geek myself, I loved your collection! And the shots of the flowers are gorgeous. I used to use them in flower arrangements.

Jo said...

These photographs are exquisite. Bird of Paradise is one of my favorite flowers, and when I was i Los Angeles, I was surprised to see them growing beside the sidewalks. I have a watercolor painting of a Bird of Paradise, done by a local artist.

RuneE said...

This flower is one of the most beautiful I know., and you have has usual caught it as it should be.

PS I have one as the desktop on my laptop, but that one I found in a garden in Spain.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

These pictures are absolutely stunning. How do you get so close to the subject without blurring it. I really have a lot to learn but would be really grateful of someone telling me that one! I've been trying to photograph close ups with the macro of clover leafs and other wild plants but I'm just not getting there.

CJ xx

Ilan said...

Excellent photos. Really nicely done
Thank you for sharing, great photoblog :)

hillybillyfarmgirl said...

Stunning! Simply beautiful colors!

Arija said...

David, these are stunning! Hope you still got some of those buns after poking about in the bush.

♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

Absolutely gorgeous, and with God's name written all over them.

Just beautiful. Perfect.

Was going to post two lovely Irises in my flower bed, but now, I'm not so sure....

TheWritersPorch said...

They are just awesome David! Thanks for sharing!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Ah -- Paradise! Beautiful!

Carletta said...

...and a truly remarkable feast for the eyes!
A gorgeous series of images!
You always find just the right angles to shoot. :)

My post is here: Carletta’s Captures.

VALKYRIEN said...

Gorgeous flower that one! We call it Parrot flower - or Paradis flower in Norway. It costs a fortune. But then - you only need one!

Beautiful closeups! And enjoyable reading!

Sherry said...

These flowers are breathtaking! Love your photos, that first shot is just gorgeous. Such deep color!

DrowseyMonkey said...

My goodness, you're an amazing photographer! Just stunning.

Louise said...

I've only seen these a few times in my life and only photographed once. All those angles didn't even occur to me. The lines close-up are fantastic.

katherine. said...

we have some blooming here too...but not as tall. The spears are kinda sharp...hope you were careful...smile...

Patty said...

Glorious colors! You captured the essence of the flower.

The first photo blew me away!

Nessa said...

Amazing shots.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Those are great shots of one of my favorite flowers.

willow said...

Gorgeous. And a hot cross bun sounds pretty good right now, too!

Paz said...

Definitely a feast of colors and angles. Excellent photos.

Paz

amanda said...

The closeup in # 1 and the crop in # 3 are exquisite wonderful "bird"

Ananda girl said...

I have never seen any of these in person, only in other photographs. Generally they are arranged in a nice vase... but no close up detail. Next to in "person", this is close. Thank you! Fabulous!

Tash said...

Poetry in flowers! Splendid.
Congratulations on Feb. Blog-of-Note! Well deserved.

Lori ann said...

Really gorgeous photos. I love the bird of paradise. Winter?, it's always surprising to me when we are heading into summer...

SandyCarlson said...

David,
I haven't been around for the past week or so because I've been on vacation. I have missed your photos, insight, and witty verse. What a great set of images to return to!

Shadow said...

they are absolutely amazing!

Regina said...

Beautiful as usual. so vibrant.

Annie said...

ah, yes, the strelitzia...one of my favorites...they always flower for Easter...

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

David, I adore your flower shots! They always make me feel so happy :-)

Judy said...

I second the motion that these are superb shots of a beautiful flower! And I am simply amazed that they grow them in malls!! As if they were ordinary flowers! Here in Canada, they appear occassionally in the florist shops, and are always behind glass!

Tulip said...

we have that flowers also in the philippines but i don't know what flower is that. great captured.

Daryl said...

Makes such a lovely photo and yet when I see them in arrangements, bouquets, I dont like them at all .. I know, I am weird

Mojo said...

Just magnificent! "Feast" is the perfect word for it.

Oscar said...

I win Florida and saaw many of those flowers! They are neat!

Hilary said...

What gorgeous flowers. I always associate purple and orange with the colours of autumn. Beautiful photos!

Jennifer H said...

I love these flowers (and hearing "crane flower," I have to say that name does suit them, too).

PRH....... said...

Outstanding!

Esther Garvi said...

Wow, those were AMAZINGLY beautiful! I'd love to have them in my livingroom!

Susie of Arabia said...

The Birds of Paradise are so lovely - you've got some beautiful shots there, Dave...

Janie said...

These are gorgeous flowers. Perfect photos, too, to capture the resemblance to birds.