Orchids are among the most widespread and diverse flowering plants. In their natural state, they come in a bewildering array of beautiful forms, and human intervention has further added to the variety. Orchid growers and breeders enthusiastically pursue the dream of developing a new variety, or just growing the perfect bloom.
The Melbourne Orchid spectacular is an annual event that allows local growers to strut their stuff. A photographic and painting exhibition is run in conjunction with the show, so you can participate even if you don't have a green thumb. It's also a great photographic opportunity. There's no objection to wandering around with camera and tripod snapping the prize winning blooms, but there a still challenges to overcome. The backgrounds are generally a mix of wandering patrons, other flowers and various parts of the hangar like building which houses the show. Not ideal for showing the orchids at their best in a photo (nothing a little Photoshop can't overcome...), but it's not often you get a chance to shoot such an array of amazing flowers.
The Zuiko Digital 50mm f2 macro is one of the original lenses introduced as part of the Four Thirds system, and is widely acknowledged as one of the sharpest lenses in the system. While it's a bit slow to autofocus, the images it produces, either as a macro or short portrait lens, can be spectacular. The greatest strength of Four Thirds has always been the glass, and this little prime is one of the stars.
Olympus E-5, Zuiko Digital 50mm f2 macro, tripod, cable release.