About a mile from where we live, there is a unique cactus that produces beautiful white flowers that live for only a few hours. They bloom during the night and wither away by mid-morning. And that’s it. You have to wait another year. With a restriction like this, the pressure is on to get a good photo. We are not sure exactly what day the cactus will bloom. If so, we could put in on the calendar, get up early and walk to the cactus, shoot the blooms, then go home. Mission accomplished! But mother nature does not work this way. She wants us to visit the cactus everyday in hopes for a bloom. So, that is what we did.
Starting in mid-March we make the daily trek to the visit our cactus-friend. It lives in front of a nice corner home in a nice neighborhood. Now this poses a different problem. The owners of the cactus may not want two strangers visiting every morning with big cameras walking all over their front yard. Since we are in search for a good shot, we hope they go to work early leaving us alone to walk around their yard. And, we know someone in the police department so we do not worry! Ha ha.
Day after day, walk after walk, goes by with no bloom. There are buds but that is it. We know they are coming. It occurred to us that we do not even know their name. The cactus, not the owner. We don’t really care about the owner’s name – we hope we never have to meet them! So we start searching for the name. It turns out that there are 129 species of cactus that are quite similar. Ugh. Maybe we will call it John Cactus. It doesn’t care.
A few days ago we took our penultimate walk and noticed that the buds were about to burst. Any day now, we thought. Any day. The next morning, April 8, we hit the jackpot. We arrived just after 8:00 and found this:
We shot the cactus for an hour, trying to get as many photos before they started to wilt. They will all be gone within a couple of hours. And they’ll start to wilt by 9:00. With only moments to shoot, we shot and shot. Here is a couple of the better shots:
As we were leaving I realized that the owner completely missed out on the one day of the year the cactus bloomed. At least we saw it!
Now, what could it’s name be. Armed with detailed photos of the cactus and bloom we searched a bit deeper and determined that it is an Echinopsis Candicans. Of course! We should have known that. Luckily there is a nickname for this beauty – the Argentine Giant. Giant because the blooms get to be 7 1/2 inch in diameter. Maybe Giant for its beauty. Either way, we got our shots.
One last thing – which shot do you like better – the shallow depth of field or the large depth of field? And why?