Book puts or­chids in fo­cus

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - THE GROOVE - Natasha Emeck

AFTER 50 years of col­lect­ing ex­otic or­chids from all over the world, Bruce Gray’s green­house re­sem­bles some­thing you might see in the depths of the Brazil­ian rain­for­est rather than in a back­yard in Ather­ton.

What started as child­hood in­ter­est, ad­mir­ing his mother’s or­chids at their Butch­ers Creek home on the Tablelands, Mr Gray said col­lect­ing or­chids has be­come a pas­sion with more than 7000 at home.

“I have more than 1200 species in all man­ner of sizes,” he said.

“They range from only a mil­lime­tre long to the flow­ers as big as cat­tle ears.”

Some 100 of his ex­otic or­chids are fea­tured in Into the Or­chid House, a photo book put to­gether by award-win­ning pho­tog­ra­phers Stan­ley and Kaisa Bree­den.

Long time ac­quain­tances, the trio had been com­pil­ing pho­tos for two years be­fore the book was re­leased in Novem­ber.

“I’ve known Bruce years,” Mr Bree­den said.

“But it wasn’t un­til I saw his green­house for my­self that I re­alised just how many he had in there. He let me take a few for of th­ese amaz­ing plants back to Topaz and we took some shots un­der nat­u­ral light near a patch of rain­for­est at home.

“The im­ages were just breath­tak­ing. We thought it would be great to com­pile them to­gether for a book.”

Ms Bree­den said it took hours of metic­u­lous work and fo­cus-stack­ing to bring each flower to life on the page.

“We wanted to make sure ev­ery sin­gle de­tail was in fo­cus, so peo­ple could ap­pre­ci­ate just how beau­ti­ful and unique each species of or­chid was,” she said.

“It was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult work be­cause with some or­chids some­thing as sub­tle as tak­ing a breath can move the plant and al­ter the shot.”

With a grow­ing num­ber of or­chid en­thu­si­asts pop­ping up on the Tablelands, Mr Gray said he ap­pre­ci­ated the lo­cal in­ter­est in the project.

The Bree­dens be­tween them have 70 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in na­ture pho­tog­ra­phy, art, de­sign, writ­ing and film­mak­ing. To­day they spe­cialise in dig­i­tal close-up na­ture pho­tog­ra­phy.

Mr Bree­den has writ­ten some 20 nat­u­ral his­tory books.

Pic­ture: NATASHA EMECK

With more than 7000 or­chids in his Ather­ton back­yard, Bruce Gray is putting his pas­sions on show in 'Into The Or­chid House', a photo book cap­tured by Kaisa and Stan­ley Bree­den.

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