Sunday, January 25, 2015


My Christmas Cacti – Cheer and Challenge

We have two Christmas cacti sitting by a south-facing window. This time of year when the oaks in front have shed their leaves, the sun pours in and the plants flower for weeks. That provides a lot of joy for us. It also offers tantalizing opportunities for photography, and endless images for manipulating into “café art”.



I have photographed these plants with various lighting, subdued window light, flash, and direct sunlight streaming through the window. I like the direct sunlight best. The blossoms are gorgeous. There is just one little problem. As you can see, the blossoms face downward. I have some nice images in down and side views. Shooting up is rather inconvenient. Lying on the floor with a camera is just too hard for my old bones.

I tried using a plain mirror. That does not work well at all. The angle is fine, but the image is not. With an ordinary mirror you really get two reflections, the main reflection from the “silvered” side on the back of the glass, and another one from the front of the sheet of glass. In photos this is really noticeable and bothersome.


Yes, it makes you blink and rub your eyes.

I answer to my complaints an online friend said she turns the whole plant on its side. Why hadn’t I thought of that!! Turns out that this is another challenge in its own right.

I tuned the pot to its side and the lanky blossom-carrying segment just flopped over to one side or the other, presenting a side view. I worked with it for a long time, trying to prop the pot with books at just the right angle. Then turning the whole cart to get the sun just right. When I thought I was there, the sunbeam suddenly disappeared. The sun had gone behind the trunk of one of the oaks out front. I moved over to the other window. By the time I was set up and ready to shoot, the sun was shining happily again through the first window. Well, I got a lot of exposures and a couple of good shots. Here are a small collection,  a couple from today, several from before, even last year, and some of my café art.



Cactus Flower

Cactus Blossom

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus in Ice

Study - Cactus Blossom

Thanksgiving Cactus

Beauty in Glass


© 2015 Ludwig Keck