Calypso Orchid or Fairy Slipper – Photographed on May 31, 2015 along Basin Creek, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana.
The Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa) is a tiny North American Orchid native to Alaska, Canada and the Northern United States from Washington to Maine. The diminutive wildflower (dime-sized) is considered one of the most beautiful wildflowers of North America. The genus name Calypso is from the Greek mythical nymph in Homer’s Odyssey and the species name bulbosa is latin referring to the bulb structure of the root. The sepals are modified to create the basin or slipper which emits a vanilla- like fragrance to lure bees into the “slipper” or pouch. As they exit, the insects rub against the pollen bearing “column” of the slipper and transfer the pollen to the next orchid. Images were made with the Canon 5D iii and 100 mm f/2.8 macro lens, ISO was set at 1250 in order to achieve adequate shutter speeds at F/11 and f/16 as the flowers were moving from the wind. Generally I prefer to photograph wildflowers at a low ISO settings of 100 in order to maximize image quality and detail. Fortunately, the 5Diii performs well at higher ISO.