Cactus Flower


This flower belongs to a Christmas cactus (also called a “holiday cactus”). We have two plants that we bought at a hardware store a couple of years ago. Although I don’t fuss over them they’re pretty hardy plants and have bloomed every year. They start forming buds sometime in mid to late November and usually bloom for several weeks. A single flower seems to last about a week before it shrivels up.

I wanted to take some photos of the plants but didn’t get around to pulling my SLR out of my camera bag. Pretty much we came back from vacation and just stopped doing anything with the cameras. I guess the work routine just takes too much effort. I decided to try Retro Camera, a free phone application that I have on my Droid. I think this was taken with the Little Orange Box camera.

The cactus has drooping foliage so the flowers tend to hang down. The way I got this shot was to lie on the floor and photograph the flower from below. Sometimes you just need to try different angles to get an interesting photograph. Taking shots of the flowers from the sides just didn’t give me the image that I wanted and there was too much background. The Retro Camera is fun but the phone camera doesn’t give you the option to play with lens aperture so that you can control the depth of field like an adjustable SLR lens does.

If you find yourself stuck with a phone camera or other non-adjustable camera, try low-tech approaches to your photography. Change the angle of the photograph and be selective of what you allow in the background. With a plant or something small you might be able to pick up your subject and reposition it so the background isn’t a problem. With landscapes you obviously can’t do that, so you need to move. Try to envision what you want your final image to be and take a good look at what you’re actually photographing. You don’t want to get back home from that once-in-a-lifetime vacation and find that all the people in your photos have trees sprouting from the middle of their heads or that you just didn’t quite focus the camera.

2 thoughts on “Cactus Flower

    • Thanks! These flowers are really almost a neon fuchsia when they’re in bloom. Unfortunately they tend to droop down, which makes it difficult to take pictures of them. I ended up laying on the floor and photographing the flower from below. The backlighting is actually my ceiling track lights.

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