Flowers in the Night are a demanding subject for a photographer. Doing a walkabout around Vancouver in the night looking for flowers is always rewarding. I’ve heard some say that flowers don’t bloom at night. I’ve come to realize that they do. Nature keeps to her own timetable and flowers in particular seem to decide on their own about a lot of things. Some nights they open, some nights they don’t. It’s kind of like looking for something that shouldn’t be there but is. Night photography is a misnomer of course because you need a source of light. I carry a couple small flashlights for that purpose but you can often find light from an overhead pole lamp, flooding out a window or approaching vehicles.
Photographing Night Flowers
I usually head out with my camera, backpack, a couple bottles of cold water, a couple sandwiches, an apple, a banana and a bag of trail nuts. Photographing night flowers is different from photographing wildlife at night. Wildlife are mobile and sometimes it’s best to just sit and wait for them to show. For flowers you need to do a lot of walking which is, of course, killing two birds with one stone. A night out looking for flowers is great exercise.
Many flowers will close up when it gets dark, perhaps for protection, perhaps just for a rest. But I’ve seen several that stay open for an hour or so after it gets completely dark, some even longer. Night flowers are some of those. You just have to be there at the right time I guess.
Some Night flowers even remain in bloom all night, and close up as soon as the first rays of sun hit them. Evening Primrose is indigenous to North America. Moon Flowers, Night Gladiolus, various Lilies to name a few. Some Cactus can also be found blooming at night. The night truly is a magic time for a photographer and you just never know when you might see one of those little fairies some people I know talk about.
I photographed this gorgeous water lily at the VanDusen Botanical Garden. VanDusen is “a fairytale land of slender, winding paths, gently rolling hills and sweet wooden bridges spanning ponds full of lily pads.” This is an example of a water lily that I found late at night. This is a time exposure with some side light. It showed no signs of closing up. I do know that some tropical water lilies definitely bloom all night.