This, other worldly, bloom is the flower of a member of the Stapelia family. These interesting plants are found predominately in South Africa. Most of the plants in this family have garnered the nickname carrion flowers because of their interesting smell. They rely on flies to handle their pollination so their scent ranges from rotting meat to dog poop; probably not the best choice for a bouquet.
The plant in the picture is one of the few members of the [wikipop]Stapelia[/wikipop] family that doesn’t hold that same distinction and actually has a pleasant scent. While that doesn’t make much difference to this photograph, it’s a huge deal for me since it followed us home. With 2 dogs and a teenager already in the house we don’t need any more bad smells.
This photograph was taken indoors on our San Francisco trip. I was using my 24-70 f/2.8L at 63mm. Since I was unable to use a tripod in this venue I raised my ISO to 400 so I could get to a high enough shutter speed to keep the image sharp; 1/160th of a second. I shot with my focal plane roughly parallel to the face of the flower to keep it in focus while letting the rest of the image blur due to my large aperture of f/2.8.
I’ve considered replacing that lens with the 24-105, to eliminate a gap in my coverage but it’s shots like this that talk me out of it. The [wikipop]bokeh[/wikipop] from the 24-70 has a buttery smooth characteristic that I just haven’t seen in another lens. I don’t spend a lot of time at wide apertures but when I need to, this is my go-to lens.