This unusual, waxy plant is native to shady, rich woods from June to September in nearly all temperate areas of North America. Its common name is Indian Pipe, but it has many other names: Ghost Flower, Ice Plant, Fairy Smoke, and my favorite, Corpse Plant. It gets these spooky names from its white, translucent color -- and because it turns black with age and when picked. Lacking chlorophyll, it is a non-photosynthetic plant, which means it's not dependant on light, but gets its nutrients from a wood-rooting fungi. For more information and some neat pics, click here.
There was no way of getting around laying on the forest floor for this picture. Carrying a garbage bag along with my camera equipment to use as a tarp has been helpful for this task. The bug's eye perspective gives some interest to what might otherwise be a boring shot. I have usually found that it's worth the extra effort to get a different angle on a subject. I used a large aperture (f/3.3) in order to minimize the depth of field and separate the plant from its environment -- with the hope of drawing more attention to its unique characteristics.
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