Orchids at Shelldance

Shelldance Orchid Gardens has been selling orchids since 1949. The greenhouses, open to the public on weekends, are located on a crest above Pacifica and is on the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

The owner, Nancy Davis, will allow us to photograph her huge collection of rain forest plants on a weekday, Tuesday, June 17 at noon. We will have the place to ourselves. I am very excited about this event! This is a free meet up.

Shelldance is hidden and the road to the greenhouses is a sudden sharp turn off Highway 1 possibly with cars driving very fast and tailgating you. Please study the road carefully and be aware of traffic. You're safety is important to me.

Directions: Shelldance is located just off of Highway 1 in Pacifica, 2000 Coast Highway. It is east of the highway, across from Mori Point Road and a very sharp turn off. There are signs. Take that small road to the top of the hill. Click here for a link to the Google Maps location.

At the top of the hill, continue past the trail head and around the greenhouses until you see the business entrance. There is plenty of parking.

The parking lot is also the trail head for the Mori Ridge trail. You might want to take advantage of a nice hike too. There are also trails on the west side of Highway 1 that lead to Mori Point.

Photo tips: A tripod is a good idea. Black and white backgrounds, like velvet cloth or poster board can make the flowers pop. Lights, flashes, reflectors and a diffuser will help with lighting. This is my first time photographing here, but the owner is very accommodating and I expect we can move things around.

Shoot with a medium to small aperture to keep the entire flower in focus.

Think about White Balance. Bring an 18% gray card or white piece of paper to calibrate color.

If you are shooting in Aperture Priority mode, use Exposure Compensation in order to keep the backgrounds black or white.

A macro lens is not required but bring it if you have one, or a lens reversal adapter or a macro extension tube. There is more than one way to macro.

Check out this Beginning Orchid Photography tutorial for more tips.

As always, by attending this meet up, you agree to our Policies and Guidelines.

Hope you can make it to this weekday event. It might be worth a sick day!

Join or login to comment.

  • Connie S.

    What a wonderful opportunity to photograph such beautiful flowers. Thank you Stuart for organizing this event. After looking at my photos on the big screen, I already want to go back!

    1 · June 18, 2014

  • Barbara M.

    I'm sorry I missed it. It looks like it was a wonderful spot, looking at the wonderful images posted. Hope you do it again.

    1 · June 17, 2014

  • Stuart N.

    A most excellent meet and impressive pictures! Thank you to everyone that attended. We will do that again.

    1 · June 17, 2014

  • Janet M.

    What a special place. Thank you for the opportunity.

    1 · June 17, 2014

  • Ronald C.

    We really appreciate Stuart setting this up for us.Very nice place.

    2 · June 17, 2014

  • Marlene C.


    1 · June 17, 2014

  • Deenie C.

    Thank you for organizing the photo opt, Stuart.

    1 · June 17, 2014

  • Barbara M.

    I wish could go. Have a good shoot. Catch it next time!

    June 14, 2014

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