Florida-based photographer and self-confessed “Echinopsis enthusiast” Greg Krehel (aka Echinopsis Freak) captures the beauty of these flowering cacti as their petals open and wilt. Choosing time-lapse videos and gifs as his medium, Krehel’s series, Freaky Flowers: Echinopsis Cacti in Bloom, allows viewers to witness the colorful buds as they burst and bloom into bold and brilliant flowers, just like exploding fireworks.
Native to South America, Echinopsis cacti come in a variety of 128 different species. From large, tree-like structures to small, spiky spheres, their gorgeous flowers come in a range of bright colors. Krehel’s videos capture the mysterious blooming process that often occurs at night. He explains, “Echinopsis flowers only last a day from opening to wilting, and are at their peak for only an hour or two. I felt compelled to capture their brief existence in some way and began to photograph the blooms in the hopes of preserving some dimension of their stunning beauty.”
Using a Canon 6D full frame DSLR and two lenses—a Canon 100mm Macro and a Canon LS 35mm—Krehel takes his shots in his makeshift home-studio comprising a photography tent with a black backdrop. Shot during peak blooming season, each cactus takes around 10 hours to flower, and a further 48 hours to wilt. The patient photographer typically sets his camera to take around 40 images every 40 seconds, and changes the speed according to how fast the flowers bloom. The resulting 1,200-1,500 images are then compiled into a video where viewers can watch the the plant come to life.