Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for June 19th, 2011

Mountain pink bud

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A tapering bud in front of an unfolding flower of mountain pink, Centaurium beyrichii.

The bud of the bluebell is long and tapering, and its length corresponds to that of the bell-shaped flower it will become. Also elongated, and tapered even further to a bulletlike point, is the bud of the mountain pink. At first white-tipped, its shape and color give no clue to the type of flower that will emerge: neither white nor, once fully open, tall and narrow. Have botanists plotted the distribution of correlations between the shapes of the buds of many species and the shapes of the flowers they give rise to? If so, let them speak.

Let’s move from the statistical to the photographical, and I’ll explain how I managed to get such a neutral background in this photograph. Following a technique I’ve mentioned once before in this column, I got down low to the ground and held my camera in a position where the bud and flower happily lined up with a shadowed portion of the trunks of a group of Ashe juniper trees in the near distance. The trees were far enough away that my aperture of f/7.1 was sufficiently large to render them completely formless yet small enough to keep the nearer side of the bud in focus. The flower, by virtue of being behind the bud—ah, virtuous flower—is pleasingly out of focus but remains recognizable. An active imagination may do more than recognize: it may see a yellow-headed dancer facing forward with upper body thrown back and pink arms upraised.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

(Look here for more information about Centaurium beyrichii, including a clickable map that shows where the species grows.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 19, 2011 at 7:27 AM

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