Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 6th, 2011

Staminate column like a candle wick

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As I mentioned yesterday, on June 23 I stopped by to take a first look at the prairie restoration I’d read was under way on the grounds of the Elisabet Ney Museum. There I ended up leaning over a low stone wall to photograph some turk’s cap plants, Malvaviscus arboreus, growing in a partly shaded area. The previous picture portrayed an opening bud, and this picture shows that when the resulting flower matures, there emerges from the narrowly open end of its pinwheel formation an impressively long staminate column, a typical trait of the hibiscus and some other members of the mallow family.

To get a picture in the low light, I opened up my 100 mm macro lens to f/3.5. In spite of that wide aperture, because the camera’s sensor was parallel to the flower’s staminate column, a surprisingly large part of it came out sharp in the image.

By a historical coincidence, in taking the picture shown yesterday and this one today, I stood in about the same location as the photographer more than a century ago who took the photograph that appears first on the home page of the Elisabet Ney Museum website. The building shown there looks largely the same, but I looked at the nearby turk’s caps rather than at the building.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these two days of saturated red. Tomorrow’s colors will be yellow and green, and they’ll frame a small but poignant drama of life and death.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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(Visit the USDA website for more information about Malvaviscus arboreus, including a clickable map showing where the species grows.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 6, 2011 at 6:02 AM

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