Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 10th, 2011

An earlier and moodier globe

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Following the previous post about buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), here’s what one of its flower globes looks like in its formative stage. This globe was on the same buttonbush—which really is a bush, and often grows taller than a person—as the fully flowering one shown yesterday. It was overshadowed (not figuratively, as we usually use the word, but literally) when the sun briefly went behind a cloud; I aimed horizontally at nearby foliage, and the resulting photograph has quite a different feel and tonality from the image of the side-lit, fully flowering globe shown last time.

Speaking of equivalents, a term I appropriated from Alfred Stieglitz for my own purposes: the way the buds are packed around the surface of this buttonbush sphere reminds me of the way the buds of green lily (Schoenocaulon texanum) fit into that plant’s differently shaped surface, which we might describe as a gradually tapering cylinder.

(Visit the USDA website for more information about Cephalanthus occidentalis, including a clickable map showing the locations where the species grows; that turns out to be more than the whole eastern half of the U.S.)

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 10, 2011 at 5:41 AM

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