Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Inside a white prickly poppy

with 23 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Two posts back you saw white prickly poppies, Argemone albiflora, in a large and dense colony. Then you got a close view of the outside of one of the poppy’s diaphanous petals. Now let’s float up and over, then hover to look straight down into the center of one of these poppies. Beyond the obvious appeal of the ball of yellow-orange stamens and the dark red patterns on the stigma at their center, notice the characteristic crinkling of the flower’s delicate white petals.

For those of you interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 9, and the recently added 22 in About My Techniques are relevant to this image. If you’d like to see the many places where white prickly poppies grow, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2012 at 5:30 AM

23 Responses

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  1. The candy stripes in the centre are lovely, but the silky petals are even more beautiful.


    April 23, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    • The petals are not only delicate but ephemeral. I often see these flowers with the central parts still present but the petals having fallen off after just a few days.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2012 at 7:04 AM

  2. Now that is really amazing!! I love it. The white petals look so soft and fluffy – I just want to wrap myself up in them.


    April 23, 2012 at 6:07 AM

  3. Flowers are always more intriguing the closer we get. Nice!


    April 23, 2012 at 6:18 AM

  4. I’m with you, Bente, in wanting to get close. I use my macro lens more than my other lenses combined.

    Steve Schwartzman

    April 23, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    • I am always drawn in! I hope one day virtual reality will allow me to journey where I can only now view!

      Bonnie Michelle

      April 23, 2012 at 8:06 AM

  5. I have to say, this is my newest favorite (until your next, probs:D ) But I really love this one and think it would be gorgeous enlarged.. Are you selling these??

    Just A Smidgen

    April 23, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm, Barbara. In answer to your question: I haven’t set up any type of online store to sell my photographs. My main outlet in recent years has been magazines, but perhaps I should expand.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2012 at 10:27 AM

  6. I was just about to ask if you used the ring flash, but saw point 22! I love the details in this image, and the layers we can see in the petals. Beautiful shot!

    Lemony (Gr)Egghead

    April 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    • Thanks. I see that your break from dilapidation has carried you to poppy flower centers as well. Good synchronicity.

      If I anticipate photographing subjects that a ring flash would be good for, I go ahead and put it on the camera. That’s more likely when the day is overcast and I expect to need some extra light anyhow. I usually have it in the car in any case, so if a sudden need arises I can go back and get it—assuming I haven’t walked a long distance from where I parked.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      • I wished that I had had my ring flash yesterday for my post today. But it was thanks to you that I got one! Now I just have to have it on hand (and, also important, charged) more regularly! 🙂

        Lemony (Gr)Egghead

        April 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      • I’m sure you’ll put yours to good use. I try to carry an extra set of batteries for mine in my camera bag.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 23, 2012 at 10:54 AM

  7. I can’t think of the right words to describe this work of art!


    April 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM

  8. There are little creatures in the ocean that look very like the red and white center of this poppy, but for the life of me I have forgotten their name! (Some sort of sea slug I think, which is not such a lovely name for a beautiful creature.) I took the closer look, and this is an exquisite photo!


    April 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    • Thanks, Lynda. Clicking to see finer detail in a photograph in a WordPress post can make a big difference, as you’ve confirmed.

      If you think of the name of the sea creature that this flower center reminds you of, please let us know.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      • Steve, It’s funny how my brain works, or doesn’t, some days. I read your comment this morning and POP! There it was, a Spanish Dancer nudibranch.
        There is a great little video I found here:

        She is a fascinating little sea creature. Enjoy! ~ L


        April 24, 2012 at 6:56 AM

      • Thanks, Lynda, I can see the resemblance. Now, if I ever saw the stigma of a white prickly poppy start moving in the way your nudibranch does, I’d make a video too.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 24, 2012 at 7:05 AM

  9. Spectacular–and silly me, here I was thinking you couldn’t possibly top the last one!

    Susan Scheid

    April 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    • I hope I can keep meeting your expectations, Susan. Let’s see what wonders nature brings my way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2012 at 6:38 PM

  10. Fantastic shot, Steve!


    April 24, 2012 at 11:21 PM

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