Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for May 4th, 2012

They’re back, part 4

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To show you how far the little colony of sunflower plants, Helianthus annuus, had advanced by April 19, here’s a photograph of one flower head that had already gone to seed and was beginning to dry out.

As point 8 in About My Techniques mentions, this is one of those photographs for which I used flash even in bright daylight. I chose to do that because the seed head was so dark compared to the clear sky behind it that I needed extra light to prevent the seeds from appearing too dark and devoid of detail. I used a small aperture of f/18 to keep many of the seeds in focus; with that small of an aperture, and with the flash of course having no effect beyond a few feet, the sky came out darker than my eyes actually saw it (and than you saw it in yesterday’s second post). Instead of using flash, I could have set my camera to expose for the dark seed head of the sunflower, but then the sky would have gotten overexposed and would have looked washed out. All things considered, the first approach seemed better. Besides, no photograph depicts a scene the way our eyes see it, so every photograph is an artifact. Happy artifact to you.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 4, 2012 at 12:54 PM

They’re back, part 3

with 12 comments

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Continuing with the earlier-than-usual sunflowers in Austin this year, here’s the center of a fully open flower head from the group of plants I photographed on April 19. Notice the small bug at 1 o’clock and the much smaller larva at 9 o’clock that were visiting the sunflower. Sights like this remind me that before Europeans brought honeybees to the Americas, all the plants here somehow managed to get themselves pollinated without a word of English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Dutch ever having been heard in this hemisphere.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 4, 2012 at 5:41 AM

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