Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Not the wall of an ice cave

with 27 comments

Click for greater clarity.

No, not the wall of an ice cave, but a portion of a single petal of a white prickly poppy, Argemone albiflora, for which species the crinkling is normal. While yesterday’s picture showing a white prickly poppy as a whole contrasted its whiteness with the dark of the burned forest behind it, today’s theme is white on white.

Date:  June 6, 2012.  Location:  the southern portion of Great Hills Park in my northwest Austin neighborhood.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 13, 2012 at 5:57 AM

27 Responses

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  1. Great shot, Steve. Probably not too many ice caves in Texas.


    June 13, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    • No, probably not (though maybe up in the Texas Panhandle in winter), but lots of these cool white prickly poppies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 13, 2012 at 6:42 AM

  2. This is really creative, and inspiring too!

    Spider Joe

    June 13, 2012 at 7:53 AM

  3. So delicate. To me, it almost looks like a delicate graphite drawing (with lots of white space, of course). Speaking of wildflowers, my guide, which you’d recommended, arrived today. I’m really going to enjoy having this to refer to–all the more so as my Mom is coming to visit tomorrow, so we can try and ID flowers together! Unlike my other wildflower guides, this guide is region-focused, easy to refer to, and, best of all, quite portable. Thank you so much.

    Susan Scheid

    June 13, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    • How interesting that you thought of the substance as a graphite drawing with white representing space, while I conceived the white as the reality and the gray as a sort of background.

      Let’s hope the localized guide works well for you and your Mom.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 13, 2012 at 10:23 PM

      • Just looking at the photo again in light of your comment, I find that as I look for a while, the whole thing shifts, and as you say, the whites become “the reality,” then, on looking longer, it all shifts back again.

        Susan Scheid

        June 14, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      • And now you’ve reminded me of those optical illusions where we see a figure first one way, then another, with foreground and background trading places. You’ve also reminded me of the days when I used to make stereographic pairs of photographs for 3-D viewing; once in a while I’d reverse the halves (accidentally or on purpose), and then what was in reality concave would bulge out at the viewer, and a face would show up inside out, like a mask looked at from behind. What an intriguing realm the world of perception is.

        Steve Schwartzman

        June 14, 2012 at 11:12 AM

  4. […] photo session from June 6 that brought you the very close and almost monochromatic view of a white prickly poppy petal in the southern part of Great Hills Park now brings you this colorful landscape. Running across […]

  5. My immediate reaction was “O’Keeffe”. I suspect she would have loved your photography. I love the sense of movement in this one, too – it reminds me very much of the photos of frozen waterfalls montucky gave us during the winter. I suppose in some ways that’s what photography is – a means of “freezing” a moment in time.


    June 14, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    • You’re the second person to have made an O’Keeffe connection to this photograph. I don’t remember making the link myself, but what I do remember is less painterly and more down-to-earth: struggling to keep the camera parallel to the crinkled petal so I could get as large a part of it in focus as possible. And yes, I’m reminded of Montucky’s frozen waterfalls, though I’m relieved that my white didn’t cause my hands to freeze the way they would have in Montana in the winter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2012 at 9:52 AM

  6. Great shot Steve!!! White on white is not easy to do!!!


    June 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    • Thanks, David. Yes, white on white presents its problems. There are faint traces of yellow, too, as this flower was just starting to deteriorate.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2012 at 9:54 AM

  7. So beautiful…thanks.

    Cathy G

    June 14, 2012 at 8:27 PM

  8. […] of Great Hills Park that brought you the last two pictures (including the one that I think of as white on white), I photographed yet another wildflower, one that’s common in Austin but only now making its […]

  9. Amazing texture, at first I though it was dried, sunbleached, wood or bark. And then I thought water cascading down rocks. All encapsulated in a single flower petal. A remarkable image, I love it!

    Finn Holding

    June 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    • Thanks for describing your first and second reaction. When an image is this abstract it lends itself to so many interpretations. I’ve noticed that some bloggers post mystery photos that they invite viewers to try to identify; seems like this photo would do well as one of those mystery pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2012 at 2:53 PM

  10. Very beautiful. Best wishes, Ellen

    Ellen Grace Olinger

    June 17, 2012 at 12:44 PM

  11. […] Here’s another wildflower taking its first bow in this column, Lithospermum incisum, known as fringed puccoon. I made this photograph on a visit to Kathy Comer’s property in Williamson County on March 17. The only other local wildflower I can think of that’s as crinkled, though in quite a different way, is the white prickly poppy. […]

  12. […] they? If you’d like a closer and somewhat different view of a petal, you can look back at a post from last June. And if you’d also like a reminder of what the new basal leaves of a white prickly poppy look […]

  13. […] stigma? This species of poppy also has very delicate petals, details of which I showed in a 2012 post. If you’re not familiar with white prickly poppies, you may also want to take a look at the […]

  14. Love the white on white.


    September 22, 2014 at 6:03 AM

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