Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 9th, 2012

Balsam-gourd

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Normally in these pages you see pictures whose subjects are fairly sharp, but once in a while I go for a softer, more impressionistic approach. That’s the case here, where the dim light compelled me either to use flash or to open up my macro lens. I chose the latter, and the maximum aperture of f/2.8 produced a photograph in which the only thing in focus is the little area that includes some of the whitish markings near the top of the fruit.

The plant is Ibervillea lindheimeri, a native vine that’s making its first appearance here and that’s known as balsam-gourd. The red fruit is clearly the “gourd,” but what the balsam has to do with anything I don’t know. I do know that I’m grateful to Marie Laing for tipping me off on July 28 to the presence of this balsam-gourd in an upper portion of Great Hills Park. I went over there that very morning to see if I could find it, and I did.

Coincidentally, Marie lives on the same side of the same street at whose corner I took the pictures of Clematis drummondii that appeared three and four posts back. Also coincidentally, last week the NASA vehicle called Explorer landed in a crater on Mars, which has traditionally been called the red planet. Suspend your disbelief, change the scale, and perhaps you can see this balsam-gourd as the cratered surface of Mars. Either that or a red balloon.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 9, 2012 at 6:09 AM

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