Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bush sunflower opening

with 51 comments

Bush Sunflower Head Opening 8467

Another thing I photographed along Great Northern Blvd. in north-central Austin on February 19 was this Simsia calva, known as the (awnless) bush sunflower, beginning to open.

Good-bye February; tomorrow March marches in.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 28, 2013 at 6:15 AM

51 Responses

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  1. Beautiful photo!


    February 28, 2013 at 6:53 AM

  2. So much to learn with one little flower! I was much taken with the lavender tint. It’s not a color I associate with sunflowers, for sure. But your link seems to affirm my eyes aren’t deceiving me, as it says, “In most Simsia… ray florets…vary in colors, being any mixture of orange-yellow, lemon-yellow, pink, purple, or white. Simsia calva tend to have 8-21 ray florets with their colors being orange-yellow, with traces, lining, or fully colored faces of brown or purple.”

    Then, of course, there’s the matter of “awnless”. Now, I can identify an awn .

    And it’s not even seven o’clock!


    February 28, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    • I think at least some of the lavender tint that you detect here is probably extrinsic to the sunflower, a consequence of my working in the shade; I’d say it’s akin to the purple that painters sometimes add to things in shadows. The low light made me use a wide lens aperture, and the wide aperture accounts for the fact that outside the flower head there’s an overall softness (which is what makes the picture special for me). That said, this species does have colors that I’m not used to seeing in other plants that people have called sunflowers. If you look back at a picture from last year taken along the same stretch of road, you’ll see what I mean.

      As for awns, when I first encountered the word all I could think about was awnings, which have nothing to do with that botanical term. In fact it’s been a decade and I still think of awnings when I read about awns—whether before or after seven o’clock.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2013 at 7:34 AM

  3. Beautiful ! I love it !


    February 28, 2013 at 7:11 AM

  4. C’est à la fois beau, tendre et coloré. J’aime beaucoup.


    February 28, 2013 at 7:50 AM

  5. Simple, mais excellente compo tout en finesse . michel


    February 28, 2013 at 8:00 AM

  6. Oh, this one had me light up and say –Oh, hello God! 🙂 Look at that amazing thing. Thank you for the noticing.


    February 28, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    • And thank you for your comment. I’m pleased this picture had such a positive effect on you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2013 at 8:15 AM

  7. This is truly stunning Steven. I love it.


    February 28, 2013 at 8:16 AM

  8. C’est ce que j’appelle une macro parfaite!! félicitations Steve


    February 28, 2013 at 8:27 AM

  9. Sweetly beautiful and tranquilizing–calming in its bursting into life.


    February 28, 2013 at 8:37 AM

  10. BEAUTIFUL!!! A work of art.

    Kathy C

    February 28, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    • Thanks. The only place in Austin where I know to find this species is on Great Northern Blvd. across from the athletic fields.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2013 at 9:15 AM

  11. What amazing colors and beautifully captured too!


    February 28, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    • Thanks, Lynda. This picture is a tribute to subtlety of color (and with regard to the flower stem I could add shape).

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2013 at 9:37 AM

  12. Not everyone would see this, let alone capture it so brilliantly. Extremely well done!

    Alex Autin

    February 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    • Thanks so much, Alex. As I often do, I sat down next to this plant so I could look for a good angle to photograph it. I also lay down and aimed up, but I prefer the way this view came out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM

  13. beautiful photo!


    February 28, 2013 at 10:12 AM

  14. Absolutely gorgeous photo.

    Mind Margins/Run Nature

    February 28, 2013 at 10:32 AM

  15. The lavender tint is beautiful, whether it is due to the low light or not. I hope we will see it opening. Does it attract bees like its namesake?


    February 28, 2013 at 11:02 AM

  16. Beautiful – brighten my day:)


    February 28, 2013 at 11:48 AM

  17. Very good photo

    Greetings from Mexico


    February 28, 2013 at 10:25 PM

  18. Beautiful form arising from the mist; what a great illustration of graceful use of aperture, Steve.


    February 28, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    • Now that you mention it, the large aperture did give the background a misty look. Thanks for appreciating it, Lynn.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM

  19. Fantastic Steve. I really like how the colors pop.

    Brian Comeau

    March 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM

  20. That’s gorgeous. Love the tones.


    March 1, 2013 at 12:07 PM

  21. Thanks for visiting my blog. Well done. Great photo and amazing colours.


    March 1, 2013 at 6:12 PM

  22. This is sensational, not least for the incredible range of colors the photograph captures.

    Susan Scheid

    March 2, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    • In the thirteen thousand comments that have appeared on this blog (half of them my replies), you’re the first person ever to use the word sensational. Thanks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2013 at 3:36 PM

  23. I really like this! Wonderful image!


    March 3, 2013 at 9:56 PM

  24. love the narrow DOF in this. Great shot.


    March 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

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