Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Time for goldeneye again

with 17 comments

Goldeneye Flower Head 0029

The shrub called goldeneye, Viguiera dentata, traditionally blooms in the fall, though warming temperatures in the last few years have allowed it to extend its flowering season in Austin both earlier and later. This soft (because of low light and therefore relatively large f/5 aperture) view of a goldeneye flower head in my neighborhood is from October 3rd. In the weeks since then, I’ve seen lots of flowering goldeneye plants around Austin; they’re clearly having a good season.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2013 at 5:59 AM

17 Responses

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  1. I like the bokeh and the petal arrangement. I have both the 60mm and the 100mm Canon macro lenses and I find the quality the same; except with the 60mm you have to get closer, but for me it also serves as an all-around, lightweight lens. I now have my eyes on the Canon 70D which is said to have ‘phasic’ AF in liveview mode, so supposedly the liveview mode has finally improved both in speed and in accuracy.; and they bumped the camera to 20 MP and weather sealed it a bit more. Still not a full frame, but they’re saying the high ISO’s have also diminished noise. It’s a hard-to-resist camera, for me anyway. It also has the articulating LDC screen which is very useful in the field. Do you find yourself using liveview mode often?

    M. Firpi

    November 5, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    • It’s not unusual for me to use my 100mm macro lens as a regular 100mm lens, as you saw yesterday, for example, with the picture of the white squirrel. I’ve never tried the 60mm macro lens, but I started out using an old 50mm macro lens with what Canon called a Life-Size Converter, basically an extension tube. That combo had the advantage of being relatively small and lightweight; as you pointed out, though, the photographer has to get closer to a subject.

      Although I have the full-frame 5D Mark III, I miss the 1.6X crop factor, which made things closer than they are now. I’ve been able to get very wide angle pictures now with my 17–40mm lens acting as a true ultrawide, but I take a lot fewer wide-angle shots than I do macros.

      As for liveview mode, I’ll confess that I practically never use it. The 70D seems enticing, and if you get it I think you’ll be happy with it. If I had that articulating LCD screen, I’d probably use liveview for some difficult pictures, but I’m such a creature of habit when it comes to looking through a viewfinder that that’s still what I prefer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2013 at 7:24 AM

  2. Ah, the soft focus of f/5. It is a good tool in the photographer’s toolkit. 🙂

    The term dentata in the species name sounds like it refers to toothlike. Would that be in the flower center?

    Jim in IA

    November 5, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    • It’s rare for me to use an aperture as large as f/5, and I generally try to get as much in focus as possible, but a soft picture provides a change of pace from time to time and is, as you say, “a good tool in the photographer’s toolkit.”

      I believe the species name dentata refers to the “toothed” margins of the leaves, which don’t put in an appearance in today’s picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2013 at 7:35 AM

  3. So interesting. After my recent “revelation” about the nature of scientific names, they’ve been easier to read. Apparently, they’re easier to remember, too. When I saw “goldeneye” in your title, I knew it was Viguiera dentata. I’ve not been sure of the pronunciation, but found it on this San Diego State page. How clever of them to include an audio file for each plant on their site.


    November 5, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    • The pronunciation of scientific names varies from person to person and depends on how close to authentic Latin you want to be. Usually a speaker of English will introduce at least some Anglicized pronunciation, as when people pronounce the first a in dentata as if it were the name of the letter A, and the second a as what’s called a s(c)hwa, the “uh” sound so common in unstressed syllables in English (for example the a at the end of sofa).

      I, having studied Latin and linguistics, usually stay close to authentic Latin, so I pronounce both occurrences of a in dentata like the English word ah. I have the idea—don’t know if it’s true—that when I pronounce scientific names in that close-to-Latin way, people hearing me will be better able to spell the words out if they want to write them down.

      When it comes to Viguiera, there we’re dealing with a genus name made from Viguier, the family name of a French botanist. Now things get complicated, because Viguier is pronounced in French as if it were spelled Vee-gyay in English. The addition of the final a would seem to lead to the pronunciation Vee-gyay-a, but I’ve always pronounced the r, as French would with the feminine Viguière (if it existed). I think a lot of botanists adopt a “live and let live” attitude and pronounce scientific names in whatever way they feel like.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2013 at 9:57 AM

  4. Je ne m’en lasse pas.. j’ai bien aimé ta réponse à Shoreacres..


    November 6, 2013 at 4:52 AM

  5. élégance et sympa le pétale de travers lui donnant un caractère d’humain

    la griffe du loup

    November 6, 2013 at 11:19 AM

  6. Beautiful photo!
    Greetings, RW & SK


    November 6, 2013 at 9:47 PM

  7. Puts the James Bond version to shame.


    November 7, 2013 at 1:35 PM

  8. […] the plant to be called old man’s beard. The yellow in the background was from some flowers of goldeneye, Viguiera […]

  9. […] what individual flower heads of this species looks like, you can revisit a post from last fall or one from last month. The patches of light gray in the background and near the lower left are the fluffy stage of […]

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