Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Fern leaf detail

with 23 comments

Fern Leaf Detail 6471

On July 7th I went walking along Bull Creek and found this fern. Backlighting and translucence were there too.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 20, 2014 at 5:36 AM

23 Responses

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  1. The three of you made a good team.

    Steve Gingold

    August 20, 2014 at 5:45 AM

    • Actually, it should be the four of you….can’t disregard the part played by the fern.

      Steve Gingold

      August 20, 2014 at 5:45 AM

      • I like the way you put that, Steve. If anyone asks whether I take part in team sports, now I can say yes.

        Steve Schwartzman

        August 20, 2014 at 5:50 AM

  2. Beautiful!

    Cha Annie

    August 20, 2014 at 5:51 AM

  3. Beautiful. We are very partial to ferns in NZ. Some people would like our flag to be changed to one depicting a stylized silver fern.


    August 20, 2014 at 5:53 AM

    • That’s two beautifuls in a row, and at almost the same time.

      It’s interesting about the proposals to use the silver fern motif on an updated New Zealand flag:


      It reminds me of the change to Canada’s flag in the 1960s, with another stylized image from nature, a red maple leaf:


      Steve Schwartzman

      August 20, 2014 at 6:05 AM

      • Being the young lass that I am (not), I hadn’t realised that the current Canadian flag only came into existence in 1965. The story behind that design gives me confidence that we can successfully introduce a new flag, too.


        August 20, 2014 at 6:28 AM

        • The French-Canadians in particular didn’t want any trace of the British Union Jack on their flag. I expect many Maoris feel the same way.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 20, 2014 at 6:41 AM

          • Possibly. They have another flag design which I rather like. One of the main objections to our flag is that it looks so like the Australian one. 😀


            August 20, 2014 at 6:56 AM

  4. Nice detail. A few weeks ago we hiked in a park nearby that claimed to have over 20 species of fern. The steep and moist walls of the gorges were prime habitat.

    Jim in IA

    August 20, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    • Ferns are little design factories. I find them here in the same kind of environment you described, the closest being half a mile away in Great Hills Park.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 20, 2014 at 7:01 AM

  5. It looks as though the fern is creating at least some of its own shadows. Maybe most. Without the shadows, it wouldn’t be nearly so eye-catching — at least, it wouldn’t have caught mine so quickly. It’s a beautifully focused fern photo.


    August 20, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    • Yes, those shadows add some texture and vary the tonality in all that green, thereby keeping it from looking too uniform. In terms of focus, most of what you see here lay in approximately a plane, and that relative flatness made my life easier as a photographer. I still had to struggle a bit, though, because I was pretty close.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 20, 2014 at 8:13 AM

      • In other words: the fern, it’s plain, lies mainly on a plane.


        August 20, 2014 at 8:16 AM

        • What you say is plain for all to see. I’ll add that one good fern deserves another (so I’ll have to be on the lookout when I’m wandering).

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 20, 2014 at 9:09 AM

  6. Lovely shot! My granny had something similar like this in her garden.


    August 20, 2014 at 10:59 AM

  7. Love the detail and the backlighting is a great idea…Well done.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    August 20, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    • I look for backlighting in a case like this, and fortunately the fern was growing in a place where I could get down in front of it and aim in the direction of the sun.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 20, 2014 at 7:31 PM

  8. Lovely image. Ferns work well in B+W as well … as Ansel Adams and many others have shown us.

    The Apiarist

    August 23, 2014 at 5:19 AM

    • True enough, because patterns predominate over color in photographs of ferns.
      I remember that at the beginning of the 1970s anyone could still buy a signed 11″ x 14″ photograph from Ansel Adams from $200. I wish I’d borrowed money to buy several.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 23, 2014 at 8:01 AM

  9. […] some recent posts have talked about backlighting, translucence, and iridescence, here you get all three at the same time. If you want a closer look at the spider […]

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