Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 21st, 2014

Beaucoup bouquet bokeh

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Sinuous Firewheel Flower Stalk by Flower Head 4262

English doesn’t have a lot of words that originated in Japanese*, but as far as I’ve been able to tell, the recent addition bokeh appears to be one. The word means literally ‘blur’ or haze’ in Japanese, and photographers worldwide have begun using the term to designate the out-of-focus parts of a picture. While the firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) flower head in the background of today’s photograph isn’t really a bouquet, it certainly appears as a colorful bokeh. Add the sharply rendered details of the sinuous firewheel flower stem that runs diagonally across the foreground, and you’ve got a welcome contrast. For more on bokeh, you can check out this article.

I recorded this abstract view in Great Hills Park on June 16th. That was two months ago, and although the great colonies of firewheels have gone to seed and dried out, I’m still seeing an occasional lone flower head of this species asserting itself as I wander about Austin.


* Most of the words that have entered English from Japanese were originally Chinese, including tofu, geisha, soy, tycoon, honcho, and bonsai.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2014 at 5:53 AM

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