Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Firewheel abstraction

with 26 comments

Firewheel Edge-On by Bluebonnet 4159

There he goes again with his abstractions…

The wildflower that botanists know as Gaillardia pulchella has the popular names firewheel, blanketflower (or blanket flower), and Indian blanket. I photographed this firewheel flower head close and edge-on and with a wide aperture of f/4.5 so that at most the tips of a few rays would be in focus. The bluish-purple in the background came from some bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis. Except for a few lingering strays, they’re long gone in central Texas now, but firewheels are still (Indian-)blanketing parts of the land here. Today’s colorful view is from April 21st at the intersection of Blackjack and Rio Vista Cove east of Lockhart, a town nearly an hour south of my home in Austin.

In a banal comparison suggested by childhood memories, this firewheel might pass for floral candy corn.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2015 at 5:28 AM

26 Responses

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  1. Interesting and thanks for the info on how you took the shot.


    June 4, 2015 at 5:51 AM

  2. Beautiful ❤


    June 4, 2015 at 5:59 AM

  3. Indeed like floral candy corn and perhaps as sweet for the creatures who feed on it. Hopefully more nutritious than candy corn.


    June 4, 2015 at 6:01 AM

    • I do sometimes find these flowers munched, but as for candy corn, I don’t think I’ve eaten any for more than 50 years. Some things are best (and more healthily) left behind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2015 at 6:54 AM

      • Yes, I do not miss them.


        June 4, 2015 at 7:10 AM

        • I didn’t know if you’d be familiar with candy corn because the Wikipedia article says it’s primarily found in the United States and Canada. You’ve lived here, of course, but that didn’t mean you’d encountered this bit of popular culture. For all I know, though, candy corn may have made it over there. (And now I think of the possibilities: a tri-tone green version could be called koru korn.)

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 4, 2015 at 7:20 AM

          • I think I have seen candy corn here but I am not entirely sure about that. Definitely remember it in the US. Oh heaven forbid, the thought of koru korn is alarming.


            June 4, 2015 at 11:04 PM

            • That’s where my imagination went, but I probably shouldn’t have given anyone the idea.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 5, 2015 at 6:03 AM

              • Probably not! but it is strange that we don’t have more NZ shapes and flavours to our sweets. One of our classic kiwi sweets is the Pineapple Lump http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple_Lumps . Even though it’s a classic, I haven’t ever tried it. I must have been a deprived child. 😦


                June 5, 2015 at 6:26 AM

                • In this instance, deprivation may be a good thing. I’m suddenly reminded of the punning German saying that “Man ist was man isst,” or “You are what you eat.”

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  June 5, 2015 at 6:34 AM

                • I am glad then that I am not a pineapple lump.


                  June 5, 2015 at 6:41 AM

              • Yes, we’d rather have you as a person than as a pineapple.

                Steve Schwartzman

                June 5, 2015 at 4:41 PM

  4. Thanks for the early morning cheer–your interpretation is ethereal and lovely.


    June 4, 2015 at 6:47 AM

  5. Abstraction starts the morn
    Delightful as a candy corn
    A poet I am not but I really like what you have done here. It is beautiful and exciting. I’ve been giving abstraction some thought and am finding it surprisingly difficult to do. I keep wanting to tie down the image with cold hard facts.


    June 4, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    • Many of the photographs I take are “tied down with cold hard facts,” so I like to stray in other directions some of the time. Using a macro lens at close range, which I frequently do, automatically excludes most things other than the subject (and sometimes even parts of the subject), thereby often putting me into a world of abstraction. I don’t mind being there at all, and in this instance I chose to aim edge-on to make the image even more abstract, and I was happy with the result.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2015 at 4:37 PM

  6. Very nice color combination, Steve. I like Melissa’s mention of candy corn.

    Steve Gingold

    June 4, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    • I expect candy corn was a part of all our childhoods. I was happy to transfer the color scheme to a native wildflower in Texas, far from my association with candy corn.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2015 at 4:39 PM

  7. None of the usual adjectives would do when I first saw this photo, yesterday afternoon. Describing it as “lovely,” “nice,” “great,” or “striking” would have felt like throwing out a handful of linguistic candy corn. So, I went off to the docks to ponder. In the middle of the afternoon, I suddenly thought, “Pulchritudinous!” I had to come home and double check, but it truly is the perfect word for such a unique portrait of Gaillardia pulchella.


    June 5, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    • And it allows you to get in a double dose of Latin, where pulchra meant ‘beautiful’ and pulchella was the diminutive form of the adjective. It’s a good thing that you went off to ponder and let yourself get indocktrinated rather than be indoctrinated into using more-familiar adjectives. Words aside, I’m glad the visual abstraction works for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2015 at 7:23 AM

  8. You can “go again” with those abstractions whenever you’re a mind to, far as I’m concerned!

    Susan Scheid

    June 10, 2015 at 12:19 PM

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