Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The color and the curve that caught my eye

with 33 comments

Wood Sorrel Flower in Oak Leaves by Contorted Ashe Juniper Remains 8892

In Great Hills Park on November 4th I was walking back up the trail toward where I’d parked my car when a bit of bright color caught my eye. It was a wood sorrel flower (Oxalis drummondii) in a bed of new oak leaves (Quercus spp.) adjacent to the remains of an Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) that was contorted in a way that’s not uncommon for these trees. The roundedly V-shaped leaflets are those of wood sorrel plants, and there are also some leaves of a greenbrier vine (Smilax bona-nox) mixed in with the young oak leaves at the left.

I’m not much for wholesale manipulation of photographs, but while processing this picture I accidentally hit a key that produced a negative of the image. I liked it enough as an abstraction in its own right that I decided to let you have a look at it via the thumbnail below.

So now it’s fee fie faux color,
Click and see what you’ll discover.

Wood Sorrel Flower in Oak Leaves by Contorted Ashe Juniper Remains 8892

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2015 at 5:04 AM

33 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Definitely a cool surprise when I clicked to see the negative of the image. Steve. Creativity often comes through unintentional accidents in my experience. (Wait a minute, aren’t all accidents unintentional?)

    Mike Powell

    November 14, 2015 at 6:42 AM

    • It’s good that you caught your unintentional redundancy, Mike. I don’t remember ever encountering unintentional accident, but some redundancies are so common they’ve become fixed phrases in our language. One that comes to mind is helpful hint, which is reinforced by the alliteration of the h at the beginning of each word. By definition, a hint is intended to be helpful, so there’s no need to add helpful. Many people say a tiny little [something], when tiny by itself is enough.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2015 at 7:04 AM

      • The only “intentional accidents” that I can think of are the periodic road rage situations that take place here in the Washington D.C. area that are characterized as “accidents,” but really are not.

        Mike Powell

        November 14, 2015 at 7:23 AM

        • In a comment somewhere else I recently quoted from the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “Hello, Young Lovers.” The stanza I cited could be another example of “accidentally on purpose”:

          I know how it feels to have wings on your heels
          And to fly down the street in a trance.
          You fly down a street on the chance that you’ll meet,
          And you meet — not really by chance.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 14, 2015 at 8:32 AM

  2. All my favourite colours in the negative, so a big LIKE.


    November 14, 2015 at 6:43 AM

    • The change to digital photography means that soon hardly any people will ever have had the once-common experience of handing in a roll of film at a store and getting strips of negatives back with their prints. Negative images will seem even stranger to people who didn’t routinely see them than they do to us now.

      Anyhow, happy favorite colors to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2015 at 7:20 AM

  3. I loved the abstraction, Steve. It’s interesting to think that many animals see the world in different colours to us and in fact what I see is not exactly what you see either.


    November 14, 2015 at 6:59 AM

    • A pleasant abstraction it is, Jane.

      A few months ago I saw a feature on television about an experiment in which people wore a device in front of their eyes that flipped what they saw from left to right. Of course it was initially disconcerting to have to reach to the right to touch an object that looked like it was on the left, but after a day or so people in the experiment began to get accustomed to it. That makes me think we might soon get accustomed to a world that appeared as the negative of the real one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2015 at 7:40 AM

      • Steve, the “negative” is beautiful, or should I say very “positive”. You should print and frame it!

        Nan Hampton

        November 14, 2015 at 7:50 AM

  4. I’m not so fond of the negative, although it’s certainly interesting to see. The colors seem a little harsh to me, a little jarring. But what really strikes me is that the elements of the photo, melded so nicely in the original, seem disjointed in the negative. It’s almost as though the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

    I very much like the photo. The curved bit of ashe juniper looks like an ear. Perhaps it’s listening to the song of the solitary wood sorrel.


    November 14, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    • I’ll put a positive spin on your negative reaction to the negative image by treating it as a double negative and therefore a positive. My guess about why the elements in the negative version strike you as disjointed is that there’s white between them, as if they were floating in space; the ground, normally dark, has lost its groundness.

      As on many other occasions, I didn’t see a form in a certain way until you suggested it. That’s the case with the Ashe juniper “ear,” which we could imagine as wood listening to wood sorrel.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2015 at 8:25 AM

  5. That negative was a surprising effect.

    As a former math teacher, you might appreciate this. A colleague of mine would sometimes pull a tree root from his closet to show the kids. It had grown down and around a fence post which had rotted away. The post wasn’t your standard round one. It was a square post. Of course, he called it his square root. The kids always moaned loudly.

    Jim in IA

    November 14, 2015 at 9:02 AM

  6. Very cool inverted image.

    Raewyn's Photos

    November 14, 2015 at 1:28 PM

  7. I do love the shapes and colors, the textures that comprise our world…Your photo is really eye catching.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    November 14, 2015 at 2:01 PM

  8. It didn’t necessarily happen by accident like with you in this instance but we have been creating some interesting plant photography of our own https://diggingfordirt.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/the-artist-gardener/ Hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed yours

    Winterbourne House and Garden

    November 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    • Thanks for the introduction to Anne Parouty’s cyanotypes made from fresh plant parts. It’s an interesting coincidence of names between the current artist and an early practitioner of the technique, Anna Atkins.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2015 at 9:08 PM

  9. Hi Steve! I later got your funny comment about the Pamorama. I was a liitle slow. By the way, I like the fee fie faux color 😊.


    November 14, 2015 at 9:42 PM

  10. I am the way you are about converting to B&W in regards to the negative. Much prefer the original. However, I have to say that it is creative and would probably attract more people in a gallery than the straight one. Accidental or not, it sure is different and, as they say, different is good.

    Steve Gingold

    November 16, 2015 at 3:26 AM

    • Back in the years when I routinely saw negative images projected on the easel beneath my photo enlarger, once in a while one would grab my fancy. On a few occasions I experimented with projecting a color transparency onto black and white photo paper to make a negative print. I’m with you in thinking that only rarely should a positive be made into a negative.

      Yes, the negative image in this post sure is different, and it’s the first one in the four years and five months of this blog.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2015 at 5:58 AM

  11. Love the idea of that negative image as “chance art.” Of course, your intentional artistry in composing this photograph may have had just a wee bit to do with that result, I reckon.

    Susan Scheid

    November 19, 2015 at 8:07 AM

  12. That is so neat. I must be ready to jump into the waters of abstraction because I like the “accident” even better than the original.


    December 16, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    • The word accident means etymologically ‘falling into,’ and now you’re admitting that you’ve fallen for this reversed-color abstraction.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      • Ah, I didn’t know that. Word origins are fascinating to me.


        December 16, 2015 at 2:37 PM

        • You can see the ‘falling’ sense of cid- in an incident ray of light and in the recidivism of ex-convicts who fall back into a life of crime and imprisonment.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 16, 2015 at 2:40 PM

        • And we mustn’t forget the deciduous trees whose leaves fall off.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 16, 2015 at 2:49 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: