Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The background becomes foreground

with 14 comments

Mealy Blue Sage Buds by Winecup lineariloba 9902

If mealy blue sage (Salvia farinacea) served last time as a visual echo behind an unraveling anemone seed head, now you get a close look at the soft and fuzzy buds of that sage. This time the background halo is from a whitish version of a winecup (Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba).

Today’s photograph is from land along E. University Blvd. in Georgetown on April 3.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 11, 2016 at 5:03 AM

14 Responses

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  1. Very sharp!


    April 11, 2016 at 5:22 AM

  2. The sage behind the camera’s pretty sharp, too, but what really caught my attention was your mention of that “whitish version of a winecup.” After looking at the USDA map, just on a hunch I looked up Georgetown. Sure enough, it’s in Williamson County. Lucky you, to see such a treat.

    It’s lovely, the way the faint lavender shadow in the winecup complements the sage bud, and the curve of the stem is appealing.


    April 11, 2016 at 7:35 AM

    • I appreciate the sage comment in your first sentence.

      Not only does the whitish version of the winecup grow in Williamson County, it’s common there, so at this time of year I can count on finding it in many places. Some of this variety has made its way down into Travis County, too, even though the USDA map doesn’t show that.

      True to the wine-ness of the genus as a whole, these flowers retain traces of purple, as will be apparent next time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2016 at 7:58 AM

  3. They may be two different flowers, but the repeated shape in the background gives a similarity that it quite pleasing.

    Steve Gingold

    April 11, 2016 at 2:38 PM

    • That’s how I saw it. Usually the amorphous regions that I look for in the background are of a contrasting color with that of my subject, but here they’re harmonious.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2016 at 2:51 PM

  4. Wow, perfect!


    April 12, 2016 at 12:35 AM

  5. I’m partial to the soft and fuzzies so I loved this shot. The halo is strangely effective at accentuating the sage. It certainly makes an interesting change from the standard one colour background that is used often with flower shots. Beautiful shot. I’m enjoying your experimentation, Steve.


    April 12, 2016 at 6:08 AM

    • I’ve often enough had monochrome backgrounds too. So much depends on what’s growing where. In Texas it’s common for different kinds of wildflowers to grow near each other, and in those cases I look to see if I can play one off against the other, as here. Sometimes I can’t find a way to make things line up right, and other times I can. Coincidentally I’m putting together pictures for a slide show in a couple of weeks and am including plenty of examples of this multicolor technique.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 12, 2016 at 8:09 AM

  6. I always plant them in with my veg. Nice shot Steve 😊


    April 14, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    • Do you mean sages in general, or this American species in particular?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2016 at 2:37 PM

      • Hey Steve, I plant the herb sage and other salvias in my garden. I must pay more attention to their botanical names 🙂


        April 14, 2016 at 7:46 PM

        • The common sage that we use as an herb is Salvia officinalis. There are many other species. I think it’s unlikely that Salvia farinacea has made it from Texas to New Zealand, but you never know.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 14, 2016 at 7:54 PM

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