Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Another background moves to the foreground

with 20 comments

Winecup lineariloba Flower 9929

The pale version of a winecup, Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba, that served as a background haze last time is the subject of this photograph that I took on the same property along E. University Blvd. in Georgetown on April 3. According to Shinners and Mahler’s Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas, some common names for this wildflower are slim-lobe poppy-mallow, geranium poppy-mallow, and cowboy rose. Yee-hah!

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 12, 2016 at 5:07 AM

20 Responses

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  1. My favourite parts of this photo are the delicate purple veins on the petals and the depth of field. The flower parts look like they are coming out from the screen. I find it a challenge to photograph mainly white flowers. The detail/texture is often lost by the glare of the light reflecting off the white surface. You never seem to have that problem. I’m sure you’ve given handy hints about that aspect in the past. 🙂


    April 12, 2016 at 6:21 AM

    • Most flowers in this genus are a rich wine-colored purple. This variety is special in being mostly white, though those lines that intrigue you are a reminder of the variety’s heritage from the world of winecups as a whole.

      Like you, I I’ve sometimes had the impression in looking at a photograph that parts of it are coming out of the frame. I used to work in 3-D photography, where the whole point was to enhance the effect of depth that we get in the real world by virtue of having two forward-looking eyes and a brain that merges the slightly different view provided by each of those two eyes.

      Various techniques exist for keeping bright whites from getting blown out (as photographers say). If your camera allows you to take pictures in what’s called RAW mode, you’ll have a lot more flexibility to fine-tune the results afterwards on your computer than when the camera automatically converts each picture to a JPG right away. If your camera allows you to set it to underexpose, you can take several pictures of a very bright subject, one at the setting the camera chooses automatically and a couple more at lower levels of exposure.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 12, 2016 at 7:54 AM

      • Thanks for the tips, Steve. Yes, I do have the option to shoot in RAW. At the moment I’ve got some storage space problems as I’m only using a small laptop and my external hard drive is nearly full as well. I’ll have to sort out more space soon and then I’ll shoot in RAW. I do believe they take up more space don’t they? I’ll also have to look into buying and learning how to use something like Lightroom I guess so I can fine-tune the RAW pics. I will have to check out the under-exposure thing on my camera. I am yet to make use of everything it allows me to do. I am very slow at learning about new technology and gadgety things. 🙂


        April 12, 2016 at 8:10 AM

        • I just checked a bunch of pictures taken with my 22-megapixel camera and found that the RAW files range from 24 to 30 MB (megabytes). The sizes vary because pictures with more or larger areas of similar colors lend themselves to greater compression than others. On average it seems that the number of MB in a RAW file is about one-and-a-quarter times the number of megapixels. If your camera takes 16-megapixel pictures, we could estimate an average RAW size of 20 MB.

          The storage space needed on your hard drive will be even larger, though, if you set the camera to record both a RAW and a JPG for each picture. Some people go that dual route to have a JPG for immediate use and a RAW file for extra finesse when the need arises and time is available.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 12, 2016 at 8:28 AM

          • Thanks, Steve. I accidentally had my camera set at recording RAW and JPG one day and wondered why I used my card up very quickly. I’ll have to get myself sorted with space as it would be handy to go back over old RAW images one day when I have the software. I do get annoyed with what the camera automatically does with JPG images sometimes. What I see and what the camera records can be very different. 🙂


            April 12, 2016 at 8:33 AM

            • Even an excellent camera still records much less than the human eye sees. It remains to be seen whether there’ll ever be parity or if some future camera is even better than the human eye.

              Steve Schwartzman

              April 12, 2016 at 8:57 AM

        • By the way, the good news about external hard drives is that their cost keeps coming down and their capacity keeps going up. I recently bought a pair of 5-TB (terabyte) hard drives for US$109 each. One terabyte is a thousand gigabytes, which is to say a million megabytes. Welcome to the world of big numbers.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 12, 2016 at 8:35 AM

  2. The texture and the veins are really prominent, Steven…more good work!


    April 12, 2016 at 6:57 AM

  3. I like cowboy rose😊


    April 12, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    • That’s why I added the yee-hah at the end of my text. You might say I turned loose my inner cowboy and rose to the occasion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 12, 2016 at 7:57 AM

  4. Beautiful!


    April 13, 2016 at 5:12 PM

  5. Such lovely petals. Cowboy Rose rolls off the tongue a little easier than those other multi-syllabic hyphenated fancifiers.

    Steve Gingold

    April 14, 2016 at 3:59 AM

    • I’ve been photographing this species, like so many local native ones, since 1999. Only in preparing this post did I notice the succinct yet colorful name “cowboy rose,” so I made sure to include it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2016 at 7:17 AM

  6. I was most interested in the discussion above: both the issue of photographing white flowers, and the comments about computer storage capacity.

    I’ve decided to stick with a PC for my new computer (I have enough learning curves in my life right now to take on a Mac) but I’m having it built rather than buying it off the shelf. The tentative plan is for 1TB internally, with a 2 TB external drive for backup. Since I want to begin working with both RAW and JPG, I’m wondering if I should increase that. Obviously, my need for storage will be less than yours, and I always could add more in the future.

    What I am sure of is that your photo of this cowboy rose (I do like that name) is lovely. I was struck especially by the similarity of the bloom’s stamens to those in the darker winecups I’ve seen. The family resemblance is there.


    April 14, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    • Given that this is just a variety of a standard winecup, I assume the central structure is basically identical. In other years I’ve taken closer and therefore more-abstract views of that structure. I figured I’d shown one of those pictures here, but the search that I just did shows that I didn’t. (What I did shows what I didn’t: a curious turn of phrase.)

      If my experience is a guide, the more you get into photography, the more you’re likely to find your hard drives filling up. Hard drive prices have come down enough that I’d go with larger initial sizes than 1 and 2 TB, especially for the internal drive. Whatever sizes you settle on, it’s important to back up the internal to the external regularly. Having an exact copy is important for restoring things if the internal drive should fail and need to be replaced.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2016 at 8:07 AM

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