Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

From both sides now in a different way

with 35 comments

Not long ago you saw a prairie fleabane daisy flower head (Erigeron modestus) in the “usual” way, from above. Now here’s one that I portrayed from below at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on February 3rd. The green band beyond that I played the flower head off against was the leaf of a different kind of plant.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2020 at 4:36 AM

35 Responses

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  1. It’s life illusions I recall.


    February 16, 2020 at 8:28 AM

    • Ah, so you really don’t know life at all.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2020 at 9:31 AM

      • 😀


        February 17, 2020 at 8:21 AM

    • I thought of that line too Melissa! 😀

      The back of the flower is just as lovely as the front.


      February 16, 2020 at 11:00 AM

      • That’s the song I alluded to in the title of this post and in a couple of other recent ones.
        Sometimes the view from below is quite different than the view from above.

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 16, 2020 at 1:30 PM

      • 🙂 It is, and I love it that Steve showed it.


        February 17, 2020 at 8:20 AM

  2. The ‘underside’ of a flower is often just as beautiful as the top. Your amazing photo supports this claim, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    February 16, 2020 at 8:47 AM

    • Because we see the underside much less often than the top, I’ve been known to go out of my way (literally) to show the view from below.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2020 at 9:32 AM

  3. In any plot, the backstory informs the face of things — or has been said, “now you know the rest of the story.“ Very sensitively done. I love the depth of field control.

    Michael Scandling

    February 16, 2020 at 11:54 AM

    • Given the wind, the limited light, and the fact that I didn’t want to use flash, I lived with the shallow depth of field and focused on the green bracts and their little hairs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2020 at 1:32 PM

    • How very well said, Michael. I was attending a photographic challenge yesterday and a stunning sunflower was presented like this – so fitting “the backstory informs the face of things”.


      February 20, 2020 at 7:59 AM

      • It’s a wonderful thing when a pun is also the truth.

        Michael Scandling

        February 20, 2020 at 9:42 AM

      • You may not be aware that Michael was alluding to the American radio commentator Paul Harvey. In his program, which ran for decades, he told interesting stories that ended in unexpected ways; at the end of each he would say “And now you know the rest of the story”:


        Steve Schwartzman

        February 20, 2020 at 10:44 AM

        • No, I didn’t know, but now I do. 🙏🏻😊Thanks a lot, also for the link to the amazing Paul Harvey. 👍🏻


          February 21, 2020 at 12:34 PM

          • You’re welcome. When I was in my 20s and 30s I used to hear Paul Harvey on the radio. In more recent decades I lost track of him.

            Steve Schwartzman

            February 21, 2020 at 12:56 PM

  4. This is gorgeous, and believe me — I appreciate your ability to capture this ‘other-side’ view. I’ve found that getting in useful positions doesn’t always ensure being able to hold those positions, and when it’s necessary to factor in external conditions like the wind, it’s just not easy.

    Does this flower hold its color throughout its bloom? That underside is extraordinarily vibrant — so pretty.


    February 16, 2020 at 9:17 PM

    • I, too, wondered whether this flower hold its underside color throughout its bloom. I don’t know. To find out, I’d have to locate one of these flower heads and return to it every day to have a look. So many unknowns….

      You’re right that holding awkward positions—and the camera—isn’t always easy. Sometimes we succeed, and other times we don’t.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2020 at 3:56 AM

  5. Lovely colors and limited depth of field.


    February 17, 2020 at 1:25 PM

  6. I always love your point of view, Steve, as well as your musical allusions.


    February 17, 2020 at 6:27 PM

    • Naturally the musical allusions would be especially dear to you. As for (literal) points of view, I do try to vary them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2020 at 6:49 PM

  7. Really pretty. I like your choice to take a differen perspective. Reminds me of a yoga class call “unalignment” and how it’s good for us to do things different, use different muscles. 😉


    February 17, 2020 at 10:49 PM

    • To get pictures with a different perspective like this one I often have to align my body with the ground, which is to say lie down. Given how often I end up needing to do that, I carry a mat around with me when I go walking in nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 18, 2020 at 9:12 AM

  8. I always enjoy seeing “the other side of this life” especially when it’s a flower we’re talking about. The structure of flowers, this one especially, often offers a nice, occasionally nice, view for a photograph.

    Steve Gingold

    February 20, 2020 at 4:17 AM

  9. Impressive work, once again, Steve. A true joy to watch.


    February 20, 2020 at 8:00 AM

    • I’ve often found it worthwhile to explore the view from below. This was one of those times.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 20, 2020 at 9:52 AM

  10. The depth of field choice is very effective here, Steve. 🙂


    February 23, 2020 at 2:21 PM

    • The shallow depth of field was forced on me by circumstances (and my not wanting to add the glare of flash). so I was relieved that things turned out okay here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 23, 2020 at 5:46 PM

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