Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Engelmann daisy flower head and bud

with 27 comments

From April 26th along Old Lampasas Trail comes this gialloscuro* portrait
of Engelmann daisies (Engelmannia peristenia).

* The Italian term chiaroscuro means literally bright-dark. I replaced the first part with giallo,
the Italian word for yellow, to get gialloscuro. In Englitalian that’s yellowscuro.
And let me add that gi in Italian represents the same sound
as j in English, so giallo is pronounced jáhl-lo.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 30, 2020 at 4:38 AM

27 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Beautiful.


    May 30, 2020 at 4:47 AM

    • When I found a group of these flowers by the side of a road, I made several pictures with abstract backgrounds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 30, 2020 at 5:48 AM

  2. Outstanding macro shot against the background of another Engelmann daisy! I wonder whether it is the same botanist, who named the Engelmann spruce tree here in BC.

    Peter Klopp

    May 30, 2020 at 8:20 AM

    • I had a good time getting in close and playing off one of these daisies in the foreground against others behind it.

      Out of modesty, botanists don’t name species for themselves. Rather it’s the case that botanists name species to honor other people, often other botanists. That’s the case with the Engelmann spruce (which, by the way, I see comes as close to Texas as New Mexico.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 30, 2020 at 9:26 AM

  3. As with fauna, so with flora, perhaps. Your ‘baby’ bud looks as though it’s nuzzling up to the older flower just as a fawn, a kitten, or a pup would nuzzle up to a parent while the rest of the clan, in the background, looks on.


    May 30, 2020 at 9:08 AM

    • As is often the case, your imagination goes way beyond mine. One bit of anthropomorphizing I’ve often engaged in is the notion that plants have no sense of “personal space.” Just yesterday I photographed a Mexican hat that was “nuzzled up” against a horsemint.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 30, 2020 at 9:30 AM

  4. That is a beautiful composition, Steve! Well done!

    Lavinia Ross

    May 30, 2020 at 10:16 AM

  5. What a fantastic composition! 🙂


    May 30, 2020 at 10:43 AM

  6. Very Nice Steve! Really stands out!

    Reed Andariese

    May 30, 2020 at 1:58 PM

  7. Really striking shot. And I like your coinage!
    My sister visited Italy last summer, and mentioned the hospitable people there would often offer her limoncello. That could provide the soundtrack for this shot, “Gialloscuro with Limon Cello Playing in the Background”

    Robert Parker

    May 31, 2020 at 11:40 AM

    • Well said! Now all you have to do is get someone to write music to fit your title.

      I’ve often been better at coinage of the verbal kind than of the monetary kind. Cello is a strange word because all that’s left of the original violoncello is the diminutive ending—like the smile being all that was left of the cheshire cat.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 31, 2020 at 12:37 PM

      • I don’t play any instruments, but cello is one of my favorites for listening, and I guess I probably smile like that cat during the really nice passage. I guess violincello is like fortepiano. Although I read somewhere, that it’s considered a different instrument than a modern iron-framed piano. The modern one is actually capable of a lot more “forte” than the old instruments.

        Robert Parker

        May 31, 2020 at 1:10 PM

        • If you hear a fortepiano playing you can tell it has a somewhat different sound from a modern piano. Beethoven used to break the strings on his fortepianos because he played so forcefully. He was alway glad when he could get one of the newer pianos that kept getting developed that let him play more forte

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 31, 2020 at 3:13 PM

  8. Nice. I like the soft ones in the background adding some color to the darkness.

    Steve Gingold

    May 31, 2020 at 3:37 PM

  9. Love your juxtaposition of the fore- and the background flowers. And I followed your further comments with great interest, as two of my favorite guitars have Engelmann spruce tops.


    June 6, 2020 at 3:00 AM

    • I was quite pleased with this picture artistically because of the interplay between foreground and background that you mentioned.

      So you knew about Engelmann spruce long before I ever did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 6, 2020 at 6:20 AM

  10. […] contrast to the yellowscuro portrait above, look at how different the second picture is. I’d made it two minutes earlier […]

  11. This is not only a wonderful composition but also a brilliant wordplay, Steve.


    July 2, 2020 at 7:31 AM

    • Thanks, Dina. You know me with words. Having dabbled in several languages, I have plenty of raw material to play with, and more associations that pop into my mind unbidden. As for the portrait, I’m fond of having a halo behind my subject, whether of the same color, as here, or a contrasting color.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2020 at 7:53 AM

  12. […] this gialloscuro take on one buttercup (Ranunculus sp.) in front of another cost me was a more-than-an-hour drive to […]

  13. […] bindweed flowers, Ipomoea cordatotriloba, which starred in a recent post about the same site. The gialloscuro portrait below isolates one of the water primrose […]

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: