Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Firewheel edge-on

with 31 comments

On the morning of May 25th I went out to an area where there still wasn’t much light. Even at a high ISO, all I could manage was an aperture of f/4, so I decided to go for some limited-focus portraits like this one of a firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella, with dewdrops on it.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2020 at 4:48 AM

31 Responses

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  1. A perfect portrait and a pollinator’s-eye view–if only we could see it in infrared, as they do!


    June 20, 2020 at 6:46 AM

  2. perfect name for this flower


    June 20, 2020 at 7:46 AM

    • It’s the common name I most often use now, though the one I first learned for it is Indian blanket.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2020 at 8:09 AM

  3. I really enjoy this perspective of the Indian Blanket flower, as it’s called in this neck of the woods. You must get up and at it very early to drive to these locations and get set up. It’s my favorite time to be up, catching first light and watching the morning unfold.


    June 20, 2020 at 8:01 AM

    • I’m not as enterprising as you suppose, at least not along the lines of “the early bird catches the worm.” The metadata tells me I took this picture at 8:42 in the morning. There was more light on other parts of the property but where I first worked was at the edge of some woods that blocked the light from reaching the ground. While firewheel is the common name I most often use now, in part because it’s short and poetic, the name I first learned for this flower is the same Indian blanket that you use.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2020 at 8:16 AM

  4. Beautiful, with the little water drops and how you played with the focus.


    June 20, 2020 at 8:04 AM

    • When I shoot a flower edge-on I know that not a lot will be in focus, and that’s what I’m after in that approach. In this case the fact that the tips of the two rays with drops on them had curved into mostly vertical positions gave me a focusing advantage I wouldn’t normally expect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2020 at 8:31 AM

  5. This is such a lovely portrait. Obviously the play between sharp focus and soft, but the balance between the magenta and green is perfect.


    June 20, 2020 at 8:49 AM

    • Magenta and green
      Make a lovely scene,
      And the downward dewdropped ray’s a valance
      At the border of the colors’ balance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2020 at 11:40 AM

      • Applause, applause! 🙂


        June 21, 2020 at 8:03 AM

  6. … with an emphasis on a kaleidoscope of bright colours, where the focus is not so important.

    Peter Klopp

    June 20, 2020 at 8:59 AM

    • You’ve got it. Lately I’ve been drawn to make pictures that are abstractions of color and form in which the subject itself is of secondary importance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2020 at 11:43 AM

      • I sometimes I can’t help but take pictures that are abstractions of color and form, thanks to essential tremors and Parkinson’s combined! Sometimes people even like the results. Keep up the good work, Steve, I learn something new from you ‘most every day.


        June 21, 2020 at 9:08 AM

        • It”s good to hear you’ve turned debilities to your advantage. That’s an optimistic take on the situation.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 21, 2020 at 10:44 AM

  7. After I had my cataracts removed and new lenses implanted, I had occasional trouble with blurry vision, but only in the morning. When I asked my ophthalmologist about it, his first question seemed an odd one; he asked if I slept with a ceiling fan running. When I said that I did from time to time, he told me that was the most likely cause. Our eyes don’t shut perfectly tight when we’re sleeping; air can creep in and dry them out. He advised using liquid tears in the morning, and sure enough: the problem was solved.

    That’s a long way around to saying the drops of dew on the sharpest ray flowers reminded me of the way those eye drops clarified my vision, just as the surgery itself gave me back a clear, colorful world.


    June 21, 2020 at 6:10 PM

  8. I love the shallow DOF!!


    June 21, 2020 at 8:48 PM

  9. This is truly a glorious shot. Beautiful composition and such vivid colors.

    Birder's Journey

    June 25, 2020 at 4:01 PM

    • We could say this picture fits the color abstraction approach you commented about. Firewheels, with their bright red and yellow, are among the showiest wildflowers we have in Texas. I never get tired of photographing them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2020 at 8:51 PM

  10. That little bend in the petal allowing an entry is a nice friendly anomaly.

    Steve Gingold

    June 26, 2020 at 1:48 AM

  11. Beautiful Steve 🙂


    June 27, 2020 at 1:23 AM

  12. Very cool! Once again I apologize for not stopping by more regularly and then having to leave so many comments at one time. I can’t keep up – but it’s worth it to scroll back through your posts!


    July 2, 2020 at 7:58 PM

    • This portrait was another fruit of the quest for abstraction. So much has been going on here in nature this spring (and now summer) that I found myself posting daily in spite of having planned to cut back. Even at a daily pace much never gets shown.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2020 at 9:03 PM

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