Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dramatic goldenrod

with 23 comments


On a prairie remnant along The Lakes Blvd. in northeast Austin on October 29th I lay on the ground and photographed some goldenrod against the sky. Use of full flash brightened my subject and by contrast made the morning’s clouds seem darker and more ominous than they actually appeared to me. Call it interpretation, call it transformation; though not true to life, the visual drama pleases me.


(Pictures from our New Mexico/west Texas trip will resume next time.)





So I caught the end of the 1946 movie rendition of Great Expectations on television the other day. As the main character, Pip, approaches and walks into a decaying mansion that has played a big part in the story, we hear lines by various characters that were spoken much earlier in the movie at the corresponding spots. If we had been re-shown those early scenes we would call them flashbacks. It occurred to me that the sound-only versions should be called soundbacks. I don’t find the word in any dictionary but I give you leave to use it.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 21, 2022 at 4:28 AM

23 Responses

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  1. I like this shot, Steve. Well done.


    November 21, 2022 at 6:09 AM

    • Once in a while I show an experimental, non-realistic photograph here. I’m pleased to hear this one works for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2022 at 7:22 AM

  2. As long as we’re inventing words, how about ‘monodramatic’ as an alternative to ‘monochromatic’? It certainly would suit this photo, which is such a terrific combination of black and white and color. It’s stark, but appealing.


    November 21, 2022 at 7:48 AM

    • Hey, I like your coinage, monodramatic, just as I do your description of the photograph as “stark, but appealing.” There’s a technique in which a photographer desaturates all but one portion of a color photograph, leaving that still-colorful portion to stand against the black and white everywhere else in the picture. I didn’t do that here and wasn’t even trying to mimic that technique when I took this picture, yet the result is similar.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2022 at 8:14 AM

  3. Definitely has some drama goin’ on! The sunny-looking goldenrod seems totally indifferent to the scary-looking sky.

    Robert Parker

    November 21, 2022 at 8:12 AM

    • Your “scary-looking” made me realize I could have posted this for Halloween, which came just two days after I took the picture; instead you got a dead lizard.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2022 at 8:22 AM

  4. It does indeed look dramatic – I feel as if the goldenrod is about to pounce on me! (Hope it’s not really a triffid!)

    Ann Mackay

    November 21, 2022 at 8:58 AM

  5. Oh, those dark clouds really make the yellow and green pop!


    November 21, 2022 at 9:05 AM

  6. Beautiful


    November 21, 2022 at 10:16 AM

  7. Truly, a dramatic shot from your special lying-down perspective!

    Peter Klopp

    November 21, 2022 at 10:17 AM

  8. That is one excellent contrast in color and lighting. Dramatic indeed.

    Steve Gingold

    November 21, 2022 at 10:17 AM

    • Many of my experiments with full flash on goldenrod that morning came out so-so. This is one of the few I really liked. As you said, the drama makes the picture a success.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2022 at 12:19 PM

  9. Nice drama… at first I thought it was captured in a ray of sunlight, but I couldn’t figure out how, then I read you used flash. 🙂

    Eliza Waters

    November 21, 2022 at 8:06 PM

    • Sometimes I have managed to catch a subject in a ray of sunlight. That includes small subjects like individual plants as well as large subjects like a massive geological formation. Flash can work for small subjects, as here, but not large ones.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 22, 2022 at 6:06 AM

  10. YES … very dramatic indeed.


    December 2, 2022 at 12:25 PM

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