BLUE, BLUE, BLUE

by Charles Stirton May. 16, 2007 9426 views

Now we get to the more difficult colours in flowers as they seem to merge into each other.

I have learned that blue, indigo and purple flowers are best photographed on overcast days if you want to get a true rendition of their colours.

Plant photography can be difficult as a petal surface is not composed of identically sized and shaped cells. These can vary across a petal surface. This can be seen in the scanning electron microscope picture taken from a paper I published in Advances in Legume Systematics part 2 (ed. Polhill & Raven, 1981, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. pages 771-788). It shows the petal surface of a wing petal of a yellow-flowered pea plant called Podocytisus caramanicus.

The reason blue, violet and purple flowers are difficult to capture in sunlight is that they have petal surfaces which tend to look like egg boxes or rounded sand castles. On each cell there are numerous wavy stripes (striae) that break up the light and scatter it in all directions. If you are interested to learn more try and get hold of a scientific paper I co-authored: KAY, Q.O.N., DAOUD, H.S. and STIRTON, C.H. 1981. Pigment distribution, light reflection and cell structure in petals. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 83: 57-84. This paper summarises data from hundreds of different plant species. I am sure plant photographers could get some new insights by experimenting with the different petal types.

1. Iris sibirica SILVER EDGE

2. Anchusa azurea LONDON ROYALIST

3. Agapanthus africanus

4. Aristea sp.

5. Geranium sp.

6. Dampiera diversifolia

7. Petal patterning in Podocytisus caramanicus

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Freshphoto 12 years, 6 months ago

Love the 3 one ...

what a fantastic blue

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Kasia 12 years, 6 months ago

#2 jest magiczne....

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Ian 12 years, 6 months ago

great set

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Aimeric 12 years, 6 months ago

good light specially on agapanthus
thanks for sharing

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Carley 12 years, 6 months ago

Love this set! And thanks for the information. I couldn't figure out why I was having so much trouble getting the blue and purple flower colors right!

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Jannie 12 years, 6 months ago

Interesting background info. It's great to enjoy beautiful pictures of beautiful flowers & learn something too! Blue is my other favorite flower color (next to purple). Great post!!

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Jason 12 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the lovely explanation. The first 4 fotos are quite beautiful!

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Storytaylor 12 years, 6 months ago

the most profound blue I have ever seen

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Zajä…C 12 years, 6 months ago

:) ;)

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Viktorija 12 years, 6 months ago

anchusa is blue enough even for me:) nice et.

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Lisa 12 years, 6 months ago

Beautiful blue set. I enjoyed the lesson too.

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Monica Barbovschi 12 years, 6 months ago

thank you for the lesson, beautiful nostalgic blue :)

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Dzmitry Samakhvalau 12 years, 6 months ago

yes, pretty

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
Jet28 12 years, 6 months ago

So pretty!

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
David 12 years, 6 months ago

Really great set! I like the Aristea sp best.

12 years, 6 months ago Edited
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