Upside-Down, Face-Up Columbine

This columbine in my garden is unusual because it is upside down, for a columbine. Upside down for a columbine means that the flower faces up, rather than over and down like an elegant hat. One of the nicknames for this flower is “Granny’s Bonnet.” Hardly an elegant hat, and hardly an appropriate name when you are face up (upside-down, that is, for a columbine).

An upside-down columbine makes me happy, because it is easier to photograph. I can simply put the camera on my tripod, and aim down at the flower. I don’t have to lever myself underneath the flower. I can be any distance I’d like from the flower. And, upside-down columbines that face up move less than normal columbines—because the stems are stabler. This makes it easier to photograph them at small apertures for long time exposures, as I did in this photo (f/40).

A member of the widely varied, far-flung ranunculus family, the columbine seems paradoxically to have been used both to symbolize cuckoldry, and the innocence of the holy dove (columbine comes from the Latin word for dove). Flower of opposites, I like it best upside-down like the one in this photo, with secrets exposed to the world.

This entry was posted in Flowers, Photography.

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  1. […] photograph. Facing the earth, on a long, thin stem, they sway to every breeze. Unless the columbine is upside down, you have to get beneath the flower (or at least down to its level). Next, you […]

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