11.08.15: Wild teasel

Wild teasel plant in a field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio. 


Technical information

June 24, 2007,
8:37 a.m.

40°6’50” N,
82°57'30" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 20D

Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 


1/400th second


I have to admit that most of my flower or plant photos result from boredom. 

I’ll be on a photo hike looking for birds or other wildlife to photograph but having no luck. I’ll grab some shots of flowers or other plants just to shoot something so the trip won’t be a total waste. I’ll be using the super telephoto lens I carry to photograph wildlife so I’ll be at least 20 feet away from the plant. It’s a close up without being close up.

But boredom had nothing to do with this photo of a wild teasel plant in a field in a local park. The scene just caught my attention.

I had photographed a male Red-winged Blackbird to the left of a trail. When it flew off I turned to the right to see if there were any birds on the plants in that area. Instead I saw this plant standing a bit above others in the area.

It was early summer so the teasel was still “fresh” — no gaps in the leaves from insects or burned out areas from summer heat, and flowers hadn’t formed on the head. The morning sun was behind and to the right of the plant, providing a nice backlight effect that highlighted the prickly stem and provided a rim light on the head. The backlight also helped separate the plant from the defocused green field in the background.

When I saw the scene through the viewfinder I immediately liked the flow of the leaves as they reached toward the top of the frame. I took a couple of shots, then continued my search for birds.

When I got home and loaded the files onto the computer, this image of the wild teasel jumped out at me for all the things I saw through the viewfinder. It was distinctive in that it consists of nothing but shades of green. And the detail brought out by the backlight was superb.

Wild teasels (plants of the Dispacus genus) are native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa. Teasels are considered an invasive species in the United States. They grow in large groups, crowding out native plant species.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.