December 14, 2010

Winter Light: Gathered Seedheads


During winter, with the sun's low angle, light streams into the house, picking out details, shining on edges, highlighting hidden corners. Last winter I did a series of still life photos titled "Winter Light", and with this post, I continue. Each fall I pick stems of plants that have decorative seedheads for indoor display, hang them to dry, then place them in vases. One of my favorites is Cimicifuga atropurpurea, whose long, arching stems are made up of hundreds of tiny seeds, delicately colored violet and green. Light catches on the small parts, dancing and lilting on thin, ending curves.

Purple Loosestrife

The dried leaves of this beautiful weed curl and cavort in light, while the translucent glass is majestic and subdued, stems partially revealed.


Thermopsis is another tall plant, with pea-like yellow flowers that mature into long, narrow seedpods. The quality of light on these pods is soft with the furry surface, gentling their rigid character. Is is surprising we long for sun, and this glorious light, during the short winter days?


  1. I love cimicifuga seedheads, also martagon lilies. They look so good in dried bouquets.

  2. Winter light does help us see differently and your photos certainly illustrate that. The first one is breath taking. Have a great trip in the city.

  3. I do not know Thermopsis...will have to check it out when I have better computer access. Meantime, this is an intriguing image. Like you, I delight in the way winter light reveals. Have fun being the country mouse in the city...

  4. hi all, I'm glad you enjoy these images.
    Julie, thermopsis is a pretty plant, but the flowers don't last long, a brief couple of weeks. I'd hoped they would bloom at the same time as baptisia, but they come a bit later.