Posted by
karla (Omaha, United States) on 10 March 2011 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

Pickling your paperwhites, Narcissus papyraeus, causes shorter, stronger stems that do not flop over. Flowers are not affected. Yes. You read that right. According to research at Cornell University (in New York State), when forcing paperwhites indoors, replace the water with alcohol. Stems will grow short and sturdy. You can use any liquor which is less than 10% alcohol. Gin is good. Rubbing alcohol will work, in the right proportions. The method will work whether growing in soil or water. Do not use beer or wine---their sugars will harm the plant. Also, apparently the alcohol will exude its own fragrance. One person suggested using vodka, instead. For complete instructions, proportions and pictures, please see Fascinating! As a side note, I had a difficult time deciding about cropping this image. I would welcome suggestions.

Thank you for visiting! Your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.

All my images are owned/copyrighted by me and no one is allowed to use them in any form unless I have give written permission for a specific use. Thank you.

DULCIE from Danville, CA, United States

This is a beauty. I love the shadows on the flowers. Good job getting definition and clarity on these paper whites. White flowers are the hardest to photograph well, I think. Only thing I might change is to crop the top down to the top of the middle leaf. :-)

10 Mar 2011 6:31am

@DULCIE: Thanks, Dulcie! This was taken a couple of years ago on my kitchen table where I have strong sunlight on some days. White flowers are indeed difficult! Yes, that is exactly where I had the problem, that top edge just seemed a bit too much.

Stephen from Canberra, Australia

Delightful clear, crisp image of these Paperwhites! I would not crop the image - the white needs space and the leaves also add interest to the rest of the frame.

10 Mar 2011 7:01am

@Stephen: Thanks, Stephen! In my muddling around with it, I felt the same, but...there is that striving for perfection. What I found when cropping was the closing in feeling, which I did not want. So your idea of the white needing space expresses that very well. Thanks for your interest and comments!

Nazzareno from Rome, Italy

...a beautiful and poetic image in a composition absolutely perfect!

10 Mar 2011 7:33am

@Nazzareno: Thank you!! Thanks for visiting and commenting! from Andorra

Poetic and charming image.

Very good control of color and focus.

10 Mar 2011 9:18am Thank you, very much, for your visit and your comment!

Marie LC from Entre montagnes et Bretagne, France

Really beautiful. Light is extraordinary and perfect! poetic shot

10 Mar 2011 9:23am

@Marie LC: Thanks! I appreciate your visit here, and your lovely comments.

Aubélia from Kortrijk, Belgium

What a beautiful picture! Nice colors.

10 Mar 2011 9:29am

Arnd from Basel, Switzerland

Aesthetically and technically superb! Love your play with shadow & light.

10 Mar 2011 9:54am

@Arnd: Thanks, Arnd! As you can imagine, the light is much easier to control when the flowers are inside on a table.

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

What a spectacular light ... so beautiful ! Have a lovely day :)

10 Mar 2011 10:42am

@Tamara: From my kitchen window, Tamara! It is often all I need for lighting. Thanks for your visit!

Franz from Baden, Austria

fascinating flowers in a very beautiful photo! i love the radiance of the white petals and the gentle bokeh on the leaves. i also find the story about "alcohol treatment" interesting! i thought at first that you could crop the top a bit, but then tried it and changed my mind. i think it's best to leave it as it is!

10 Mar 2011 11:36am

@Franz: Hi, Franz! Thanks for looking and trying out the cropping. It seems the consensus is to leave the crop as is. The triangle shape formed by the white blossoms seems to affect the crop, too.

Juliango from Caen, France

Very subtil and poetic proxy ! love it.

10 Mar 2011 2:21pm

@Juliango: Thank you, Juliango, for visiting here and commenting.

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

exquisite. superb detail

10 Mar 2011 2:39pm

@john4jack: Thank you, Jack!

Olivier from Manage, Belgium

Fine and beatiful composition!

10 Mar 2011 7:48pm

Bettina from Los Angeles, United States

Excellent lighting. I love the shadows and bokeh!

10 Mar 2011 8:05pm

Philippe from Nivelles, Belgium

Hi, Karla.The flowers stand very well against the background. Light and sharpness are excellent.
Have a nice day,

10 Mar 2011 8:53pm

@Philippe: Thanks, Philippe! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

mimicy from Bordeaux, France

Sublime this photo ... great sharpness and beautiful colors ... congratulations

10 Mar 2011 10:12pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

Gorgeous flowers and light. The booze idea seems neat. I think the crop is just right as is.

11 Mar 2011 12:51am

@Steve Rice: Thanks, Steve. I thought that seemed interesting, too, about the alcohol. Christine at had mentioned the idea of pricking the stems of cut tulips to keep them from flopping over in the vase, so these two ideas I will keep in mind for next time. Thanks about the crop. I had been wondering about the top half inch or so, but guess from yours and others comments I might keep it as is.

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Superb. I love the light and shadow on these flowers. Well done.

11 Mar 2011 8:26am

@Sarito: Thank you very much! The light at my kitchen table is often this dramatic.

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

This is a truly excellent image ! Nothing beats an underlying correct exposure and especially when photographing something as technically difficult as this. Five*****s.

11 Mar 2011 7:23pm

@Ronnie 2¢: Oh my goodness! Thank you so much, Ronnie!! Exposure in these high contrast situations can be confounding. Since this was taken at my kitchen table with window light, I was able to play with camera settings without too much worry.

Barbara Kile from Ft. Worth, United States

Ah, light and shadows - done well!

12 Mar 2011 5:30pm

Marilla from Turku, Finland

Lovely flowers, they are almost shining! Both the lights and shadows are great.

13 Mar 2011 9:19am

@Marilla: Thanks, Marilla! Actually they probably are shining to some extent. enlarging the original image shows that the petals are sparkling with an iridescence quality as they reflect the light.

Ann Baldwin from Vallejo, United States

Beautiful light makes these white narcissi glow like stars.

25 Mar 2011 10:28pm

@Ann Baldwin: Actually, the petals do have a bit of sparkle. A closeup would show that. :) Thanks for visiting!!

Barbara Kile from Ft. Worth, United States

Lovely. I'm going to do a 'watch' since you like flowers and textures like I do! :)

14 Apr 2011 1:40pm

@Barbara Kile: Thanks, Barbara! I am delighted and honored!