Ultraviolet Flowers

Hepatica nobilis Schreb.

Hepatica nobilis. Visible light

Visible light
Nikon D1H , UV-Nikkor 105 mm f/4.5, no flash

Hepatica nobilis. UV light

UV light
Nikon D1H , UV-Nikkor 105 mm f/4.5 @800 ISO, FF filter + CC20C, SB-140

Black/white rendition

Hepatica nobilis. IR light

IR light
Nikon D1H , UV-Nikkor 105 mm f/4.5 @800 ISO, Wratten 89B, SB-140 + Wratten 87

Black/white rendition

All images
© Bjørn Rørslett/NN
One of the earliest flowering spring blossoms, H. nobilis (liverleaf) has a very strong UV reflectance of its petals. In conjunction with a pronounced UV absorbance of the anthers, a significant bull's-eye floral signature emerges.

For nature photographers, this species is notorious for the difficult-to-catch bluish hues of its flowers. On film, a magenta cast often occurs and this shift in hue gets stronger when direct sunlight strikes the flower. The deviating colour rendition is even more obvious in digital photography. Images obtained in near-IR confirms this issue results from the high IR reflectance of these flowers. There is a striking different floral appearance in ultraviolet (UV) vs near-IR.

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Last Update 8 April, 2003