Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Texas thistle opening

with 14 comments

Opening of a Texas thistle bud; click to enlarge.

And now, after interrupting the flow of this column yesterday, I’d like to go back to the bud of a Texas thistle, Cirsium texanum, and in particular to a close-up of the way one looks when the first few disk flowers begin to poke their way out. You can compare it to a baby bird hatching out of its shell if you like, but I’m reminded of a solar flare, and the yellow background of Engelmann daisies lends itself to that sunny metaphor, even if the “flare” itself is pink. This picture, like those in the last two posts, comes from my visit to the old Union Hill Cemetery in Williamson County on May 4, 2010.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM

14 Responses

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  1. looks like it would hurt if you touch it.



    July 5, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    • Yes, I’ve gotten many a thistle spine in my skin over the years. One more occupational hazard for a nature photographer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2011 at 6:43 PM

  2. Pretty cool to catch it at just the right time! Very nice!


    July 5, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    • Thanks, Terry. I’ve seen other thistle buds beginning to open, but not quite like this one, and not with such a bright yellow background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 6, 2011 at 7:08 AM

  3. I wanted to make a suggestion to you. First, here is the back story. In November I submitted one of my photographs to the National Geographic Magazine’s Your Shot competition. It’s a daily treasure trove of photographers’ (of all experiences and talents) works that are selected by the magazine’s editors and then online voting. I was humbled to be chosen for the Daily Dozen and the Weekly Wrapper. I was ecstatic. So I thought that you should peruse the Website and consider submitting one of your wildflowers. Here is the Website: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/your-shot/your-shot, and hope that you do it.


    July 6, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    • Thanks, Sally. I appreciate your suggestion. Truth to tell, I’ve submitted eight photographs to the “Your Shot” competition, but none have been selected. Of course there’s no harm in submitting more, and maybe one of these days I’ll luck out. I’m certainly glad that you succeeded.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 6, 2011 at 11:35 AM

      • Follow-up: since “Your Shot” is currently calling for animal pictures, yesterday I resubmitted one of a bird that I’m fond of. Maybe it’ll get more attention this time.

        Steve Schwartzman

        July 7, 2011 at 7:11 AM

  4. Ooh….love that hot pink against the background! And the bokeh is excellent, too!


    July 6, 2011 at 11:32 PM

  5. Very nice job on this pleasing composition Steve. The colors and sweet background really accentuate the subject quite nicely.


    July 8, 2011 at 3:21 AM

  6. i just caught some of these for the very first time at The Cloisters last month: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yichinglin/sets/72157618414959127/. by the way, this one looks like a baby alien being exposed to earth for the first time, one ear (or antenna) fully raised.

    yi-ching lin

    August 12, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    • You do have a lively imagination. I remember the Cloisters from my New York days, but I haven’t been there in at least a couple of decades.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2011 at 2:42 PM

  7. […] marsh fleabane, Pluchea odorata, is a member of the same botanical family as sunflowers, asters, thistles, tatalencho, mistflowers, and Mexican devilweed. Many of the insect-pollinated plants in this huge […]

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